Large Animals by Jess Arndt
A bold, soupy, and cannily queer collection of stories that confronts what it means to have a body.
Daring, witty, and strange, the twelve stories in Large Animals confront what it means to have a body. Jess Arndt's often-unnamed narrators battle with inhabiting a form that makes them feel both deeply uncomfortable and detached, constantly challenging the limits of gender and reality as they try to connect with other people and with themselves. These are stories that rebel against accepted ideas of human identity and present a new normal that is as ambiguous as it is messy.
In 'Moon Colonies' the narrator's disconnect with their body leads them on a masochistic gambling spree. In 'Jeff', Lily Tomlin mistakes Jess for Jeff, triggering a hilarious and unhinged identity crisis. And in 'Contrails', a character calls each of their ex lovers the night before surgery, confronting a gut-twisting fear of becoming non-existent.
Visceral, and often disconcerting, Large Animals sets a new standard for language, challenging our concepts of gender and body in a way that feels radical, insightful, and incredibly relevant.
“Everything in Jess Arndt's Large Animals veers towards the supernatural. Everything is strangely bodily and shape-shifting. Hugely original, this debut is wild.” — Isabel Waidner
“…joins in with the classics of loaded, outlaw literature… this is an electric debut.” ― Maggie Nelson
“Jess Arndt has crafted a queer uncanny, an eerily recognizable landscape of dark magic and darker humor where the instability of bodies, desire, relationships, and the self take on a supernatural dimension. A tremendously exciting collection.” – Michelle Tea
Imprint: Cipher Press
Publication Date: 6 August 2020