In a striking first collection of stories, Cris Mazza brings a startling vision to the familiar terrain of intimate relationships. The eleven stories in Animal Acts describe characters navigating an unsteady course through the turbulence of sexual desire. Set in unmistakably American landscapes—from sprawling West Coast cities to the dry, dusty scrub of rural Southern California—the work is populated by gym teachers, aging flower children, secretaries and artists—most of them strong, willful women.
The narrator of the title story holds the guests at a party spellbound with her fantastic retelling of another woman's perverse life—which may, in fact, be her own—thereby seducing a man who has previously eluded her.
Mazza's arresting narrative structures and sharp sense of the absurd make for a dazzling debut collection.