Kick the Animal Out, By Veronique Ovalde trs Adriana Hunter

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The Independent Culture

This is the atmospheric story of a "lovely, wasted mother" called Rose, narrated by her 15-year-old daughter, called Rose. Despite sharing a name, there is much that they do not have in common. For example, the daughter is intoxicated by the mother's beauty while feeling herself awkward and fat. There is an emotional gulf, too: Rose watches her mother watch the television screen with a dead face and lost eyes.

One day, teenage Rose, wrapped in a black silk vampire cape with a fuchsia- pink lining, jumps from a high window. On her return from hospital she is informed by her mother's partner, Mr Loyal, that her mother has vanished.

"Can you imagine?" is a phrase her mother would often repeat, before her disappearance. Imagination does indeed play a major role in this teenager's life, as she begins to suspect Mr Loyal of treachery and "an intimate relationship with secrecy", inventing all sorts of horrors. She begins to investigate her mother's disappearance, to "harvest, collate and adjust" stories. In the lucid prose of a fresh, original voice, this fine novel unravels the tangle of facts and fiction that make us.

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