A Loving, Faithful Animal: A Novel by Josephine Rowe
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"A subtle and haunting meditation on childhood, escape, the bonds and the limits of family, and the long reach of trauma. Rowe is a serious talent, and her debut novel is both gorgeous and stunning." —Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven
"A Loving, Faithful Animal lured me in with astonishing, poetic prose, and a glimpse of an Australia I don’t always see in fiction. But the true thrill of the novel is the carousel of haunting characters Josephine Rowe creates with unbelievable precision. An unflinching look at the ways we fail the people we love, at the cruelty of family, its toxicity, and beauty. The book is a deep, multi-faceted portrait of the inheritance of damage, one that left me aching and inspired." —Stephanie Danler, New York Times bestselling author of Sweetbitter
"Josephine Rowe writes like someone who, having been quiet a long time, has thought carefully and viciously about what must be said. In this flinty debut, Rowe fashions a string of refractory surfaces—the family members of a veteran—to remind us just how far, into love and time, the atrocity of war will reach." — Kathleen Alcott, author of Infinite Home
"It's our instinct for survival—the most universal, the most animal part of each of us—that makes us capable of both surprising cruelty and gut-splitting love. From where, exactly, do those instincts spring? A Loving, Faithful Animal is a novel about war and about peace, about violence and tenderness, about loyalty and betrayal, and about what we learn and what we're born knowing, which is to say that it's a novel about family. What a fine novel it is." —Sam Kaas, offsite events manager, Third Place Books
“Balancing poetic language with unsentimental observation, [Rowe] brings a fierce, inventive vision to her themes of family, legacy, and survival.” —Publishers Weekly
It is New Year’s Eve 1990, in a small town in southeast Australia. Ru's father, Jack, one of thousands of Australians once conscripted to serve in the Vietnam War, has disappeared. This time Ru thinks he might be gone for good. As rumors spread of a huge black cat stalking the landscape beyond their door, the rest of the family is barely holding on. Ru’s sister, Lani, is throwing herself into sex, drugs, and dangerous company. Their mother, Evelyn, is escaping into memories of a more vibrant youth. And meanwhile there is Les, Jack’s inscrutable brother, who seems to move through their lives like a ghost, earning both trust and suspicion.
A Loving, Faithful Animal is an incandescent portrait of one family searching for what may yet be redeemable from the ruins of war. Tender, brutal, and heart-stopping in its beauty, this novel marks the arrival in the United States of the winner of the 2016 Elizabeth Jolley Prize, one of Australia’s most extraordinary young writers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Josephine Rowe was born in 1984 in Rockhampton, Australia, and grew up in Melbourne. In the United States her writing has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, The Iowa Review, The Paris Review Daily, and other publications. She holds fellowships from the Wallace Stegner Program in fiction at Stanford University, the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, the Omi International Arts Center, and Yaddo. In 2016, her fiction won the Elizabeth Jolley Prize in Australia. She currently lives in Tasmania.