BookBrowse Reviews Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett

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Unlikely Animals

A Novel

by Annie Hartnett

Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett X
Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Apr 2022, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Erin Lyndal Martin
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A lively novel set in an idiosyncratic New Hampshire town about a colorful family whose patriarch, Clive Starling, is having animal-related hallucinations as he nears death.

Though Everton, New Hampshire, the town in Annie Hartnett's Unlikely Animals, is fictional, it becomes real through historical research, current events and masterfully drawn characters. This combination makes for a quirky small town like those of TV shows Northern Exposure and Gilmore Girls. The multiple plotlines — Hartnett says in the afterword that she combined several works in progress to write the book — converge thanks to the strength of the characters.

The novel is narrated by the collective residents of Maple Street Cemetery, whose opinionated and witty voices deliver a delightful omniscient perspective. The primary focus, though, is on the living members of the Starling family. Daughter Emma is in her early 20s and returning home to be with her dying, delusional father Clive. She also has a secret — she's not in medical school as her parents thought. She ...

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