Praise for A Loving, Faithful Animal
Long-listed for the 2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award
Winner of Australia’s Elizabeth Jolley Prize
One of The Sydney Morning Herald's Best Young Australian Novelists
"A slim beauty . . . I found myself considering those rare things only books can do, feats outside the purview of film or fine art . . . A work of such well-defined characters, each so carefully drawn as to breathe, and a work so full of stark emotional moments . . . Gorgeous, precise language encourages inner storms . . . Like the best of Breece D'J Pancake or W. G. Sebald, Rowe plants small moments from history as a soldier might bury landmines."
Samantha Hunt, The New York Times Book Review
"Revelatory . . . Rowe's shape shifting, capturing the nuances of different nationalities effortlessly, is almost as remarkable as the precise, delicate, and frequently witty prose . . . Pitch-perfect examinations of place and psyche from a writer to watch closely." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Rowe’s richly interiorized characterizations and muscular prose, of the condensed and economic variety that manages to say a lot with a little, herald her exciting U.S. entrée."
“Balancing poetic language with unsentimental observation, [Rowe] brings a fierce, inventive vision to her themes of family, legacy, and survival.”
“A heartbreaking and memorable hero . . . A rich, kaleidoscopic depiction of inherited trauma in stunning prose.”
"Stunning, gorgeously written . . . While the presence of pain never leaves this story, the beauty and compassion with which it's told, the deep understanding of the fierce love and shared toxicity that bind families together, makes the pain bearable, makes it important to bear witness to this tragic, gorgeously wrought story."
Kristin Iverson, NYLON
The Millions, One of the Most Anticipated Books of the Month
“[A] devastating piece of literature crafted by an exceptionally talented writer who tears the lives of her characters asunder and then charts their path back together . . . Rowe is, and this can’t be said enough, a remarkable writer. Her prose is a mixture of Denis Johnson’s tough guy prattle and the deft, character painting of Stephen King . . . Her skill at description and setting is merely the gift-wrapping for a book that quietly, yet savagely, paints a picture of what it’s like to survive, and what it takes to continue doing so.” The East Bay Review
“Contemplative and thrilling.”
"One of the smarter, most lyrically written stories you’ll read about a fracturing family."
“With poetic prose, Josephine Rowe creates a memorable cast of characters.”
World Literature Today
“A Loving, Faithful Animal lured me in with astonishing, poetic prose, and a glimpse of an Australia I don’t always see in fiction. But the true thrill of the novel is the carousel of haunting characters Josephine Rowe creates with unbelievable precision. An unflinching look at the ways we fail the people we love, at the cruelty of family, its toxicity, and beauty. The book is a deep, multifaceted portrait of the inheritance of damage, one that left me aching and inspired.”
Stephanie Danler, New York Times bestselling author of Sweetbitter
"A Loving, Faithful Animal is a subtle and haunting meditation on childhood, escape, the bonds and the limits of family, and the long reach of trauma. Rowe is a serious talent, and her debut novel is both gorgeous and stunning."
Emily St. John Mandel, National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author of Station Eleven
"A slim novel packed with delicious prose, easy to lose yourself in and hard to leave behind."
Amelia Gray, author of Threats and Isadora
"Josephine Rowe writes like someone who, having been quiet a long time, has thought carefully and viciously about what must be said. In this flinty debut, Rowe fashions a string of refractory surfacesthe family members of a veteranto remind us just how far, into love and time, the atrocity of war will reach."
Kathleen Alcott, author of Infinite Home
“Rowe’s language is trance-inducing. Do right by yourself, nest down and prepare to be swept away by these characters, their respective dilapidations, in this mesmerizing, incandescent novel. Masterful.”
Brendan Jones, author of The Alaskan Laundry
“Deft, lyrical, and deeply moving.”
Wayne Macauley, author of The Cook
“A compelling and singular emotional experience . . . Haunting . . . Rowe makes it clear from the first paragraph of this clenched, resolute study of family damage that sentiment has no place here. She will reveal something harder and truer.”
Kate Holden, Australian Book Review
“Rowe's much-anticipated debut novel dives into the heart of a family attempting to salvage themselves from the scars of the past. Brutal and tender, this is a dark domestic drama battling with the wreckage of the Vietnam War.”
Robert Bound, Monocle magazine
Characters in the throes of grief navigate their displacement in this collection of stories.
Taking readers from a small flat in Montreal to the vast dusty spaces of Western Australia, these 10 stories feature characters who are émigrés or travelers, a hybrid, in-between state that mirrors their inner states. In "Sinkers," a young man returns to his mother's Australian hometown to spread her ashes, though the town is completely underwater. In another story, a young Frenchwoman whose husband is killed near the Syria-Turkey border starts over in an American city and forms a melancholy relationship with a neighbor's dog ("Chavez"). For two Australian women, married to each other just 13 days, an American hotel room on a road trip is the site of an argument over which of them should become pregnant in their quest to start a family ("Anything Remarkable"). Even characters grounded in nameless suburbia, like the wife who can no longer hide her revulsion for the much-watched pornographic tape she and her husband made as newlyweds ("Post-structuralism for Beginners"), are facing down a sense of becoming unmoored, caught between where they thought they belonged and an unknowable future. Rowe (A Loving, Faithful Animal, 2017) is a writer of great subtlety, and what could, in lesser hands, be quiet stories from familiar emotional landscapes become revelatory here. Rowe's shape shifting, capturing the nuances of different nationalities effortlessly, is almost as remarkable as the precise, delicate, and frequently witty prose. As one character says of a pond that has drained away with only its frozen surface remaining: "It is magic in the sense that there is no metaphor you can build out of it that will not undermine its magic." So, too, with Rowe's work.
Pitch-perfect examinations of place and psyche from a writer to watch closely.