The Octopus Has Three Hearts offers dispatches from the margins of human society. These are stories about damaged people who have committed, witnessed or survived terrible acts and who must make their way in an unforgiving world.
From a goat farmer to a suburban adulterer, a violent child to a polyamorous marine biologist, Rose’s diverse characters have little in common except a life-sustaining connection to the animal world. The octopus, dogs, pigs, chameleons, bats, parrots, rats and sugar gliders in their lives extend a measure of compassion and solace that their human communities lack.
Rachel Rose’s finely tuned sense of irony is evident in this collection, which embraces the strange and unexpected, exploring the outer limits of empathy and forgiveness. Her flawed and broken characters, who may range far from readers’ own lived experiences, reveal universal elements of the human condition and the curious redemption of the human-animal bond.
"What role do animals play in the lives of people? This is the question posed by author Rachel Rose in her bold, unabashed debut short fiction ... these compassionate, skilfully written stories will undoubtedly appeal to animal lovers as well as readers of literary short stories."