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English Animals by Laura Kaye

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English Animals is a funny, subversive, poignant and beautifully written novel about a doomed love affair, a certain kind of Englishness and prejudice. A brilliantly assured debut that fans of Nina Stibbe's writing will love.


English Animals by Laura Kaye

I opened my mouth to say something but she ran up the steps and into the house. I had imagined arriving at the house so many times, but it was never like this. I realised I knew nothing about these people. Richard and Sophie sounded like good names for good people. But they could be anything, they could be completely crazy. When Mirka gets a job in a country house in rural England, she has no idea of the struggle she faces to make sense of a very English couple, and a way of life that is entirely alien to her. Richard and Sophie are chaotic, drunken, frequently outrageous but also warm, generous and kind to Mirka, despite their argumentative and turbulent marriage. Mirka is swiftly commandeered by Richard for his latest money-making enterprise, taxidermy, and soon surpasses him in skill. After a traumatic break two years ago with her family in Slovakia, Mirka finds to her surprise that she is happy at Fairmont Hall. But when she tells Sophie that she is gay, everything she values is put in danger and she must learn the hard way what she really believes in.


'It's a long time since I've enjoyed any debut novel as much as English Animals. Its command of tone, narrative and character is so assured, and both its wit and perceptiveness about a certain kind of English life make it a joy to read. I am sure it will win several prizes. I loved the taxidermy ideas and details, and how beautifully they chimed with the human animal scenes presented. The dreadful marriage, the horrific father and above all Mirka herself with her courageous honesty and kindness make this something very special.' Amanda Craig

'A beautiful and bold debut' M.J. Hyland, author of the Man Booker-shortlisted Carry Me Down

About the Author

Laura Kaye grew up in rural Oxfordshire and lives in London. This is her first book.

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Book Info

Publication date

12th January 2017


Laura Kaye

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Little, Brown an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group


368 pages


Literary Fiction
Family Drama
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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