With gorgeous prose and raw emotions bleeding across pages, Ella Baxter's debut New Animal is a portrait of grief and death unlike any you've read. Amelia Aurelia is lost. She loves her work as a cosmetic mortician but she can only find peace when screwing her brains out with random hook-ups. When she abruptly loses her mother, she becomes unmoored and avoids the funeral by leaving town. While staying with her birth-father, a man she barely knows, she dives deep into the local BDSM community where she seeks to find her footing. Baxter's writing is exquisite and this book surprised me over and over.— Rachel Watkins
“Just when you think you’ve got the story, Ella Baxter dives deeper. New Animal is a dark, humorous take on grief and connection, centered on a cosmetic mortician and her eccentric family. A ‘grab more wine and keep reading’ kind of book.”
— Kathy Baum, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO
* 2022 Republic of Consciousness Prize, Longlist.
* ABA "Indie Next List" pick for March 2022.
* 2022 Best Young Australian Novelists awards, Winner.
* Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction, Shortlist.
* "A Best Book of 2022" --Glamour, NYLON, Glamour, Refinery29 UK, Harpers BAZAAR UK
* "A Most Anticipated Book" --Lit Hub, The Millions
New Animal is a poignant, darkly comedic look at human connection from a biting and original new voice in Ella Baxter.
Amelia Aurelia is approaching thirty and her closest relationships -- other than her mother -- are through her dating apps. She works at the family mortuary business as a cosmetic mortician with her eccentric step-father and older brother, whose throuple's current preoccupation is with what type of snake to adopt. When Amelia's affectionate mother passes away without warning, she is left without anchor. Fleeing the funeral, she seeks solace with her birth-father in Tasmania and stumbles into the local BDSM community, where her riotous attempts to belong are met with confusion, shock, and empathy.
Hilarious and heartfelt, New Animal reveals hard-won truths as Amelia struggles to find her place in the world without her mother, with the help of her two well-intentioned fathers and adventures at the kink club.