Brandon Taylor

Filthy Animals

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A hotly charged new work of fiction from the Booker Prize shortlisted author of Real Life.

In the series of linked stories at the heart of Filthy Animals, set among young adults in the American midwest, a young man treads delicate emotional waters as he navigates a series of sexually fraught encounters with two dancers in an open relationship, forcing him to weigh his vulnerabilities against his loneliness. In other stories, a young woman battles with the cancers draining her body and her family; menacing undercurrents among a group of teenagers explode in violence on a winter night; a little girl tears through a house like a tornado, driving her babysitter to the brink; and couples feel out the jagged edges of connection, comfort, and cruelty.

Author: Brandon Taylor
Paperback  Published 14 September 2021  272 pages

Read and Recommended by Hendri:

"Brandon Taylor is back and once again demonstrating his masterful skill in grasping upon the unsayable. After the highly-acclaimed, Man Booker shortlisted debut, Real Life, comes this collection of short stories about young adults grappling with desire, vulnerability, and violence. Set in the American midwest with interconnected stories and characters, Filthy Animals begins with the portrait of a young man named Lionel traversing the tightrope of his open relationship with two dancers. Through his encounters with Sophie and Charles, Lionel must confront his deeply-buried trauma and the uncertainty and unknowingness of what he truly wants from the relationships. In another follow-up story, Lionel and Charles meet again in a dance class, forcing them to reconcile what had happened between them after an intimate night. Taylor is so accomplished at depicting unspoken desire and tempts readers to decipher what is not being said in these encounters. Other stories expose the mortality creeping inside the body through a young woman battling with cancers, the failures of a babysitter dealing with the nightmare of her job, and the ambiguous line between love and hate as couples live through compassion and indifference simultaneously. Once again, Taylor has tenderly pushed us to grapple with the edges of intimacy that linger and may go unrecognised."  

“With Filthy Animals, [Taylor] applies his captivating, precise prose to the short form. These linked narratives thoughtfully examine a group of brainy Midwesterners dwelling deep inside their own heads, falling forward into one another's orbits.” O: The Oprah Magazine

“A probing short story collection that grapples with societal expectations and transgressions . . . a luminous exploration of identity, mental health, and sexuality.” —BuzzFeed

“[These stories] all paint a picture of the simultaneous beauties and woes of life: a craving for intimacy, a secret desire for love masked by an indifference toward it, and the lasting effects of pain on present-day life.” —Cosmopolitan

“A powerhouse.” Newsweek

“An extraordinary cartographer.” Esquire

“A striking new voice with a vital perspective.” Harpers Bazaar

“A brilliant writer.” Garth Greenwell

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