Early in Charlotte Wood’s previous novel The Children (2007), one of Stephen Connolly’s sisters describes him as lost; she says he carries within him ‘a bedrock of resentment … never articulated and never resolved, but which has formed the foundation for his every conversation, every glance from his guarded eyes’. Readers may disagree with this harsh assessment as they read Wood’s new novel, Animal People, in which Stephen is the primary focus – this time more anxious than resentful. He is an inherently difficult character, but not a bad man. Wood unpacks him – sometimes ruthlessly – to reveal a person bewildered by the demands of all kinds of relationships.
Miriam Zolin – writer, editor and publisher – is the force behind the National Jazz Writing Competition and independent micro-publisher extempore. She has a day job as well as postgraduate qualifications in Linguistics and Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne. Close to completing her second novel, Miriam was also steeped in Victorian history and silversmithing lore as a child, thanks to her parents.
From the New Issue
Lowitja: The authorised biography of Lowitja O’Donoghue by Stuart Rintoul
When America Stopped Being Great: A history of the present by Nick Bryantby Andrew West
Living with the Anthropocene: Love, loss and hope in the face of the environmental crisis edited by Cameron Muir, Kirsten Wehner, and Jenny Newell