"At once sure-footed, almost existentially gripping, and raucously, violently unexpected." – Vogue
"Enrapturing." – Vulture
"Haunting" – Southern Living
"Stay and dwell on each sentence." – Outside Magazine
"Written...so provocatively and viscerally." – NYLON
"I'm pretty damn excited." – Literary Hub
"Denis Johnson's flamboyant lyricism...Cormac McCarthy's implacable vision."
– Jim Shepard, Story Prize winning author of Like You'd Understand Anyway
"With the demon eye of Cormac McCarthy but a fierce heart all her own."
–Julia Glass, National Book Award winning author of Three Junes
"As phantasmagoric as McCarthy and as pitiless as Jim Thompson. A rare treat."
– Joshua Ferris, PEN/ Hemingway winning author of Then We Came to the End
Wyatt Smith is 23 years old, with one eye, a twin sister, and a ranch where the body of their father is hidden...
Ever since their father's untimely death five years before, Wyatt Smith and his inseparably close twin sister, Lucy, have scraped by alone on their family's isolated ranch in Box Elder County, Utah. That is until one morning when, just after spotting one of their bulls lying dead in the field, Smith is hit in the arm by a hail of gunfire that takes four more cattle with it. The shooter: a fever-eyed, fearsome girl-child with a TEC-9 in her left hand and a shotgun in her right. They hold the girl captive, but she breaks loose overnight and heads south into the desert. With the dawning realization that the loss of cattle will mean the certain loss of the ranch, Smith feels he has no choice but to go after her and somehow find restitution for what's been lost.
His decision sets him on an epic twelve-day odyssey through a nightmarish underworld he only half understands; a world that pitches him not only against the primordial ways of men and the beautiful yet brutally unforgiving landscape, but also against himself. As he winds his way down from the mountains of Box Elder to the mesas of Monument Valley and back, Smith is forced to look for the first time at who he is and what he’s capable of, and how those hard truths set him irrevocably apart from the one person he’s ever really known and loved. Steeped in a mythic, wildly alive language of its own, and gripping from the first gunshot to the last, Rough Animals is a tour de force from a powerful new voice.
5 JUNE 2018