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The Book Room

Her Body Among Animals

Paola Ferrante’s debut short story collection is aptly being published just after the world’s hottest summer on record. An undercurrent of eco-anxiety ties the stories in Her Body Among Animals (Book*hug) together, sitting alongside critiques of patriarchal violence and society’s impossible expectations for mothers. Ferrante’s versatile voice lends a unique mood to each story; her writing is detached yet vulnerable when it takes the perspective of a character who transforms into a spider, then becomes terrified and naive in the narrative of a teenage boy who’s fallen in with a violent crowd. While her characters are often obsessed with science and animals — “Mermaid Girls” features astronomy-loving sisters while “So What if It’s Supposed to Rain” shows a mother fixated on finding and photographing the last remaining bugs in a world on fire — Ferrante avoids cringeworthy, one-dimensional “STEMinist” tropes, instead ...

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