Vintage Books Canada, Paperback, 9780307357908, 375pp.
Publication Date: July 26, 2011
In her highly anticipated new novel, Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated author Alissa York creates a contemporary human fable that taps into the great tenderness and drama at the heart of the animal world.
The wide ravine that bisects the city is home to countless species of urban wildlife, including human waifs and strays. When Edal Jones can't cope with the casual cruelty she encounters in her job as a federal wildlife officer, she finds herself drawn to a beacon of solace nestled in the valley under the unlikely banner of an auto-wrecker's yard. Guy Howell, the handsome proprietor, offers sanctuary to animals and people alike: a half-starved hawk and a brood of orphaned raccoon kits, a young soldier whose spirit failed him during his first tour of duty, a teenage runaway and her massive black dog. Guy is well versed in the delicate workings of damaged beings, and he might just stand a chance at mending Edal's heart.
But before love can bloom, the little community must come to terms with a different breed of lost soul - a young man whose brutal backwoods childhood is catching up with him, causing him to persecute the creatures that call the valley home.
“Rich and strange and deeply satisfying. Whether she’s adopting the voice of a homeless teen, a yuppy vet, or a famished coyote, York writes with a spare, unsentimental fluency that connects strangers, enemies, species. Fauna reminds us of the life that swoops and slithers and lopes and pounces all around us, even in the most urban of worlds; a wild life we share and ignore at our peril.” —Annabel Lyon, author of The Golden Mean
“Fauna is the sort of rare novel that can change the way you see your world. Its cast of misfits and dreamers is united by their visceral connection to the forgotten animals surviving in the green patches of our big cities. This book is beautiful, unusual and memorable. And Alissa York is a daring and original talent.” —Jim Lynch, author of Border Songs
“Layered with astonishing detail, with every location vividly evoked and every action a visceral experience.”
— The Globe and Mail
“One of the novel’s strengths is the way York turns her gaze from the human world to the world of Toronto’s skunks, coyotes, raccoons and squirrels. . . . Even as she brings animals to life with her writing, she is clear about the terrible toll taken by everything from cars, to skyscraper windows, to live electrical wires.”
— Winnipeg Free Press
“Lyrical. . . . Fauna is well crafted, morally serious and even noble in its sensitivity.”
— Toronto Star
“An extraordinary novel. . . . daring and exceptional.”
— Quill & Quire (starred review)
“A tender and beautiful novel.”
— NOW (Toronto)