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Publisher's Summary

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, and a "must-read book" by Maclean's. 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. 

©2022 Alexander MacLeod (P)2022 McClelland & Stewart

Critic Reviews

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)

"A brilliant collection...MacLeod offers piercing insights into how his characters see themselves in relation to their families. This is a winner.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

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