From Giller Prize finalist Alexander MacLeod comes a magnificent collection about the needs, temptations, and tensions that exist just beneath the surface of our lives. Named a Canadian Fiction title to watch by the CBC, Quill & Quire, and 49th Shelf. Featuring stories published in The New Yorker, Granta, and the O. Henry Prize Stories.
Startling, suspenseful, deeply humane yet alert to the undertow of our darker instincts, the eight stories in Animal Person illuminate what it means to exist in the perilous space between desire and action, and to have your faith in what you hold true buckle and give way.
A petty argument between two sisters is interrupted by an unexpected visitor. Adjoining motel rooms connect a family on the brink of a new life with a criminal whose legacy will haunt them for years to come. A connoisseur of other people’s secrets is undone by what he finds in a piece of lost luggage. In the wake of a tragic accident, a young man must contend with what is owed to the living and to the dead. And in the O. Henry Award-winning story “Lagomorph,” a man’s relationship with his family’s long-lived pet rabbit opens up to become a profound exploration of how a marriage fractures.
Muscular and tender, beautifully crafted, and alive with an elemental power, these stories explore the struggle for meaning and connection in an age when many of us feel cut off from so much, not least ourselves. This is a collection that beats with raw emotion and shimmers with the complexity of our shared human experience, and it confirms Alexander MacLeod’s reputation as a modern master of the short story.
About the author
Alexander MacLeod was born in Inverness, Cape Breton and raised in Windsor, Ontario. His award-winning stories have appeared in many of the leading Canadian and American journals and have been selected for The Journey Prize Anthology. He holds degrees from the University of Windsor, the University of Notre Dame, and McGill. He currently lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and teaches at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.
“Animal Person is easily the most compelling and captivating collection of short fiction that I have read in many, many years. It is humorous, suspenseful, compassionate, entertaining, mysterious, even wise, but it is also a book that doesn’t shrink from plucking the chord of anxiety that has become the bass note thrumming in the twenty-first century. A virtuoso performance by a writer in the vanguard of contemporary short story writers.”
—Guy Vanderhaeghe, author of August into Winter
“These tender, funny and ever-surprising stories all hint, in one way or another, at the impermanence of everything—and how impossible that impermanence always seems when you're caught up in the pulsating bloodstream of life.”
—Lynn Coady, author of Hellgoing
“Alexander MacLeod is a writer of extraordinary subtlety. The pleasure in these stories is as much in the journey as the destination.”
—David Bezmozgis, author of Immigrant City
“These stories centre on moments—some dramatic, some seemingly small—when lives are altered irrevocably. MacLeod is a gifted stylist, and all the more impressive for his subtlety. While each story in Animal Person is memorable, ‘The Closing Date’ is the volume’s masterpiece, and one of the most powerful and unnerving stories I have ever read.”
—Ron Rash, author of In the Valley
“A talent so vivid.”
—Souvankham Thammavongsa, author of How to Pronounce Knife