A bold, soupy, and cannily queer collection of stories that confronts what it means to have a body.
Daring, witty, and strange, the twelve stories in Large Animals confront what it means to have a body. Jess Arndt's often-unnamed narrators battle with inhabiting a form that makes them feel both deeply uncomfortable and detached, constantly challenging the limits of gender and reality as they try to connect with other people and with themselves. These are stories that rebel against accepted ideas of human identity and present a new normal that is as ambiguous as it is messy.
In 'Moon Colonies' the narrator's disconnect with their body leads them on a masochistic gambling spree. In 'Jeff', Lily Tomlin mistakes Jess for Jeff, triggering a hilarious and unhinged identity crisis. And in 'Contrails', a character calls each of their ex lovers the night before surgery, confronting a gut-twisting fear of becoming non-existent.
Visceral, and often disconcerting, Large Animals sets a new standard for language, challenging our concepts of gender and body in a way that feels radical, insightful, and incredibly relevant.
Jess Arndt's debut story collection, Large Animals, was short listed for the California Book Prize and long listed for The Story Prize. Their writing has recently appeared in The LA Review of Books, THEM, Lithub, Hazlitt, Fence, BOMB, Night Papers, and in collaborations with Swedish band, The Knife, and their fiction was included in Liberating the Canon: An Anthology of Innovative Literature (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2018). Arndt received an MFA at Bard College and is the recipient of a Graywolf SLS Fellowship, a Fiction Fellowship at the New York Foundation of the Arts, and an Arctic Circle Residency (Fiction). She/they are a co-founder of the prose experiment, New Herring Press, and live in Los Angeles/WA State.