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Penguin: Viking Spring 2019

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The Study of Animal Languages
A Novel
By (author): Lindsay Stern
9780525557432 Hardcover English General Trade FICTION / Literary Feb 19, 2019
$35.00 CAD
Active 5.74 x 8.51 x 0.87 in 240 pages Viking
“An exuberant, wise, and darkly funny novel about love, talent, ambition, envy, and the bungled ways we try to connect and care for each other.”—Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest

Ivan is a tightly wound philosophy professor whose reverence for logic and order governs not only his academic interests, but also his closest relationships. His wife, Prue, is quite the opposite: a pioneer in the emerging field of biolinguistics, she is bold and vibrant, full of life and feeling. Thus far, they have managed to weather their differences. But lately, an odd distance has settled in between them. Might it have something to do with the arrival of the college’s dashing but insufferable new writer-in-residence, whose novel Prue always seems to be reading?

Into this delicate moment barrels Ivan’s unstable father-in-law, Frank, in town to hear Prue deliver a lecture on birdsong that is set to cement her tenure application. But the talk doesn’t go as planned, unleashing a series of crises that force Ivan to finally confront the problems in his marriage, and to begin to fight - at last - for what he holds dear.

A dazzlingly insightful and entertaining novel about the limitations of language, the fragility of love, and the ways we misunderstand each other and ourselves, The Study of Animal Languages marks the debut of a brilliant new voice in fiction.

Story Locale: Rhode Island

STORY OF A MARRIAGE: From Fates and Furies to Dept. of Speculation, readers are continually drawn to literary novels that explore the complex dynamics of marriage. The Study of Animal Languages is an insightful, funny, and achingly tender portrait of a partnership between two flawed individuals.

CAMPUS SETTING: The novel is an irresistible sendup of academics and academia at an elite New England liberal arts college.

A DEBUT NOVEL OF TREMENDOUS PHILOSOPHICAL RESONANCE: This brainy first novel is packed with ideas about language and communication that resonate well beyond the story. The author’s brilliance and boundless intellectual curiosity are evident on every page - though she wears them lightly.

BRILLIANT EMERGING VOICE IN FICTION: Just 27 years old, Lindsay Stern is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, where she was the recipient of two prestigious fellowships.

Lindsay Stern is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the recipient of a Watson Fellowship and an Amy Award from Poets & Writers magazine. She is currently pursuing a PhD in comparative literature at Yale University. The Study of Animal Languages is her first novel.

Author Residence: New Haven, CT

Author Hometown: New York, NY

Marketing: Social media and online promotion

Library Promotions



Publicity: Print and online reviews and features

National radio interviews



Author Website: LindsayOConnorStern.com

Author Social Media: Twitter: @LindsayOStern

Praise for The Study of Animal Languages:

“An exuberant, wise, and darkly funny novel from an essential new voice in fiction.”—Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest

“An unabashedly smart philosophical exploration and affecting psychological portrait of the final strains of a marriage. Finely wrought, marvelously dramatic, riveting—a debut of stunning maturity.”—Ayana Mathis, New York Times bestselling author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

“A fascinating, original meditation on a human relationship and the non-human world from a very talented new writer. Quietly provocative.”—Jeff VanderMeer, New York Times bestselling author of The Southern Reach Trilogy

“So artful and astute, funny and unnerving, too…. A knockout.”—Paul Harding, author of Tinkers

“Lindsay Stern calls to mind the sly humor of Ishiguro and Nabokov…I loved this novel.”—Elizabeth McKenzie, author of The Portable Veblen

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