In a quaint tourist village, Dorn makes miniature scale models displayed in the local shops. Yet life is far from idyllic; he suffers under the thumb of a rich, philandering younger brother and an unloving father, and cannot find the courage to admit his love to Ravenna, the ungainly schoolteacher.
Life takes a strange turn when the government-sponsored "Wild Home Project" is introduced and wolves, rats, minks, otters, and bears move into villagers' homes. Soon, Dorn receives a mysterious commission, finds a body in a park, and has several run-ins with a former classmate-turned police officer. When fire breaks out, Dorn takes on the unlikely role of hero in the hope of changing the course of his life.
A realist novel with the air of a fairy tale, The Animals is a surprising, funny, and thought-provoking story that explores the nature of relationships faunal and human, and reminds us of the challenges of finding one's place in society . . . and that living with a wolf is not a very good idea.
- Nominated, Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards 2022
“In Fagan’s short and addictive novel, all sorts of animals are being domesticated as pets through something called the Wild Home Animal Project. They represent a sanctioned yet mortal danger that a gullible citizenry is embracing because a bizarre social initiative has slid into being and become the norm. . . At its heart, the novel is a puzzling and lively parable.”—The Literary Review of Canada
“Fagan’s novella distills enchantments from the ordinary while treating the forces that corrupt ordinary life (including religions, governments, and the bored rich) with sardonic incision. Each scene proffers a surprise, strung together to form a sometimes baffling, always delightful whole.” —Foreword Reviews