'Sharp' - The Guardian
'Excellent' - Glamour
'Darkly funny' - Harper's BAZAAR
'Chaotic' - The Skinny
Amelia is no stranger to sex and death.
Her job as a cosmetic mortician at her family's funeral parlour might be unusual but she's good at it. When it comes to meeting people who are still breathing she uses dating apps. Combining with someone else's body at night Amelia can become something else, at least for a while.
But when a sudden loss severs her ties with someone she loves, Amelia sets off on a seventy-two-hour mission to outrun her grief - skipping out on the funeral, running away to stay with her father in Tasmania and experimenting on the local BDSM scene. There, she learns even more about sex, death, grief and the different ways pain works its way through the body. It'll take a pair of fathers, a bruising encounter wiht a stranger and recognition of her own body's limits to bring Amelia back to herself.
Wise and heartbreakingly funny, Ella Baxter’s New Animal is a stunning debut.
'Self-destructive anti-heroines are in vogue, but what Amelia's story makes clear is how under-represented female sexuality still is.' – The Telegraph, The Four best Debut Novels to Read
'There's a compelling quality to Amelia's honesty that recalls Raven Leilani's Luster or the sex-addicted eponymous narrator of Leïla Slimani's Adele.' - The Irish Times
Baxter’s writing is so forthright, her protagonist so raw and unmediated in her feelings, thoughts and flailing at the “arrowhead of sorrow” that New Animal makes for compelling reading . . . an intense, viscerally affecting book, with the quotient of tenderness to violence in an equal scale.
Sydney Morning Herald
Baxter is fascinated with the female body, which “trots everywhere with you like an indebted lover”, and how it assimilates extreme emotions . . . Self-destructive anti-heroines are in vogue, but what Amelia’s story makes clear is how under-represented female sexuality still is.
'The four best debut novels to read in 2022', Telegraph
There's a compelling quality to [Amelia's] honesty that recalls Raven Leilani's Luster or the sex-addicted eponymous narrator of Leila Slimani's Adele. As with these books, Baxter focuses on the ways in which pain works its way through the body.