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Jean-Baptiste Del Amo

  • awardShortlisted, German Book Prize, Translation, Germany, 2019
  • awardWinner, Prix du Livre Inter, France, 2017
  • awardWinner, Prix Valery-Larbaud
  • Translated by Frank Wynne

    Animalia tells the confronting and compelling story of a peasant family in south-west France as they develop their plot of land into an intensive pig farm. In an environment dominated by animals, five generations endure the cataclysm of two world wars, economic disasters, and the emergence of a brutal industrialism. Only the enchanted realm of childhood—that of Éléonore, the matriarch, and Jérôme, her grandson—and the innate freedom of the animals offer any respite from the barbarity of humanity. Animalia is a powerful novel about man’s desire to conquer nature and the transmission of violence from one generation to the next.


    The Times (UK)

    Jean-Baptiste Del Amo
    About the Author

    Jean-Baptiste del Amo, born in 1981, is one of France’s most exciting and talented young writers. Animalia, his fourth novel, is his first to appear in English.

    Frank Wynne’s translations include works by Michel Houellebecq, Frédéric Beigbeder and Virginie Despentes.

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    Text publication date:
    7 May 2019
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    Praise for Jean-Baptiste Del Amo

    Animalia is stupendously good. This is a novel of epic scope and equally epic ambition, and it is exhilarating and frightening to read. Every page blazes with incandescent prose. After reading Animalia it might be a while before I can return to reading a contemporary novel, I suspect everything will seem tepid and timid in comparison. Del Amo has thrown us down a gauntlet: be bold, be daring, be rigorous, be a poet. A stunning book.’

    ‘An epic book about family and human barbarity. An astonishing novel. Beyond its thematic richness, the pictorial power of the scenes and the savage sensitivity of the words in Animalia are worthy at moments of the best of Cormac McCarthy. A dark splendour.’

    ‘Jean-Baptiste Del Amo’s talent is impressive. His writing is both rich and explicit, sinuous and et razor-sharp, sensuous and surgical.’

    ‘Radical, violent and disturbing.’

    ‘A splendid novel…While tackling the issue of animal rights, Jean-Baptiste Del Amo constructs an intelligent, elliptical story, a meditation on human barbarity, family tensions and history that repeats itself. But Animalia is above all a virtuoso piece of writing that makes us experience colours and smells in a way so few works of recent fiction do—and which, incidentally, may inspire you to reduce the amount of pork you eat.’

    ‘Stunning…Shades of Antonin Artaud’s machete let loose on Georges de La Tour’s paintings…A book people will talk about.’

    ‘Reminiscent of Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury.’

    An epic tale, a parable, a triumph.’

    Animalia is a book about sex and violence, but it has unusual sobriety, and a story with a deep pull. The way it senses the natural world, in seed, vein, hair, grain, pore, bud, fluid is like nothing I’ve read.’

    ‘An extraordinary book… I was spellbound.’

    Other editions ofAnimalia