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Long-listed for the 2016 Edge Hill Short Story Prize
Songs of the drowned and a dog with wings…
“The world was a grey place once, concrete grey and striped with grey; clay against stone. The pigeons stretched out their scrawny lives and lived as creatures must. Yet they were not hateful birds. They wore their poverty like overcoats; they sat upon the highest places and drizzled the whole world with their compassion. Their souls were dignified as tarnished spoons; pigeons bore witness to the sadness and the tearing of the wind.”
By turns tender and unsettling, this book lurks at the tattered edges of the world, where Satan’s daughter wants to die of love and a woman is paralysed with fear in the 24-hours Tesco. There are jokes here too, and you cannot trust the ground beneath your feet. The angels keep stealing God’s fags and the dog is hauled up before a kangaroo court.
Fates of The Animals is a book for those who remember fairytales and the TV Test-card; those who like to feel a little uneasy; those who sometimes lie awake in the night.
‘Tarrant’s book of stories claps in blacked rooms, has a smile as wide as the Ripper’s blade, prowls in midnight back alleys until the threadbare structure of the world’s bones has some meat. It’s not jaded, it has wonder, she would stop to gain knowledge of leaves ballet dancing down in a purple sky, and that’s a rarity nowadays in this cynical world of austerity and celebrity. They could even be read to children as bedtime stories, and that is the greatest compliment I think I could give.’ —Grant Tarbard, Ink, Sweat and Tears
‘The Knife Drawer by Padrika Tarrant: Man Booker juries like small publishers and début novelists, so how about this as the wild card? Tarrant is the author of a collection of (very short) short stories, Broken Things, which demonstrated her sensitivity, originality and keen sense of the darkness of life. All elements to the fore in this creepy, gothic first novel about a house and its mice.’ —Suzi Feay, WeLoveThisBook.com
‘Even after close reading I am a little unsure whether this is just an excellent, slightly warped, highly imaginative work of art or if there is some bigger philosophical message that Tarrant is trying to convey, perhaps a metaphor for family life and modern times. It is also a fantastic analogy of organised religion. What I am convinced of is that it is a work of a wholly original mind. I have certainly never read anything remotely like it and fully expect never to read anything like it again. I would urge you (yes urge you!) to read it for yourself.’ —Julia Webb, Peony Moon
‘This book takes you by the hand and guides you through the world of the psychotic mind. At times the journey is harrowing and painful, yet also strangely beautiful. The writing is powerful, with strong imagery. I felt every emotion as I worked my way through each short story. Although the stories were horrifying they left me with a sense of empathy as I began to understand how difficult life must be for someone whose mind is disturbed. It's an extraodinary book to read. I look forward to reading more by Padrika Tarrant.’ —Pam McIlroy, Pamreader
‘Let us celebrate a birth. In her new novel The Knife Drawer Padrika Tarrant has breathed life into the love child of Angela Carter and David Lynch. Standing godparent at the font are Marina Warner and Beatrix Potter, though neither seems to be very interested in casting out the devil. In Tarrant’s idiosyncratic, claustrophobic universe, the moral high ground is visible only to mice.’ —Sarah Bower, Ink, Sweat and Tears