Deb Olin Unferth
One disaffected administrator, one disenchanted teenager, four hundred and twenty-one vegan extremists, sixty trucks, and nine hundred thousand grumpy layer hens awaiting liberation. In barns. Six barns. No, wait, seven. No, wait …
Two auditors for the US egg industry conceive a plot to liberate an entire egg farm’s worth of animals, with catastrophic results. This wildly inventive but utterly plausible novel about a heist of a very unusual kind swirls with a rich array of voices: a farmer’s daughter, hundreds of activists, a forest ranger who stumbles upon forty thousand hens, and a security guard abandoned for years on a farm. We glimpse the evolution of chickens twenty thousand years from now. We hear what hens think happens when they die.
And at the heart of this more-than-plucky novel lies the question: what constitutes meaningful action in a world so in need of change? With towering ingenuity, eviscerating wit, and unflappable passion, Barn 8 is a true rare breed, a comic-political drama, and a tour de force for our time.
'Barn 8 is a novel like no other: An urgent moral fantasia, a post-human parable, a tender portrait of animal dignity and genius.' Dana Spiotta ---- 'Deb Olin Unferth's hilarious genius is on dazzling display in this novel. Come for the brilliant insights about our faltering civilization. Stay for the revolutionaries and the chickens. You are really really going to love these chickens . . .' Jenny Offill ---- 'Like Flannery O'Connor, Deb Olin Unferth does things entirely her own way, and that way is impossible to describe. . . . This very funny and absurd novel is also as serious as the world.' Zachary Lazar ---- 'I leap to read anything Deb Olin Unferth writes, and her latest book, Barn 8, is further proof of her singular talent, her gigantic heart. While Unferth's characters try to save hens, her miracle of a novel might, in turn, save you.' R.O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries ----Praise for Wait Till you See me Dance ----'This assemblage of down-and-out moments is delivered with a wit and concision reminiscent of Lydia Davis and Diane Williams, a wry intelligence and keen irony that don't prevent Unferth's prose from offering deep emotional intimacy. . . . Unferth's book is rich with surprises, small and large. . . . Again and again in these pages, Unferth swerves from the mundane to the extraordinary, from biting to soaringly celebratory, often in a single sentence.' The New York Times Book Review ----'One of the most important voices in fiction's long-awaited collection of short fiction is a fascinating must-read.' Newsweek---- '[Unferth's] absurd and tender story collection is full of sentences like clear glass doors, and you, reader, are the bird. . . . The way she writes [her characters] is reminiscent of the unsentimental, often absurd, compassion of George Saunders. . . . The multiplicity of feeling is wonderful; it's like she's swirling all these different colors of paint together but stops while it's all still just thinly marbled together.' NPR ---- 'No one can resist Unferth's masterful distortion of the American dream with a set of unforgettable mistake-makers who aren't quite past redemption.' Courtney Maum, CNN Travel
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