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Publisher's Summary

Out on the road, no one speaks, everything talks.

Hard-drinking, foul-mouthed and allergic to bullshit, Jean is not your usual grandma. She’s never been good at getting on with other humans, apart from her beloved granddaughter, Kimberly. Instead, she surrounds herself with animals, working as a guide in an outback wildlife park. And although Jean talks to all her charges, she has a particular soft spot for a young dingo called Sue.

As disturbing news arrives of a pandemic sweeping the country, Jean realises this is no ordinary flu: its chief symptom is that its victims begin to understand the language of animals — first mammals, then birds and insects, too. As the flu progresses, the unstoppable voices become overwhelming and many people begin to lose their minds, including Jean’s infected son, Lee. When he takes off with Kimberly, heading south, Jean feels the pull to follow her kin.

Setting off on their trail, with Sue the dingo riding shotgun, they find themselves in a stark, strange world in which the animal apocalypse has only further isolated people from other species. Bold, exhilarating and wholly original, The Animals in That Country asks what would happen, for better or worse, if we finally understood what animals were saying.

©2020 Laura Jean McKay (P)2020 W. F. Howes Ltd

Critic Reviews

"A game-changing, life-changing novel." (Ceridwen Dovey)

"Deliriously strange, blackly hilarious, and completely exhilarating." (James Bradley)

"Engrossing, subversive, and surprisingly profound." (J.P. Pomare)

What listeners say about The Animals in That Country

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A fabulous book and the best narration

I really love this book - I have sent it to family members to share the love! I had read it but still purchased the audiobook for a long road trip. Having the author narrate added an extra dimension of enjoyment, and I didn't want it to end. Great characters throughout, and a truly original story - an Australian classic in the making

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It's a YASSSS from me.

I really enjoyed this story and was rooting for Jean's character so damn much. Jean is familiar, complicated and in so many people that I love. Hearing authors narrate their own stories always gets me excited and hopeful, and I genuinely enjoyed listening to Laura Jean McKay. I was fascinated in the way all senses were used to really understand the animals through communications. For me, it was so easy to see everything going on in my little brain, it could easily translate to a screen. Cannot wait to see what McKay brings us next.

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Interesting concept not fully realised

This is a very interesting idea developed with a poetic sensibility that offers a way to think about inter-species communication. It is let down by a reading performance by the author who would have been well advised to employ a professional for the task. Despite this, it will repay your attention with enough to think about to justify your time.

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Too sad for me

Laura Jean Mckay is a talented writer, who is able to narrate her story very well. Her dialogue and character portrayal is very evocative and I felt as though I could almost remember the park, it was so well created. However, the characters and the animals were distressed and distressing. The main character is a pathetic figure, struggling with alcoholism and loss of relevancy. All of the other characters are similarly sad and mean spirited, with the exception of Kimberly, the granddaughter. I wanted to persevere out of respect for the author but it was just too sad and became even sadder when the animals could be understood.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.