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Animalia - A Novel - cover

Animalia - A Novel

Jean-Baptiste del Amo

Translator Frank Wynne

Publisher: Grove Press

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Summary

Animalia epitomizes a new literary naturalism, reading like a classic French epic in the tradition of Balzac and Zola. Set in southwestern France and written in relentless, sometimes brutal prose, the novel is an expansive story of five generations of pig farmers who battle forces both natural and familial. Animalia's blistering prose and unflinching treatment of his subject matter will resonate with readers of Cormac McCarthy and László Krasznahorkai, while its moments of profound beauty and sublimity recalls writers like Marilynne Robinson. Del Amo is one of the most prominent public voices on vegetarianism, veganism, and animal rights in France, and takes the brutality of the meat industry to task in Animalia, especially in the latter half of the novel set in the 1980s. Del Amo's stridently progressive views on the topic are at odds with his country’s more traditional general opinion, which offers a fascinating possible subject for written features and radio. The highly regarded UK publisher Fitzcarraldo Editions will be publishing Animalia as one of its lead titles in March 2019. They expect major review attention and are hoping for award shortlists, hopefully mimicking the success of such writers as Svetlana Alexievich and Olga Tokarczuk. Del Amo is a rising star in France; he won the Goncourt First Novel Prize in 2009 for his book Une éducation libertine. His books have been recently published or are forthcoming in German, Italian, Spanish, and Romanian, but Animalia is his first work to appear in English. Del Amo would be an ideal subject for a profile. He lives in the French countryside where he runs a small animal refuge. His political engagement recalls writers like Édouard Louis and Valeria Luiselli. We will be reaching out to major writers for blurbs, such as Ali Smith, J. M. Coetzee, and Lydia Davis, as well as well-known vegetarian writers, including Jonathan Safran Foer. It is possible that Del Amo will come to the United States in the fall for the annual Festival Albertine. Animalia was the recipient of the prestigious Prix du Livre Inter in 2017, as well as three other major French prizes. The novel is translated by celebrated translator Frank Wynne, two-time winner of the Scott Moncrieff Translation Prize. His translations have won awards including the IMPAC and Independent foreign fiction prize and have been shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize. “Is there a more gifted or versatile translator working today?” asked Parul Sehgal in her recent New York Times review of Javier Cercas’s The Impostor.

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