Animal People

Animal People A sharply observed hour urban love story that follows Stephen Connolly a character from the bestselling novel The Children through one of the worst days of his life The day he has decided to dump

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  • Title: Animal People
  • Author: Charlotte Wood
  • ISBN: 9781742376851
  • Page: 254
  • Format: Paperback
  • A sharply observed, 24 hour urban love story that follows Stephen Connolly a character from the bestselling novel The Children through one of the worst days of his life The day he has decided to dump his girlfriend.On a stiflingly hot December day, Stephen has decided it s time to break up with his girlfriend Fiona He s 39, aimless and unfulfilled, he s without a cluA sharply observed, 24 hour urban love story that follows Stephen Connolly a character from the bestselling novel The Children through one of the worst days of his life The day he has decided to dump his girlfriend.On a stiflingly hot December day, Stephen has decided it s time to break up with his girlfriend Fiona He s 39, aimless and unfulfilled, he s without a clue working out how to make his life better All he has are his instincts and unfortunately they might just be his downfall .As he makes his way through the pitiless city and the hours of a single day, Stephen must fend off his demanding family, endure another shift of his dead end job at the zoo including an excruciating teambuilding event , face up to Fiona s aggressive ex husband and the hysteria of a children s birthday party that goes terribly wrong As an ordinary day develops into an existential crisis, Stephen begins to understand perhaps too late that love is not a trap, and only he can free himself.Hilarious, tender and heartbreaking, Animal People is a portrait of urban life, a meditation on the conflicted nature of human animal relationships, and a masterpiece of storytelling.Animal People invites readers to question the way we think about animals what makes an animal person What value do we, as a society, place on the lives of creatures Do we brutalise our pets even as we love them What s wrong with anthropomorphism anyway Filled with challenging ideas and shocks of recognition and revelation, Animal People shows a writer of great depth and compassion at work.

    One thought on “Animal People”

    1. Animal People by Aussie author Charlotte Wood is a difficult book to review. Beautifully written, the span of the book covers one day in Stephen Connolly’s life – the worst day of his life. Starting with an unwelcome phone call from his mother, followed by the usual greeting from the neighbour’s dog, Balzac, Stephen could feel it all going wrong. As he fought his way through peak hour traffic in Sydney, in the relentless heat of the Australian summer, he knew he’d be late for work. Taron [...]

    2. Animal People is a difficult book to review. Wood is a deft and able writer with an eye for detail that adds light and shade to the mundane, but for me the distance she puts between her protagonist, Stephen, and the reader was a little too much. Its clear this distance was deliberate, that Wood wants the reader to watch him unravel, wants her writing to make you uncomfortable as a reader at times. But I think I never really "got" Stephen. Most of the time I felt like giving him a good slap!Never [...]

    3. This book is set in the suburbs of Sydney and it tells of a single day of the life of Stephen. Stephen is a 38 year old odd ball; dislikes animals (yet he works at a zoo), unsure where his career and life is headed, and is socially inapt. Waking up everyday seems to be huge effort for Stephen and he is very distressed. On this particular day, Stephen has decided that he must do something that will turn his life around and give him freedom but in the process hurt the one person that accepts and l [...]

    4. Charlotte Wood is an accomplished and award-winning writer who is largely unknown outside of her native Australia. I've read two of her novels — The Submerged Cathedral and The Family — having purchased them on trips back home and loved them both. Animal People, picked up on my last trip, only confirms my high opinion of her work.The book spans just one day in the life of Stephen Connolly, a middle-aged man who's feeling slightly lost and depressed with the way his life has panned out. We ha [...]

    5. Perhaps I should start by saying the people here in Africa are not animal people. You don't just see a person walking a dog, or petting a rabbit!, out there in the streets of Nairobi, for example. I am not animal person. I love animals, of course. But its about the culture I have grown into, animals are animals, and people are people, if all are well fed life continues. Perhaps I should adopt a puppy, keep him close, and hope I won't be thought 'weird!' Well, perhaps the most commendable thing a [...]

    6. I felt this book very strongly. I really wanted Stephen to be able to have a shower and change out of those pants, to be able to be comfortable in his life, to stop finding himself in such awful, misunderstood (often by himself) corners. To be able to stop and breathe and be OK about being him. Poor Stephen. Sometimes I want a beer and the quiet of an empty room in just the same way. I had to cry on the train while reading the ending. It's perfect.

    7. I loved Animal People. I am now trying to write a review. I've read it twice. And may read it again. It is so difficult to review a book which has so much to offer with each new read. It is as though Charlotte Wood had written an encyclopaedic multi volume chronicle of our times and then had whittled it down to its essentials, before crushing the remnants into a paste, and pressing this essence into an engaging narrative.

    8. I really enjoyed this, surprisingly! I was drawn to it in the first half, but wouldn't say I was loving it - I was reading with a combination of admiration for Charlotte Wood's writing, and cringing for her character. Sometimes someone can be too sensitive to everything (I know) and Stephen in this novel is an extreme example, and why it may be counterproductive. But then, part-way along, the tone changed, and I felt less anxious for him, and more aligned. What a day he, and all that he interact [...]

    9. A stunning book from an unbelievable writer! So sharp and observant, funny in places, and with a cracker last few paragraphs that I read over and over, in tears and elated.

    10. Stephen is not an ‘animal person’. He’s not a dog-lover or a cat-lover; he is baffled by doggie sweaters and hates the itch of animal fur. At the zoo kiosk where he works Stephen observes the inanity of people cooing and ahhing at caged animals who could care less. Stephen especially hates his perceived soullessness for not connecting with all creatures’ great and small. He hates that every day in the city he observes the cruelty between human beings – those who ignore The Big Issue se [...]

    11. Charlotte Wood is an impressive Aussie author. The ANZ LitLovers book group has read and enjoyed discussing both her novels, The Submerged Cathedral and The Children. (See my review of that one at anzlitlovers.wordpress/200). Wood is a sharp and witty observer of human frailty, and her mastery of characterisation is superb.Character is what drives Animal People. Readers of The Children will remember Stephen: he is the loser, the ‘hopeless’ one, the one who dithers about going nowhere. In a d [...]

    12. This is such a wonderful, humane, sensitive book; heartbreaking, deeply pathetic and inspiring. Wood's refusal to judge, just observe compassionately, make her a formidable writer. I felt I knew the places, and to some extent, was the people, she wrote about. Her verbs in particular are just so very good- for instance, the ferret 'wafting' and 'rolling' - make the most inconsequential details memorable.

    13. Charlotte Wood is one of my favourite new discoveries - I can't wait to read the rest of her work. Animal People is a gorgeous essay on emotional distance or closeness and how we fear or embrace that - through the lens of the (to the protagonist) unfathomable closeness of some people with animals. It has a lot to say about compassion and unconditionality and builds to a lovely denouement.

    14. A story of a single day in the life of StephenI was captured by the descriptions and events. I was totally holding my breath during the child's temper tantrum at her birthday party.e volcanic explosion and the aftermath! I feel like re reading this book again some time. Charlotte Wood's earlier novel The Children is in my to read list. e main character, Stephen, was taken from this book.

    15. 3 and a half stars. I really loved this book - just a story about a 'real' persons life. With this style of book I often find myself reading and waiting for something 'big' to happen when I wish I could just relax and take more time to appreciate the great writing. I loved the ending!

    16. Stephen is a fine name – in fact, an extremely fine name. It is derived from the Greek 'Stephanos', meaning 'wreath' or 'crown'. Some have interpreted this to mean 'kingly', but a more appropriate 'translation' would possibly be 'encompassing', just as a wreath encompasses the head. In Ancient Greece a wreath was traditionally presented as a reward for victors in contests such as the original Olympics – these being certainly more pure back then than the travesty they are today! As a name Ste [...]

    17. Charlotte Wood’s The Children is among my favourite Australian novels: she’s just so good at the dynamics of relationships and minute social observations that give worlds of information about the people and places she captures. Woods’ writing reminds me of Helen Garner’s, in that it’s easy to read, but deceptively so: it’s rich with ideas and absolutely distinctive in its voice.So, I was pretty excited to receive Animal People, which follows one (monumentally bad) day in the life of [...]

    18. Ordered this book from the Australian publisher as the US no longer prints it and was interested in learning more about the author as I recently borrowed her latest novel. The language proved to be quite colloquial in that I felt transported and yet found my eyes skimming to get to the end of a sentence. I admire her creating a protagonist who is capable of being empathetic while following his own neurotic path in life. It's an unusual setting and my main question in the end is whether there are [...]

    19. I really don't know what to say after reading this book. It definitely isn't your run of the mill 'happy' sort of story, in fact it was pretty depressing. A look at Stephen's life in a day as he psyches himself up to break up with his girlfriend Fiona. What this book does do is make you feel. You can feel the agony of the 'simpleton' Stephen as he faces different scenarios in this one day. It also makes us think about people and society in general - compared to animals, who by the way might be a [...]

    20. Charlotte Wood is excellent at crafting rich sentences to bring to life complex scenes and characters. This book is certainly a good example of that, but I found it lacking in story and plot. It focuses on one day in the life of Stephen, from The Children, who is depressed and drifting along in life with no real idea what he's doing, but managing to hurt those he cares about anyway. I thought he was whiny and self-absorbed and not very enjoyable to read about, but at least the book is short and [...]

    21. This is almost a four star book for me but I held back from that rating perhaps because the overall mood of the novel is so downbeat. It covers one day in the life of Stephen - a bit of a loser, but good at heart. He works in the kiosk at the zoo but is allergic to animals and cannot understand what attracts people to them. What makes an animal person? What makes us different from animals? These questions are played out through Stephen's interactions with his workmates, his family and particular [...]

    22. I love Charlotte Wood's writing - she can take very ordinary moments in a day and add real import to them. This novel follows a single day in the life of Stephen - a character from the earlier novel The Children. Stephen is a difficult and flawed character - he is unhappy in his job and second guessing his relationship, which seems to be the only bright spot in his life. The day that we are witness to is a pivotal one for Stephen, but also one in which many of the incidents are very familiar to [...]

    23. Wow - what a lovely booka day in the life of Stephenon a journey of discovery as he moves through his day toward what he thinks the culmination will be, but which isn't. A thoroughly enjoyable read. I read the first half of the book over a couple of evenings then finished the second half in one sitting. Highly recommended.

    24. I put this loosely under family because in actually though most of the story centres around the main character, who is someone I did like at all. I managed to finish this book but it did not do it for me. I have to admit we had 3 members of our book club who actually did enjoy the book.

    25. The power of a great writer. When I started this book, I couldn't relate to Charlotte Wood's protagonist Stephen. To be honest, I didn't particularly like him, but by the end of the book I was crying for him, with quite a few laughs at his expense along the way. All in the course of a day. Wow.

    26. I'm dissapointed to say this was just meh for me. I understand why people rave about Wood's ability to capture everyday norms so well but I just got bored and disinterested. I think the pace of the novel annoyed me. You don't get complete thoughts or memeories. The MC will begin a thought/memory and then get distracted by an everyday occurence and you have to get through this encounter to get back to the thing you were actually interested in reading. I loved "The natural way of things" but this [...]

    27. 4.5 stars. A great read about one day in the life of Stephen, a 39 year old who works as a washer up at a Sydney zoo cafe. He has had a girlfriend for one year, Fiona, who is a divorcee with two daughters. Stephen gets on with the daughters. During the day he faces many ordinary urban day events, in the shopping centre, in the traffic, on a bus, at a work team-building event and being around people he dislikes. Stephen is in many ways a loner who just wants to be free. He decides he will tell Fi [...]

    28. I pushed myself to finish this book. To me the title 'Animal People' had absolutely no relevance to the story line. Animals feature perhaps twice in the book, on the last page tragically.

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