‘Meat’ by Padrika Tarrant

Sometimes you read a writer’s work and want to tell them how much you are in awe of them, but you don’t say anything because it would just embarrass them, and you, so you stand blinking in the corner, imperceptibly nodding.

That’s how I felt when I read Padrika Tarrant’s novel,The Knife Drawer, how I felt when I read her book of short stories Broken Thingsand it’s how I felt when I read this year’s The Fates of the Animals. Gosh. Some writers, they transcend space and time and you can’t really say anything about their work other than, ‘Please read it.’

This story starts: They are waiting. They are meat.

I think it might be my favourite opening to a story, ever. You should just read everything she’s written because it’s all like that.

Or like this.

There is a part that wants to kill, to open its bloody maw, screw its eyes and sink its fangs into the men in spattered Wellingtons, into their strong and red-flecked arms. But champing against empty air is torture for the jaws.
When people I know say, ‘Who’s an author I should read, who I might not have heard of?’ I always say Padrika Tarrant. And, I say that to you, too.
from The Fates of the Animals, Salt Publishing, 2018

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