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Barn 8: Book summary and reviews of Barn 8 by Deb Olin Unferth

Barn 8

by Deb Olin Unferth

Barn 8 by Deb Olin Unferth X
Barn 8 by Deb Olin Unferth
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2020
    256 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

An unforgettably exuberant and potent novel by a writer at the height of her powers.

Two auditors for the U.S. egg industry go rogue and conceive a plot to steal a million chickens in the middle of the night―an entire egg farm's worth of animals. Janey and Cleveland―a spirited former runaway and the officious head of audits―assemble a precarious, quarrelsome team and descend on the farm on a dark spring evening. A series of catastrophes ensues.

Deb Olin Unferth's wildly inventive novel is a heist story of a very unusual sort. Swirling with a rich array of voices, Barn 8 takes readers into the minds of these renegades: a farmer's daughter, a former director of undercover investigations, hundreds of activists, a forest ranger who suddenly comes upon forty thousand hens, and a security guard who is left on an empty farm for years. There are glimpses twenty thousand years into the future to see what chickens might evolve into on our contaminated planet. We hear what hens think happens when they die. In the end the cracked hearts of these indelible characters, their earnest efforts to heal themselves, and their radical actions will lead them to ruin or revelation.

Funny, whimsical, philosophical, and heartbreaking, Barn 8 ultimately asks: What constitutes meaningful action in a world so in need of change? Unferth comes at this question with striking ingenuity, razor-sharp wit, and ferocious passion. Barn 8 is a rare comic-political drama, a tour de force for our time.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"While this kind of politically charged rhetoric could risk coming off as pedantic, Unferth's writing never feels patronizing—more than anything, it's galvanizing, especially these days when 'activism [is] less revolution, more capitalism with a conscience.' If this novel isn't a movement, it has enough heart to start one." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Unferth recalls Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang with a dose of vegan-minded quirk. This entertaining, satisfying genre turn shows off Unferth's range, and readers will be delighted by the characters' earnest crusade." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Unferth sharply illuminates the contrariness of human nature, celebrates the evolutionary marvels of chickens, and exposes the horrors of the egg industry...[A] vividly provoking and revelatory work of ecofiction spiked with mordant humor and powered by love." - Booklist (starred review)

"Barn 8 is a novel like no other: An urgent moral fantasia, a post-human parable, a tender portrait of animal dignity and genius." - Dana Spiotta

"Deb Unferth's hilarious, off-kilter genius is on dazzling display in this novel. Come for the brilliant insights about our faltering civilization. Stay for the revolutionaries and the chickens. You are really really going to love these chickens ..." - Jenny Offill

"Like Flannery O'Connor, Deb Olin Unferth does things entirely her own way, and that way is impossible to describe...This very funny and absurd novel is also as serious as the world." - Zachary Lazar

"I leap to read anything Deb Olin Unferth writes, and her latest book, Barn 8, is further proof of her singular talent, her gigantic heart. While Unferth's characters try to save hens, her miracle of a novel might, in turn, save you." - R.O. Kwon

The information about Barn 8 shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Deb Olin Unferth

Deb Olin Unferth is the author of six books. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and three Pushcart Prizes, and was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. Her work has appeared in Granta, Harper's Magazine, McSweeney's, and The Paris Review.

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