Hybrid twins: one human, one horse. A man pregnant with a kangaroo, a woman raising a baby dragon. A twenty-first century Virgin Mary reimagined as a queer single mother giving birth in a petting zoo. In this collaborative short story collection, Carol Guess and Kelly Magee magically and playfully subvert assumptions about gender, sexuality, parenting, and family. These lyrical fictions bare teeth and spare no claw. They’ll leave you questioning the lines between human and animal, parent and child, love and dominion.
Enter into the unexpected—human progeny not as Homo sapiens but as a dragon, a school of fish, a foal, a clutch of rattlesnakes, a spider. The mothers wrestle with the surprise births of furred, finned and winged offspring, and then worry: how will my baby fit in at school? what happens when she literally leaves the nest? Part parenting manual, part cautionary tale, Guess and Magee provide a smorgasbord of genetic tales and travails. Each piece takes you into startling worlds of brilliant imaginations set loose.
—Sara Greenslit, DVM, author of As If a Bird Flew By Me
Wondrous and wonderful; a virtual feast of imagination, humor, and heart. The rare example of a short story collection that grows and builds upon itself til it becomes a ladder to something somewhere else.
—Ben Loory, author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day
In allusive and poetic prose, Carol Guess and Kelly Magee take their readers into a world where human parents give birth to animal babies. Yet the underlying concern of With Animal is wholly human: how do we come to love, and how do we know when to hold on to it or let it go? These crystalline narratives explore ideas of instinct, caregiving, desire, and need, boldly facing the darkest secrets of parenthood as well as the greatest joys—and unearthing the complex moment when the two meet.
—Kristiana Kahakauwila, author of This is Paradise