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.
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