All he has are his instincts — and unfortunately they might just be his downfall. 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. What value do we, as a society, place on the lives of creatures? Do we brutalise our pets even as we love them?
Filled with challenging ideas and shocks of recognition and revelation, Animal People shows a writer of great depth and compassion at work. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Kibble Literary Award Nominee Other Editions 6. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Animal People , please sign up. Is it a good idea to first read The Children since Stephen Connolly is a character from that book, or can this book be read as a stand alone?
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More filters. Sort order. Dec 14, Brenda rated it really liked it Shelves: borrowed-from-library , literary-fiction , aussie-authors. Animal People by Aussie author Charlotte Wood is a difficult book to review. Taronga Zoo was where he worked, though he disliked animals and was allergic to them as well. But one after another the disasters followed him, crept up on him — there would be no improvement.
But would the crisis of fractured families, of tormented minds overwhelm this man who had no idea which direction his life was heading? Charlotte Wood is an amazing writer — I read The Children some time back and really enjoyed it, then recently read The Natural Way of Things and absolutely loved it. Highly recommended. Jan 13, Maree Kimberley rated it liked it Shelves: australian-women-writers-challenge. 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 Animal People is a difficult book to review.
Nevertheless the prose in Animal People is lovely. This is a quiet book. It's not showy and except for one instance I felt Wood had total control of the writing at all times. She details the minutae of suburban life with precision. I felt a few of the minor characters lacked depth, particularly in the party scene, but this doesn't detract from the overall quality of the novel. The ending was pitch perfect, which more than made up for any other small quibbles I have with this book.
Recommended for those who enjoy a well-crafted, thoughtful novel. View all 5 comments. Dec 10, Mish rated it really liked it Recommended to Mish by: Kaylene. Shelves: , fiction , library-friends-books , australian-authors. 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 This book is set in the suburbs of Sydney and it tells of a single day of the life of Stephen. 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 loves him dearly.
Charlotte Wood is a superb writer and has created a simple story but with a lot of depth, wit and compassion. Her characters are true to life, with flaws and all - I think there is a character here that we all can relate to in our own life. I must say the build up at the end did bring me to tears and it took my breath away. I was feeling all that Stephen was feeling - the tension, frustration and emotion just crashing down on him all at once. Highly recommend it View 1 comment. May 24, Kimbofo rated it really liked it Shelves: commonwealth-fiction.
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 have m Charlotte Wood is an accomplished and award-winning writer who is largely unknown outside of her native Australia.
We have met Stephen before — he's the "drifter" in Wood's previous novel The Family but note, you don't need to have read that book to appreciate this one — they're completely stand-alone novels , the one who's never followed a "proper" career path, the one who his parents and his siblings are always worried about and fretting over. Now, several years later, he's living in Sydney, working a dead-end job in a food kiosk at the zoo and is constantly mistaken as a chef because of his quite hilarious penchant for wearing black-and-white chequered trousers, a bargain purchase from Aldi.
On the day in question, he's decided that it's finally time to dump his long-term girlfriend, Fiona, who has been putting pressure on him to move in with her and her two bratty children from her failed marriage. But as the day enfolds, Stephen's plans get thwarted, then sabotaged, and before he knows it, he's beginning to doubt whether dumping Fiona is the right thing to do at all. To read the rest of my review, please visit. Jan 14, Moses Kilolo rated it really liked it. 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! 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! Each sentence is a joy to read. And at times I'd forget the story and just drift along, admiring the language.
This is a story about the way people approach animals as it is about how people need each other through life. Told within a span of 24 hours in the life of man named Stephen, its about his passionless observation of people and their different loves for animals, in the zoo where he works. But all day he plots on damping his girlfriend Fiona under the pretext that he desires to be free. But in the end he realizes that the people in one's life are much more important than some preconceived notion of 'freedom! Sep 12, John Purcell rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: People who note the details in life.
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. Jan 18, Jane rated it really liked it Shelves: female , library , australian , aww 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.
Animal People - Wikipedia
View 2 comments. 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 I really enjoyed this, surprisingly! What a day he, and all that he interacted with, had. I feel like I've been on an emotional roller coaster. Really amazing.
Note - I have read The Children, also by Charlotte Wood, and this almost sits within that story, which is spread over a longer time period. I wonder if my opinion would be different without that background? Quotes: From Stephen's mother: 'I don't ask you for much,' she had said this morning, But it was too much.
He wished he could properly eradicate her injured voice on the phone. He was so tired, already, of managing his mind, of fending off all the things that must not be allowed to burden his day'. With the neighbour's dog: 'This mess and agony. It was a life, ending, he marvelled, just as he was beginning to understand. The point of an animal was not for it to love you: it was that you could love it. In all it's otherness, your unbelonging to its kind, it could yet receive 0 boundlessly - your love.
He inhaled the dank animal breaths with his own, and he thought of his father, of his mother, how one day soon this dying gaze would be hers, endless and sorrowful. Poor creature It was in this abjection, he saw now - his eyes close, face pressed into the dogs's neck - that we were most animal and because of that became most human after all. We are all only hair and bone and stinking breath, and the only thing we can hope for is a fellow creature who will lie beside us in the road and stroke our flanks while we die'.
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.
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At the zoo kiosk where he works Stephen observes the inanity of people cooing and ahhing at caged animals who could care less. He hates that every day in the city he observes the cruelty between human beings — those who ignore The Big Issue sellers, or who sneer at junkies and side-step the homeless.
Yet people worship their pets, they give medals to bomb-sniffing dogs and offer triple-digit rewards for lost animals. Stephen muses on these thoughts throughout one day in a crowded, soulless big city.
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His head is clogged with disillusionment with the city and his life, because on this day he intends to dump his girlfriend. Stephen has an albatross around his neck as he goes about his day. He intends to dump Fiona, his girlfriend who also happens to be the ex-sister-in-law of his sister. In leaving Fiona, Stephen will also be losing her two children, girls Ella and Larry, whom he has affectionately come to think of as his own.
He starts to notice things, like a suspicious plastic-wrapped package lying on the floor of the bus. When he accidentally hits a pedestrian a junkie that everyone tells him he should drive off on he remembers again and again her head bouncing on bitumen. Everything he muses on is so affirming and precise. But the worst thing you never got used to was this: the man beside him now leaned suddenly close, making Stephen shut his eyes. You never got used to being trapped into intimacy with the mad. Through Stephen, Wood points out the ludicrousness of certain pet-centric activities.
This seemed unfair. He was not a cat person either. He was not an animal person in the same way he was mot a musical person, or an intellectual person. Not to be musical or intellectual was unremarkable and provoked no suspicion.
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Mar 16, Jo Case rated it really liked it Shelves: novel , aus-authors. So, I was pretty excited to receive Animal People , which follows one monumentally bad day in the life of middle-aged man-child Stephen, as he prepares to break up with his girlfriend. This is at once a novel about Stephen, and his relationship with girlfriend Fiona and her two girls; and about urban life, with our relationships with animals and all the absurdities those relationships often entail as a recurrent theme.
Stephen works at a zoo kiosk; he is determinedly unambitious and a bit hopeless. Thoroughly recommended; it made me laugh and cry. What more could you ask for? This review was first published at www. Sep 30, Lisa rated it really liked it Shelves: fiction , australia , c21st , 11review.
People are animals, too
Charlotte Wood is an impressive Aussie author. Wood is a sharp and witty observer of human frailty, and her mastery of characterisation is superb. Character is what drives Animal People. In a dynamic family Stephen was a drifter and he drove his siblings to distraction. Charlotte Wood has made this character and a single day in his so-ordinary life the focus of Animal People. Perhaps contrary to expectation, it works perfectly.
Oct 20, Leonie Jordan rated it it was amazing Shelves: perfect-5 , australian-literature , beautiful-prose , great-characters , contemporary-literature , elegaic. 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.
Nov 29, Gail Chilianis rated it really liked it. A story of a single day in the life of Stephen.. I was captured by the descriptions and events. I was totally holding my breath during the child's temper tantrum at her birthday party.. I feel like re reading this book again some time. Charlotte Wood's earlier novel The Children is in my to read list. Mar 21, Kirstie rated it really liked it. 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. Oct 22, Michelle Taylor rated it liked it Shelves: book-club. 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! Jan 01, Monique Mulligan rated it it was amazing. Precise, thoughtful and subtle.
Mar 13, Steve lovell rated it really liked it. 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. Youth for Conservation,  and the African Network for Animal Welfare,  both of Kenya, have grown and developed considerable influence.
In , Animal People provided financial support to local activists in Nepal for public awareness work against animal sacrifice at the Gadhimai festival, and sponsored the Blue Cross of India 's deployment of patrol teams along the border of India and Nepal to enforce an Indian court order banning transport of animals for sacrifice at Gadhimai.
Animal People has co-sponsored the Asia for Animals conference series since ,  the Middle East Network for Animal Welfare  conference held in , and the Africa Animal Welfare Action  conference, first held in From until , Animal People, Inc. Both were retired in Since , Animal People publishes articles and media submitted by users on the Animal People Forum.
Kim Bartlett has received awards for leadership in disaster relief from the Asia for Animals conference, and for leadership in humane work in the Middle East from the Middle East Network for Animal Welfare. In Merritt Clifton received the 15th annual ProMED-mail Anniversary Award,  presented by the International Society for Infectious Diseases for contributions to the identification and control of emerging disease. Clifton was honored for contributions that led to identifying fruit bats as the host species for Nipah virus in April ; helping to identify the roles of cockfighting and falconing in the migration of H5N1; identifying aspects of halal slaughter as the probable source of outbreaks of the tick-borne Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever among Central Asian meat industry workers in ; and especially, said ProMed-mail editor Larry Madoff, for contributions to epidemiological understanding of the cultural factors involved in the spread and control of canine rabies in India, China, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Animal People Region served. Retrieved Animals Archived from the original on December 15, Animal People Info Services. Archived from the original on Part I - Redorbit". Categories : Animal charities based in the United States Charities based in New York state Organizations established in Animal welfare organizations based in the United States establishments in the United States.