The Dominant Animal

From the publisher:

A collection of innovative and ambitious short stories from a visionary young writer

In The Dominant Animal – Kathryn Scanlan’s adventurous, unsettling debut collection – compression is key. Sentences have been relentlessly trimmed, tuned and teased for maximum impact. A ferocious attention to rhythm and sound results in a palpable pulse of excitability and distress.

In these forty very short stories, the ordinary shifts into the uncanny: in living rooms and in hotel rooms, on suburban lawns and on the surgeon’s chair, characters – human and animal – eat, breathe, provoke and injure one another. Grandmothers sit tethered to the couch in a blue spell, lonesome men crouch among thorny shrubs, pets expire slowly or suddenly, and the nature of love is questioned at a golf course, a flower shop, an all-you-can-eat buffet.

With exquisite control, Scanlan moves from expansive moods and fine afternoons to unease and violence. Disturbances accrue as the collection progresses. No mercy, a character says – and these stories are merciless and strange and absolutely masterful.