“Osborne is a startlingly good observer of privilege, noting the rites and rituals of the upper classes with unerring precision and an undercurrent of malice … Osborne takes his time baiting and setting his trap, and one of the pleasures of the novel is its unpredictability … The novel takes on the tone of an existential noir, evoking writers like Jean-Patrick Manchette and Georges Simenon. Yet even as the narrative accelerates, the novel retains its sense of languor and style … Beautiful Animals is unlikely to radically alter your understanding of the refugee crisis. But it may make you question the nature of your engagement with that issue and the world beyond … Like The Great Gatsby, Beautiful Animals concludes with a rowboat on the sea and an image of light in the distance. But Osborne crafts a rebuttal of the green light that symbolizes Gatsby’s dream: ‘They were like shooting stars, flaring up for a brilliant moment, lighting up the sky even for a few lingering seconds, then disappearing forever.’ A world without the organizing principle of an ideal is a harder, bleaker one to inhabit. It’s a world without promises, and Osborne is one of its most dedicated chroniclers.”
Watch: Katie Kitamura discusses inverting the classic trope of the dead or disappeared woman, paying tribute to life’s lack of tidy resolution, and her focus on female consciousness in her most recent novel A Separation.