by Laura Kaye - £8.99 Little, Brown Book Group (2017)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780349142197 | ISBN 10: 034914219x
A funny, subversive and poignant debut novel from an exciting new writer.
I opened my mouth to say something but she ran up the steps and into the house. I had imagined arriving at the house so many times, but it was never like this. I realised I knew nothing about these people. Richard and Sophie sounded like good names for good people. But they could be anything, they could be completely crazy.
When Mirka gets a job in a country house in rural England, she has no idea of the struggle she faces to make sense of a very English couple, and a way of life that is entirely alien to her. Richard and Sophie are chaotic, drunken, frequently outrageous but also warm, generous and kind to Mirka, despite their argumentative and turbulent marriage.
Mirka is swiftly commandeered by Richard for his latest money-making enterprise, taxidermy, and soon surpasses him in skill. After a traumatic break two years ago with her family in Slovakia, Mirka finds to her surprise that she is happy at Fairmont Hall. But when she tells Sophie that she is gay, everything she values is put in danger and she must learn the hard way what she really believes in.
English Animals is a funny, subversive, poignant and beautifully written novel about a doomed love affair, a certain kind of Englishness and prejudice.
(Price & availability last checked: March 2018)