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The Animal Girl

Two Novellas and Three Stories

Yellow Shoe Fiction

184 pages / 5.50 x 8.50 inches / None

ebook available


  Paperback / 9780807132944 / September 2007

Winner of the Paterson Prize for Fiction Finalist

The five heartbreaking and radiant stories in John Fulton's The Animal Girl explore the awkwardness of situations in which grief and erotic love collide. Here are people in extremis, struggling mightily, and often failing, to keep it together. In the Pushcart Prize–winning "Hunters," Fulton contrasts the humorous clumsiness of dating with the grim realities of death in the tale of a middle-aged woman who keeps her cancer a secret when she starts a relationship with an avid hunter. In the novella-length title story, a lonely adolescent girl deals with the recent loss of her mother and the alien presence of her father's new girlfriend by taking out her aggression on her boss and on the animals she cares for in her summer job at a research laboratory. The final story in the collection, "The Sleeping Woman," delves into the inner life of Evelyn, a divorced professional woman who falls in love with Russell, a man whose wife is permanently brain damaged and has been unresponsive for years. The ghostly presence of Russell's wife haunts Evelyn as she discovers how her lover has been scarred by his misfortune and searches for ways they might build a long-term relationship in the wake of personal tragedy.

These powerful stories approach the often sentimentalized subject of romance with tenderness and insight into the heart-worn perspective of characters who have failed at love in the past. In lucid, revelatory prose, Fulton navigates the complexity of both mid-life courtship and adolescent rage with humor and intelligence.

John Fulton is the author of two other books of fiction: Retribution, winner of the Southern Review Short Fiction Award, and the novel More Than Enough, a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. His short fiction has appeared in the Southern Review, Zoetrope, and the Ontario Review, among other publications, and he has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, short-listed for the O. Henry Award, and cited for distinction in The Best American Short Stories. He lives with his wife and baby daughter in Boston, where he teaches in the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts-Boston.

Review Quotes for The Animal Girl

In their exploration of loss, Fulton’s moving vignettes offer glimpses into all that is painful and hopeful and human.”—Booklist

"Fulton's stories are reminiscent of the work of the late Andre Dubus." —News & Observer

"Fulton can evoke a full range of emotion without burdening each of his sentences with it, in the same way that his characters live meaningful lives even if each moment isn't crushed with significance." —Curled up with a Good Book

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