book cover of The Study of Animal Languages

The Study of Animal Languages

(2019)
A novel by

 
 
"An unabashedly smart and affecting portrait of the strains of a marriage." (Ayana Mathis, author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie)

Meet Ivan and Prue: a married couple - both experts in language and communication - who nevertheless cannot seem to communicate with each other.

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.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"The rare novel of academia that has as much in its heart as it does on its mind. Remarkably lucid and eloquent, it highlights the difficulty of communication not only between species but between individuals. Reading it, you wonder whether, like the birds, we're all just whistling tunes at each other, but also the opposite--whether, like us, the birds are sharing disquisitions of the soul." - Kevin Brockmeier

"With Ivan as our troubled (and troubling) guide, we ask where all our certainties have gone--those fond ideals we hope to find in love, marriage, and family. A hard question, and yet the beauty and solace of this wonderful novel is that everything is finally affirmed, line by line, in the music of Stern's lean and lucid prose." - Charles D'Ambrosio

"Magnificent . . . Not only will The Study of Animal Languages make a reader's mind race with fascinating thoughts, but it mesmerizes with addictive storytelling. Lindsay Stern has Nabokov's trinity of attributes that distinguish the greatest novelists: storyteller, teacher, and enchanter." - Benjamin Hale

"Artful and astute, funny and unnerving, The Study of Animal Languages brilliantly captures how easily we can mistake our impressions of the world, and the models we make of them, for the world itself. A knockout." - Paul Harding

"Calls to mind the sly humor of Ishiguro and Nabokov. I loved this novel." - Elizabeth McKenzie

"An unabashedly smart philosophical exploration and affecting psychological portrait of the strains of a marriage. Finely wrought, marvelously dramatic, riveting--a debut of stunning maturity." - Ayana Mathis

"Written with fearless emotional precision...I'd say that this novel was an auspicious debut were it not for the fact that Stern seems to have appeared fully formed as a writer, alert to our weaknesses, our moral missteps and the ways in which the mind and the heart so often work at cross-purposes." - Marisa Silver

"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

"A fascinating, original meditation on a human relationship and the non-human world from a very talented new writer. Quietly provocative." - Jeff VanderMeer


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Used availability for Lindsay Stern's The Study of Animal Languages

Hardback Editions

February 2019 : USA Hardback
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Title: The Study of Animal Languages: A Novel
Author(s): Lindsay Stern
ISBN: 0-525-55743-1 / 978-0-525-55743-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Viking
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

February 2020 : USA Paperback
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Title: The Study of Animal Languages: A Novel
Author(s): Lindsay Stern
ISBN: 0-525-55745-8 / 978-0-525-55745-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


February 2019 : Paperback
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Title: Study of Animal Languages, The
Author(s): Lindsay Stern
ISBN: 1-984877-62-3 / 978-1-984877-62-8
Publisher: Viking Press Usa
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


Audio Editions

February 2019 : USA Audio edition
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Title: The Study of Animal Languages: A Novel
Author(s): Lindsay Stern
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Availability: Amazon   


February 2019 : Australia Audio edition
thumb

Title: The Study of Animal Languages: A Novel
Author(s): Lindsay Stern
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Availability: Amazon AU   


February 2019 : Canada Audio edition
thumb

Title: The Study of Animal Languages: A Novel
Author(s): Lindsay Stern
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Availability: Amazon CA   


February 2019 : UK Audio edition
thumb

Title: The Study of Animal Languages: A Novel
Author(s): Lindsay Stern
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Availability: Amazon UK   


Kindle Editions

February 2019 : USA, Australia, Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: The Study of Animal Languages: A Novel
Author(s): Lindsay Stern
Publisher: Viking
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU