by Ella Baxter
… most nights I find myself trying to combine with someone else to become this two-headed thing with flailing limbs, chomping teeth, and tangled hair. This new animal. I am medicated by another body. Drunk on warm skin. Dumbly high on the damp friction between them and me.
It’s not easy getting close to people. Amelia’s meeting a lot of men but once she gets the sex she wants from them, that’s it for her; she can’t connect further. A terrible thing happened to Daniel last year and it’s stuck inside Amelia ever since, making her stuck too.
Maybe being a cosmetician at her family’s mortuary business isn’t the best job for a young woman. It’s not helping her social life. She loves her job, but she’s not great at much else. Especially emotion.
And then something happens to her mum and suddenly Amelia’s got too many feelings and the only thing that makes any sense to her is running away.
It takes the intervention of her two fathers and some hilariously wrong encounters with other broken people in a struggling Tasmanian BDSM club to help her accept the truth she has been hiding from. And in a final, cataclysmic scene, we learn along with Amelia that you need to feel another person’s weight before you can feel your own.
Deadpan, wise and heartbreakingly funny, New Animal is a stunning debut.