New Animal is the debut novel by Australian author and artist Ella Baxter: a "soulful and intimate comedy set against a backdrop of austere themes" and an insightful exploration into what it's like to dive head first into kink.
Baxter's storyline follows a young mortuary cosmetician who struggles to find balance between the emotional and physical realities of everyday life - whilst often finding themselves wading through the extremes of either of the two. Over twenty-two chapters we follow the main character as they go on a journey of growth and self-discovery that is drenched with all the good, bad and down-right-ugly aspects of sex, death, grief and escapism.
Perhaps our favourite aspect of this novel is that it puts forth a candid exploration of one part of the Australian kink community. For both the kink-experienced and the kink-curious, New Animal presents a solemn-yet-relatable and often humorous account of what it's like to experience a whole lot of firsts - from a wide array of fetishistic activities to building confidence in expressing desires, negotiation and consent, and so much more.
On this, Baxter says: "we are in a post Fifty Shades of Grey world where engaging in kink practices could be considered more mainstream than ever before. Kink can be transgressive. I like that it is a consent-driven, diverse community, but am fascinated by what happens when people who are not innately drawn to these kinks jump feet first into the subculture".
New Animal was released on March 2nd 2021 by publishing house Allen and Unwin and is available now.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ella Baxter is a writer and artist residing in Melbourne, Australia. Her creative works span across the mediums of not only the written word, but also dance and sculpture. Baxter's poetry has been published in the likes of Spineless Wonders, Gargouille Literary Journal and Bowen St Press, and her sculptures exhibited at various site-specific locations around Victoria as well as at Gasworks Arts Park. Ella is currently working on her second novel, Woo Woo.