Centered in Rome but transporting us into worlds as varied and alluring as they are emotionally real, Francesca Marciano’s stories paint landscapes that are populated—vividly, hauntingly—by animals: from violent seagulls and starlings circling the evening sky in exhilarating formation to magical snakes and a tiny dog on the side of a deserted road.
In unforgettable, cinematic frames, events unfold, especially in the lives of women. An affair ends painfully at a dinner table, an actress’s past comes crashing down on her during an audition, an unhappy wife seeks respite in a historic palazzo sublet. Two starkly different couples imagine parenthood during a Greek island holiday, and a young girl returns from rehab, deciding to set out anew with a traveling circus. A man in crisis draws his ex-lover deep into the New Mexico desert.
With spellbinding clarity, the six masterly stories in Animal Spirit inhabit the minds and hearts of Marciano’s characters. They chronicle deeply human moments of realization and recognition, indelible instants of irrevocable change—epiphanies sometimes sparked by our connection with animals and the primal power they show us.
“These moody, elegant stories took my breath away. Francesca Marciano lures her reader so“ effortlessly from dazzling cosmopolitan worlds into the jungles of instinct, rage, and desire within each of us. Animal Spirit is as unsettling as it is impossible to resist.”
―Mia Alvar, author of In the Country
Francesca Marciano is the author of the novels Rules of the Wild, Casa Rossa, and The End of Manners, and the story collection The Other Language. She lives in Rome.