All the Names They Used for God: Stories

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“One of the best collections I’ve ever read. Every single story is a standout.”—Roxane Gay

WINNER OF THE CHAUTAUQUA PRIZE • LONGLISTED FOR THE STORY PRIZE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • Refinery29 BookRiot


“Fuses science, myth, and imagination into a dark and gorgeous series of questions about our current predicaments.”­—Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See

A dystopian tale about genetically modified septuplets who are struck by a mysterious illness; a love story about a man bewitched by a mermaid; a stirring imagining of the lives of Nigerian schoolgirls in the aftermath of a Boko Haram kidnapping. The stories in All the Names They Used for God break down genre barriers—from science fiction to American Gothic to magical realism to horror—and are united by each character’s brutal struggle with fate. Like many of us, the characters in this collection are in pursuit of the sublime. Along the way, they must navigate the borderland between salvation and destruction.

NAMED A MUST-READ BOOK BY Harper’s Bazaar • Entertainment Weekly • AM New York Reading Women AND A TOP READ BY Elle • Fast Company • The Christian Science Monitor • Bustle • Shondaland • Popsugar • Refinery29  • Bookish • Newsday • The Millions • Asian American Writers’ Workshop • HelloGiggles

“Strange and wonderful . . . delightfully unexpected.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Completing one [story] is like having lived an entire life, and then being born, breathless, into another.”—Carmen Maria Machado

“Captivating.”—NPR

“Gripping.”Los Angeles Review of Books

“[A] remarkable debut . . . Sachdeva is seemingly fearless and her talent limitless.”AM New York 

“This phenomenal debut short-story collection is filled with stories that bring the otherworldly to life and examine the strangeness of humanity.”Bustle 

“So rich they read like dreams . . . They are enormous stories, not in length but in ambition, each an entirely new, unsparing world. Beautiful, draining—and entirely unforgettable.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
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About the author

Anjali Sachdeva’s fiction has appeared in The Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, The Yale Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Literary Review, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has taught writing at the University of Iowa, Augustana College, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Pittsburgh. She also worked for six years at the Creative Nonfiction Foundation, where she was director of educational programs. She has hiked through the backcountry of Canada, Iceland, Kenya, Mexico, and the United States, and spent much of her childhood reading fantasy novels and waiting to be whisked away to an alternate universe. Instead, she lives in Pittsburgh, which is pretty wonderful as far as places in this universe go. This is her first book.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Spiegel & Grau
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Published on
Feb 20, 2018
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9780525508670
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Magical Realism
Fiction / Short Stories (single author)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In this imaginative debut, the tale of Noah’s Ark is brilliantly recast as a story of fate and family, set in a near-future London.

Over the course of a single night in 2052, a homeless man named Cuthbert Handley sets out on an astonishing quest: to release the animals of the London Zoo. When he was a young boy, Cuthbert’s grandmother had told him he inherited a magical ability to communicate with the animal world—a gift she called the Wonderments. Ever since his older brother’s death in childhood, Cuthbert has heard voices. These maddening whispers must be the Wonderments, he believes, and recently they have promised to reunite him with his lost brother and bring about the coming of a Lord of Animals . . . if he fulfills this curious request.

Cuthbert flickers in and out of awareness throughout his desperate pursuit. But his grand plan is not the only thing that threatens to disturb the collective unease of the city. Around him is greater turmoil, as the rest of the world anxiously anticipates the rise of a suicide cult set on destroying the world’s animals along with themselves.

Meanwhile, Cuthbert doggedly roams the zoo, cutting open the enclosures, while pressing the animals for information about his brother. Just as this unlikely yet loveable hero begins to release the animals, the cult’s members flood the city’s streets. Has Cuthbert succeeded in harnessing the power of the Wonderments, or has he only added to the chaos—and sealed these innocent animals’ fates?

Night of the Animals is an enchanting and inventive tale that explores the boundaries of reality, the ghosts of love and trauma, and the power of redemption.

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