No Animals We Could Name

No Animals We Could Name
Ted Sanders

"Odd and audacious creatures populate this sometimes experimental debut short-story collection. . . . Some of the animals are real; others are conjured up by characters, often as an outlet for impulses of anguish and desperation that they cannot otherwise express. The fanciful menagerie is given substance by the beauty of Sanders's descriptions."—The New Yorker

"In Sanders’s formally rigorous debut collection, winner of the 2011 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Bakeless Prize for fiction, characters have relationships with a variety of animals—domestic, wild, and even imaginary. . . . All 12 [stories] are memorable, and such a broad range in a story collection is welcome."—Publishers Weekly

About the Book

The winner of the Bakeless Prize for Fiction, a bold debut collection
The animals (human or otherwise) in Ted Sanders's inventive, wistful stories are oddly familiar, yet unlike anyone you've met before. A lion made of bedsheets, with chicken bones for teeth, is brought to life by a grieving mother. When Raphael the pet lizard mysteriously loses his tail, his owners find themselves ever more desperate to keep him alive, in one sense or another. A pensive tug-of-war between an amateur angler and a halibut unfolds through the eyes of both fisherman and fish. And in the collection's unifying novella, an unusual guest's arrival at a party sets idle gears turning in startling new ways.

Additional Reviews

In his debut collection of stories, Sanders explores the ways in which any attempt to know another person ultimately falls short. . . . the abstraction of the shorter pieces is balanced by the powerful realism of more traditional stories.”—Time Out Chicago

"Ted Sanders writes the kind of sensitive, careful prose that makes it easy for the reader to forge connections with the most unconventional of characters—whether a flounder or a lizard—and to live for pages as someone (or something) you thought you could never identify with. . . . A writer who delicately explores every crevice of the human body, who scrutinizes every action from the outside in, Sanders explores the awkwardness, cynicism and uncertainty that so often surrounds our relationships. Through fresh prose that is emotional and dispassionate at once, he has done something great in No Animals We Could Name, creating a complex work that speaks to the oddity of modern life."—ZYZZYVA

“The animals in this debut collection are recognizable enough . . . it’s the stories themselves that are the strange creatures [and] watching [Sanders] bring them to life is a rare pleasure. . . . He makes us see everything anew.”—Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

“It is sometimes said of a book of fiction that it teaches its reader how to read on its terms. Such books are often reflexive, hintingly aware of what’s happening between reader and text. The stories in Ted Sanders’ varied, fascinating collection, No Animals We Could Name . . . take on their own such awareness, teaching the reader to read their intricate language.”—Full Stop

“This is a hard, striking, quicksilvery book, something richer than most of us (I’m guessing) will realize even after we’ve made our way through it—the thing’s gonna be sitting on your shelf seething for years. Or at least it will be mine.”—Corduroy Books

"In his debut short story collection, No Animals We Could Name, Ted Sanders demonstrates remarkable range. The stories collected here run the gamut from domesticated realism. . . to haunting surrealism. . . to evocative prose poems. . . . Ted Sanders is a supple and penetrating writer and his is an accomplished debut."—ForeWord Reviews

“[No Animals We Could Name] wallows in the momentary. . . . All that is left is the moment, carefully cut from the surrounding rock and polished to a shine. . . . There is beauty to be found here.”—Bookslut

"These stories have a blissfully clinical precision, redolent of David Foster Wallace."—Village Voice

"With much humor and creativity, No Animals We Could Name is a fine assortment of stories, enthusiastically recommended."—Midwest Book Review

"There's a thread of something vaguely familiar in Ted Sanders's short story collection, No Animals We Could Name. It's a thread of the absurd that both Amy Bender and Kelly Link carry in their writing; a way of making sense out of strangeness and bringing it forth as universally understood truth. And yet, just before that moment of revelation, Sanders sounds out a call that is distinctly his own. . . . No matter where it comes from, his is a gut-wrenching and wild and tender song."—Rain Taxi Review of Books

"Debut author Ted Sanders pours out a mixed bag of creatures, from tail-losing lizards to fisherman-dodging halibut. The message of their stories is all too human: No matter how hard we try, we never really know somebody. There are twelve short stories, and each is a surreal and thought-provoking trip."—DailyCandy