Unlikely Animals

the book Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett on a white background

Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett

I would describe this as a dark comedy with a sprinkle of magical realism.  I love a sad or dark book that is ‘chuckle-out-loud’ funny.  I mean, who doesn’t love a book that hits you in all the feels? 

On the surface, this is a story about Emma Starling.  Born with the power to heal, she has since lost the power and must return home to her ailing father, knowing she no longer has the power to heal him.

While the book seems to be about Emma, everything is also focused very much on her dad, Clive.  His disease is affecting his brain and he has begun imagining animals that aren’t really there.  

Add in a missing person, a ghost of real-life naturalist Dr. Earnest Harold Baynes, and narration from the local cemetery, and you end up with this quirky, dark, funny, and delightful book about family, friendships, love, and loss.

I started this book in audio, but after reading a comment in my online book club about it, I realized that I was missing a cool part of the book in which the author included pictures along with excerpts from Dr. Baynes’s books. 

a page from Unlikely Animals, showing a picture of Ernest Harold Baynes and a bear cub, along with an excerpt from his book.

The audio was great though, so I would recommend listening while also flipping through the book so you can enjoy the pictures.  Also, there is a map of the town at the beginning of the book that added to my understanding of this quirky town. I chuckled just looking at the map.

If you pick this one up, please let me know in comments what you thought of it.

Happy Reading,


Get your copy HERE.

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