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Abby Geni is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the recipient of an Iowa Fellowship. "Captivity" won first place in the Glimmer Train Fiction Open and was listed in 2010 Best American Short Stories; it was also selected for inclusion in New Stories from the Midwest, published by Ohio University Press. Her stories have also received Honorable Mentions in the Kate Baverman Short Story Prize and in Glimmer Train's Very Short Fiction Competition. She lives in Chicago, where she is at work on a novel.
Praise for The Last Animal A Finalist for the 2014 Orion Book Award for Fiction "Human predicaments are complemented by the wild natural world in this excellent debut story collection from Chicago-based author Geni. The characters and events here are unusual and far-reaching, but Geni's careful craftsmanship renders them immediate and real. Each story is threaded with page-turning, deeply felt tension, yet each has also been planted with a seed of magic in varying stages of growth. An entrancing collection, recommended even for those who generally shy away from short story." --Kirkus Reviews (Starred) "The short stories in Geni's debut collection beautifully reveal how exposure to nature helps people in emotional pain to recover. In each well-researched piece, Geni vividly depicts the setting, as well as the animals or plants that play important roles...All ten stories here are wonderfully written, with precise language and a true compassion for the hardships of the characters. Highly recommended." --Library Journal (Starred) "The Last Animal by Abby Geni is the rare short story collection that's as coherent and powerful as a well-constructed novel. It begs to be read straight through rather than sampled casually. Although each story stands on its own, as an ensemble, their brilliance becomes apparent... Geni's prose is clean and slightly dreamlike, in an intimate voice that lingers occasionally on glimmering sensory details...Reading The Last Animal is like glimpsing a distant, hauntingly familiar shore illuminated by the rotating beam of a lighthouse." --Shelf Awareness, (Starred) "Geni's first book puts us on notice. Here is a fiction writer who perceives the many forms of consciousness at work on the planet. In shrewd, sure stories, Geni registers the life force of trees, deciphers the confusions of human emotions, and considers the mystery of our interactions with other species... Endangerment, disappearance, isolation, love adrift, the attempt to hold on to and define life--Geni illuminates each condition and effort with keen realism and empathetic imagination to wondrously disquieting effect." -- Booklist "I have known for a while that Abby Geni is a brilliant writer, and I'm happy that at last the world will find out. These are sharp, incisive, thoughtful, and utterly original stories, and I recommend this book with all my heart!" --Dan Chaon, National Book Award Finalist, author of Stay Awake and Await Your Reply "Combining the cool precision of a naturalist with the heart of a born storyteller, Abby Geni catalogues an astounding array of characters whose lives have been undone by the mysterious departures and disappearances of loved ones. Instead of solving these mysteries, she plunges us deeper into them, and the results, like so many of the creatures in this book, are strange, haunting, and beautiful." --Jim Gavin, Middle Men "Abby Geni is a sharpshooter, a tamer of wild animals, a clear-eyed wonder. The Last Animal is a phenomenally ambitious debut collection and announces Geni's many talents to the world with the volume of a herd of stampeding elephants. I loved this book, and you will, too." --Emma Straub "Abby Geni's worlds exist at the boundary between desolation and abundance, civilization and nature, love and loneliness. It is as if everything and everyone in these beautiful stories is at least half wild." --Ramona Ausubel, A Guide to Being Born "The Last Animal is a work of rare insight and beauty. Abby Geni's vision is expansive and haunting and wholly new, and she illuminates her characters' loneliness and longing in a way that will break your heart. This book is about love and animals and loss and the whole world; you must read it." --Karen E. Bender, A Town of Empty Rooms "It's rare to find a single story that's both highly imaginative while also unflinchingly earnest, thrilling while also deeply moving and wise. With The Last Animal we get ten stories that fulfill this ambitious criteria, and an amazing collection that announces Abby Geni as a powerful and original new voice in fiction." --Alan Heathcock, Volt