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The Animals In That Country

The Animals In That Country 1

by Laura Jean McKay
Paperback
Publication Date: 31/03/2020
5/5 Rating 1 Reviews
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Out on the road, no one speaks, everything talks.

Hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, and allergic to bullshit, Jean is not your usual grandma. She's never been good at getting on with other humans, apart from her beloved granddaughter, Kimberly. Instead, she surrounds herself with animals, working as a guide in an outback wildlife park. And although Jean talks to all her charges, she has a particular soft spot for a young dingo called Sue.

As disturbing news arrives of a pandemic sweeping the country, Jean realises this is no ordinary flu- its chief symptom is that its victims begin to understand the language of animals - first mammals, then birds and insects, too. As the flu progresses, the unstoppable voices become overwhelming, and many people begin to lose their minds, including Jean's infected son, Lee. When he takes off with Kimberly, heading south, Jean feels the pull to follow her kin.

Setting off on their trail, with Sue the dingo riding shotgun, they find themselves in a stark, strange world in which the animal apocalypse has only further isolated people from other species. Bold, exhilarating, and wholly original, The Animals In That Country asks what would happen, for better or worse, if we finally understood what animals were saying.

ISBN:
9781925849530
9781925849530
Category:
Science fiction
Format:
Paperback
Publication Date:
31-03-2020
Publisher:
Scribe Publications
Country of origin:
Australia
Pages:
288
Dimensions (mm):
232x153x26mm
Weight:
0.38kg

"This is a game-changing, life-changing novel, the kind that comes along right when you need it, and compels you to listen to its terrifying poetry. Compulsively readable and yet also pushing the boundaries of what is possible in terms of language and narrative, this is a brilliant and disturbing book that will make you rethink everything you thought you understood about non-human animal sentience and agency. I don't think any reader can ever forget a voice like Sue the dingo's - wise and obscene in equal measure. A triumph."
Ceridwen Dovey

"Wow! The Animals in That Country is refreshingly original and totally bonkers, and I read it at a furious pace. Jean Bennett is one of the most memorable characters I've read in a long time. I loved her brass and her messiness, and when the end of times comes, most of us will be lucky to have half her loyalty and determination. The story is hugely imaginative and fully realised, with McKay in total control of her creative vision. She explores the potential of human/nonhuman communication, and the result is as poetic as it is surprising. A great debut novel."
Alison Huber, Book Division Manager, Readings 

"Reminiscent of Ceridwen Dovey's Only the Animals, McKay offers an exciting and necessary new voice in Australian fiction. We've all wished we could talk to animals, but McKay teaches us that we really should be careful what we wish for. By turns bizarre and profound, this is a striking debut."
Jaclyn Crupi, Hill of Content Bookshop

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

5 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • Pandemic fiction for the times

    by on

    This book was immediately engaging, with its most unusual hero, Jean, setting out on the wildest road trip ever with her guide, Sue the dingo. This prescient novel uses the context of a 'zoo-flu' - a pandemic with flu like symptoms and the capacity to understand animal communication - to explore human-animal relationships. The plot is fast-paced, the human characters are portrayed in all their flawed humanity, and animal 'speech' is presented in tantalising snippets of verse. We glimpse a world we don't even know we don't know.