Winner of the 2021 Arthur C Clarke Award
A pandemic enables animals and humans to communicate, in a fierce and funny exploration of other consciousnesses and the limits of language.
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The Animals in that Country by Laura Jean McKay
Out on the road, no one speaks, everything talks.
Hard-drinking, foul-mouthed grandma Jean has never been good at getting on with other humans, apart from her granddaughter, Kimberly. Instead, she surrounds herself with animals, working as a guide in an outback wildlife park.
Then, a strange pandemic begins sweeping the country, its chief symptom that its victims begin to understand the language of animals. Many infected people lose their minds, including Jean’s son, Lee.
When he takes off with Kimberly, Jean follows, with Sue the dingo riding shotgun. As they travel, they discover a stark, strange world in which the animal apocalypse has only further isolated people from other species.