The first collection of stories from the author of Real Life, shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize and winner of the Foyles Fiction Book Of The Year
In the series of linked stories at the heart of Filthy Animals, a young man tentatively engages with the world again. Recently discharged from hospital, Lionel meets two dance students at a party. Charles and Sophie’s relationship is difficult to read but Lionel is drawn to them both. As he navigates their sexually fraught encounters he is forced to weigh his vulnerabilities against his loneliness – and to consider his return to life. Elsewhere, a little girl runs wild to the consternation of her childminder; unspoken frictions among a group of teenagers come to a vicious head on a winter night; and a woman dreads a first date only to find that something has cracked open.
What connects these stories is the tension between the surface of things and the intensity of our inner worlds. With exquisite empathy, Brandon Taylor shows that though violence hovers at the edge of many encounters, so too does tenderness and love.
Advance praise for Filthy Animals:
‘In these stories Brandon Taylor shows himself to be a formidable anatomist of the charged moment. The violence is unexpected, the sex complicated, the psychology acute. What I love most of all is the way he can capture the enormous distance between people standing a hair’s breadth apart.’ – Chris Power, author of A Lonely Man
‘Brandon Taylor is a phenomenon – prolific yet careful and masterly, with great authority over his characters’ individual talents, careers and fields of study. He writes with great consistency of voice and patient interest in each of his characters, all of whom, even minor ones, are distinguished by small, perfectly chosen details that stand for the whole. Taylor is the laureate of young, expensively educated people managing expectations, pleasuring and harming themselves and each other.’ – Paul Mendez, author of Rainbow Milk
‘A dazzling showcase for Brandon Taylor’s formidable talents – his fierce intellect, his emotional and linguistic precision, his dry and unflinching humor. He is a writer of rare daring, his fiction a series of revelations.’ – Katie Kitamura, author of A Separation
‘A writer who meets life with a rare combination of will, wonderment, temperament, and vitality.’ – Yiyun Li, author of Must I Go
‘Superb work by a writer of extraordinary psychological insight.’ – Joseph O’Neill, author of Netherland
Praise for Brandon Taylor and Real Life
‘An essential novel from a truly exciting new writer.’ – Irish Times
‘Psychologically compelling, incisively satirical . . . a brilliant book.’ – Observer
‘A truly exquisite story that is both intimate and expansive . . . piercingly beautiful.’ – TLS
‘Taylor is a masterful observer . . . exquisitely precise.’ – Telegraph
‘A sharp, witty and generous writer.’ – Literary Review