EXTRACT| I can tell you a lot about sex with a man you’re not ...

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EXTRACT| I can tell you a lot about sex with a man you’re not attracted to

‘Animal’ is Lisa Taddeo’s debut novel, following her acclaimed non-fiction narrative ‘Three Women’

Lisa Taddeo

This is an extract from the first chapter of Animal, Lisa Taddeo’s debut novel. Her first book, Three Women, was met with critical acclaim. Animal is a depiction of female rage at its rawest, and a visceral exploration of the fallout from a male-dominated society:

I drove myself out of New York City where a man shot himself in front of me. He was a gluttonous man and when his blood came out it looked like the blood of a pig. That’s a cruel thing to think, I know. He did it in a restaurant where I was having dinner with another man, another married man. Do you see how this is going? But I wasn’t always that way. The restaurant was called Piadina. On the exposed brick walls hung photographs of old Italian women rolling gnocchi across their giant floured fingers. I was eating a bowl of tagliatelle Bolognese. The sauce was thick and rust-colored and there was a bright sprig of parsley at the top. I was facing the door when Vic came in. He was wearing a suit, which was usual. I’d seen him only once in casual clothes, a T-shirt and jeans, and it disturbed me very much. I’m sure he could tell. His arms were pale and soft and I couldn’t stop looking at them. He was never Victor. He was always Vic. He was my boss, and for a long time before anything happened, I looked up to him.

He was very intelligent and clean and had a warm face. He ate and drank voraciously but there was a dignity to his excess. He was generous, scooping creamed spinach onto everyone else’s plate before his own. He had a great vocabulary and a neat comb over and an extensive collection of fine hats. He had two children, a girl and a boy; the boy was mentally challenged, and Vic somewhat kept this from me and the other people beneath him. He had only a picture of the daughter on his desk. Vic took me to hundreds of restaurants. We ate porterhouse at big clubby steakhouses with red banquettes, and the waiters flirted with me. They either assumed he was my father or my older husband or they figured I was a mistress. We were, somehow, all of the above. His actual wife was at home in Red Bank...

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