The Whole Animal

Corinna Chong

Arsenal Pulp Press

The Whole Animal

Corinna Chong

Arsenal Pulp Press

A refreshingly original debut collection of short stories that grapple with the self-alienation and self-discovery that make us human.

For fans of Souvankham Thammavongsa, Lynn Coady, and Lisa Moore comes a striking debut collection of short stories that explore bodies both human and animal: our fascination with their strange effluences, growths, and protrusions, and the dangerous ways we play with their power to inflict harm on ourselves and on others.

Throughout The Whole Animal, flawed characters wrestle with the complexities of relationships with partners, parents, children, and friends as they struggle to find identity, belonging, and autonomy. Bodies are divided, often elusive, even grotesque. In “Porcelain Legs,” a pre-teen fixes on the long, thick hair growing from her mother’s eyelid. In “Wolf-Boy Saturday,” a linguist grasps for connection with a young boy whose negligent upbringing has left him unable to speak. In “Butter Buns,” a college student sees his mother in a new light when she takes up bodybuilding.

With strange juxtapositions, beguiling dark humour, and lurid imagery, The Whole Animal illuminates the everyday experiences of loneliness and loss, of self-alienation and self-discovery, that make us human.

photo of Corinna Chong
Corinna Chong’s first novel, Belinda’s Rings, was published by NeWest Press in 2013, and her reviews and short fiction have appeared in magazines across Canada. She won the 2021 CBC Short Story Prize for “Kids in Kindergarten.” The Whole Animal, a collection of short stories, published in spring 2023 with Arsenal Pulp Press.

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