New Animal - Ella Baxter - Keeping Up With The Penguins
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New Animal is a rare beast, a thoroughly-devourable debut novel from Ella Baxter.

“Raw” is an over-used word for honest and forthright stories about sex and death, but that’s exactly what this book is: it’s the steak tartare of literature. Perhaps that means it’s not for everyone, but everyone should at least try it, right? My dear friends at Allen & Unwin were kind enough to send me a copy for review.

Amelia is the cosmetician in her modern family’s funeral parlour, “well known in this town full of retirees and clumsy tradespeople” (ha!).

She also likes to de-stress from her days of dressing corpses with the company of young men (ahem).

She’s an expert compartmentaliser, but even she struggles to keep her emotions in order when the grim reaper comes too close to home.

Baxter could have easily veered into the smutty or the maudlin (or both!) with such a story, but she balances her unique brand of dark comedy with expertise that belies her early career status.

I loved, loved, loved this book and snort-laughed all the way through.