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This "lyrically descriptive [novel] traces the terrible evolution of rural ways of life into cruelty and abuse via the history of one unhappy family." --Kirkus Reviews

1898: In the small French village of Puy-Larroque, lonore is a child living with her father, a pig farmer whose terminal illness leaves him unable to work, and her God-fearing mother, who runs both farm and family with an iron hand. lonore passes her childhood with little heat and no running water, sharing a small room with her cousin Marcel, who does most of the physical labor on the farm. When World War I breaks out and the village empties, lonore gets a taste of the changes that will transform her world as the twentieth century rolls on.

In the second part of the novel, which takes place in the 1980s, the untamed world of Puy-Larroque seems gone forever. lonore has aged into the role of matriarch, and the family is running a large industrial pig farm, where thousands of pigs churn daily through cycles of birth, growth, and death. Moments of sublime beauty and powerful emotion mix with the thoughtless brutality waged against animals that makes the old horrors of death and disease seem like simpler times.

A dramatic and chilling tale of man and beast that recalls the naturalism of writers like mile Zola, Animalia traverses the twentieth century as it examines man's quest to conquer nature, critiques the legacy of modernity and the transmission of violence from one generation to the next, and questions whether we can hold out hope for redemption in this brutal world.

From a Goncourt Prize winner, this "lyrical novel depicting a century on a French family farm emphasizes the earthy and the cruel [and] provocatively dissects our conflicted relationship with the rest of the living world"(Booklist).

"[Animalia] invites readers to connect the tangled web of violence, against people and animals--and face the brutality in which all of us are complicit." --Pittsburgh Post-Gazette