"A wildly inventive dystopian adventure...Both a hell of a ride and a revealing thought experiment about our place in the natural world."
–Dan Kois, Slate, The 10 Best Books of 2020
"As we grapple with a worldwide pandemic, Australian author McKay's novel is incredibly timely and feels all the more real for it...filled with humor, optimism, and grace: a wild ride worth taking. An eye-opening glimpse into a world that's turned upside down and eventually becomes its own version of whole."
"Part pandemic novel and part beast fable, McKay's novel, which takes its title from a Margaret Atwood poem, imagines a disease that causes humans to understand animal language, down to the lowliest insect."
"Disturbingly timely, The Animals In That Country chronicles the journey of one no-bullshit woman and her half-wild dingo as they race against a deadly pandemic. Jean is brilliantly crafted–unapologetically rough and yet filled with hidden vulnerability. McKay's tale pulled me in with its entertaining nature then dragged me under with its profound nuance."
–Laura Graveline, bookseller, Brazos Bookstore
"[S]hit!! I'm like 70 pages in and just having the time of my life, everything about it is just chef's kiss for me right now. (Love a good asshole narrator! And the descriptions...She's such a good writer it's blowing my mind)."
–Jacob Rogers, bookseller, McNally Jackson Books
"This is a game-changing, life-changing novel, the kind that comes along right when you need it, and compels you to listen to its terrifying poetry. Compulsively readable and yet also pushing the boundaries of what is possible in terms of language and narrative, this is a brilliant and disturbing book that will make you rethink everything you thought you understood about non-human animal sentience and agency. I don't think any reader can ever forget a voice like Sue the dingo's–wise and obscene in equal measure. A triumph."
–Ceridwen Dovey, author of Only The Animals
"A gritty and innovative wonder about an animal-borne virus (yep) that cracks opens channels between interspecies communication. The result is a raucous fever dream of a road story, evocative of Kenneth Cook, Hunter S. Thompson, and Ceridwen Dovey - but ultimately, McKay defies comparison."
"A timely dystopian novel in which a dangerous flu sweeps across Australia, giving those infected the power to speak with animals, with dark, disturbing results."
–Maxine Beneba Clarke
"Surprising and surprisingly-convincing characters, and a well-realized, inventive premise."
–Kate Evans, ABC News
"[A] compelling and haunting debut...Scattered with dark humor and driven by a compelling plot, The Animals in That Country is an outstanding and timely examination of human morality. It will change the way you view both animals and the world."
–Chloë Cooper, Audrey Magazine
"The genius stroke of The Animals in That Country is the preternatural 'body talk' of its animals...an affecting book, one that gets remarkably close to the unknowable wildness of animal sentience."
–Jack Callil, The Age
"A standout debut novel of 2020...Original, hugely entertaining and superbly crafted, this is one heck of a road-trip novel, whose timing and insights into human behavior in a crisis could not be more prescient."
–Alison Huber, Readings Booksellers
"This is an absorbing and affecting book, and one to which I'm able to pay the highest compliment: that, in the days after finishing it, the world felt different to me, its animals not speaking but not silent either."
–Ben Brooker, Australian Book Review
"Engrossing, subversive, and surprisingly profound, The Animals in That Country does something only the best fiction can do: it has the power to skew the reader's perspective on the world. This story will stay with me for a long time, and its protagonist, Jean Bennett, will be with me even longer."
–J.P. Pomare, author of Call Me Evie
"In this warm, wild, and irreverent debut, Laura Jean McKay takes us into the minds of animals to reveal the complexity of their lives. The Animals in That Country avoids the trap of anthropomorphism, showing instead the absurd, intense, and shifting bonds between humans and animals."
–Mireille Juchau, author of The World Without Us
"Weird, wonderful and strangely moving. I will be thinking about this strange book, about Jean and Sue, for a long long time."
–Eloise Grills, author of Big Beautiful Female Theory
"Deliriously strange, blackly hilarious, and completely exhilarating, The Animals in That Country is a wonderful debut from a genuinely original and exciting new voice."
–James Bradley, author of Clade
"McKay is a master of voice-driven narrative. I never thought a substance-abusing grandmother was just who I needed to take me on an apocalyptic road trip–and that long after I gulped the book down, I'd be haunted by the words of a dingo called Sue."
–Sofija Stefanovic, author of Miss Ex-Yugoslavia
"The beauty of this book is that it never quite goes where the reader expects it to go. McKay zigs when the reader expects her to zag. And the whole builds to a kind of slow-moving climax...The Animals in That Country takes an intriguing premise and absolutely runs with it. While delivering one of the strangest road trips ever, McKay considers the nature of family, the human response to the unknown and our relationship with the animals kingdom, among other things."
–Robert Goodman, The Blurb
"McKay has written a searing dystopian critique of our relationship with the natural world...Through poetic projections of what the animals might say if they could, McKay highlights our limited capacity to communicate with language, and our human-centric view of the natural order...Earthy, visceral, at-times obscene and all-too-real, The Animals In That Country is nevertheless compelling and oddly buoying...McKay is a masterful storyteller, and her talent truly shines in this quest for family and belonging."
–Sheree Strange, Primer