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Nocturnal Animals

3.14  ·  Rating details ·  6,952 ratings  ·  951 reviews
Receiving a manuscript and request for feedback from her vengeful ex-husband of fifteen years, Susan Morrow is drawn into the life of the story's fictional character and confronts a devastating parallel darkness from her own past.

Austin Wright's novel is a disturbing and dazzling work: it describes a special reading experience, combines the suggestiveness of a thriller an
Paperback, 464 pages
Published November 29th 2016 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published February 1st 1993)
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Popular Answered Questions
Ana María I have a theory that Wright was inspired/influenced by Henry James' "The Beast in the Jungle"--James is mentioned in the novel, and the title…moreI have a theory that Wright was inspired/influenced by Henry James' "The Beast in the Jungle"--James is mentioned in the novel, and the title *Nocturnal Animals* is evocative as well. I don't think it will help you with a definitive answer, but the personal relationship and the nature of self-delusion have something to do with it, I think.(less)
Tommy Tom if you need to, just go back and read that part again. I loved the end of "Nocturnal Animals." I, like Susan, was worried for the impending doom of…moreif you need to, just go back and read that part again. I loved the end of "Nocturnal Animals." I, like Susan, was worried for the impending doom of no-more-pages-left, but everything worked out better than I had hoped. (less)
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3.14  · 
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This is not a thriller. Bookstores and libraries can shelve it as a thriller, and Saul Bellow can endorse it by calling it “a story of blood and revenge,” but it’s not thrilling. It’s not a mystery or literary fiction either. It belongs to no category. It’s a discombobulated, terrible something-or-other.

Austin Wright structured Tony and Susan as a story within a story. It concerns the Susan of the title and focuses on her domestic life, with soporific flashbacks to her flawed f
this is the new big hoopla book - previously published in the early nineties, then out of print, then recently republished in england to much acclaim, now revived and reintroduced to america. an exhausting journey for one little book.

fortunately, it is interesting enough to withstand such rough treatment.there is a lot i liked about this book, even though had it been written these days, it would have needed a little updating. a well-placed cellphone would have changed the trajectory of the novel
Andrew Smith
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A married woman gets the manuscript of a book entitled Nocturnal Animals through the post from an ex-husband she’s barely heard from in the past 20 years. So starts a novel that is one of the most interesting I’ve read in years. As Susan reads through the manuscript (a dark, dense and harrowing tale in its own right) she starts to reflect on the shortfalls of her current marriage and on her would be writer ex-husband, and the role she played in thwarting this aim. She also considers the meaning ...more
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly disappointed by this book--Susan is reading a novel(Nocturnal Animals) sent to her by her ex-husband, Edward. For some reason, she feels that the manuscript is some sort of veiled threat from Edward (why she thinks this, I don't know--it really doesn't make sense. Susan is just neurotic). Tony, the main character in Edward's novel, is aggravating to the point where you just want to scream. I found myself wanting to just put down this book because I could not stomach the idiocy of Tony ...more
Joanne Harris
Unfairly marketed as "the new GONE GIRL" (just how many of those are we going to get before publishers finally realize that this is about as much of a selling-point as "comes with its own raw blubber carrying-case"?), this is a truly spectacular book - part-thriller; part investigation into the uneasy relationship between reader and writer; part exploration of fiction; part study of human relationships, neuroses, anxiety, grief and what it means to be civilized.
Don't go into it looking for easy
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
perfect and harsh story
Diane S ☔
Aug 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a re-release of a book that reviewed well but didn't have a large readership, the author has since passed away but the publishers think so highly of this book that they have given it a second chance. I have to admit that it really held my interest, it is a book within a book construct, but the foreboding tension of the story is fantastic. The last third of the book was not as good as what came before but it has stuck in my mind. That is always the sign to me of a successful book.
Sam Quixote
Susan leads a comfortable suburban life: a doctor’s wife, a mother and homemaker, her quiet existence is interrupted when she receives her ex-husband Edward’s debut manuscript for her review: a novel called Nocturnal Animals. But she and Edward divorced over twenty years ago – why would he reach out to her now? Then as Susan begins reading she notices pieces of herself in the story – a vicious, dark story of revenge, rape and murder. Is Edward exorcising demons through his art or is this a veile ...more
Coral Davies
Mar 29, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
That was officially the longest 2 weeks of my life. Never has a book stretched out for so long, seemingly never-ending, and I have read the LOTR trilogy!

Honestly? I hated this book. I didn't like Susan (the narrator) - I felt she was smug, even after excavating her crappy life with her adulterous husband. I found her parts particularly boring. I just didn't care.

The manuscript by Edward (Susan's ex-husband of the past 25 years) was somewhat more interesting. I like a good crime novel. However, i
J.M. Cornwell
A story within a story that fails to deliver more than passing interest.

Edward, Susan’s first husband, has sent her his novel, Nocturnal Animals, to read before he comes to visit. Susan, a little at loose ends with her husband in New York at a conference, reads the manuscript and is caught up in Tony’s dilemma. Is there more to the story or is Susan reading too much into it?

In what seems to be a treatise on modern marriage and selfishness, Austin Wright’s Tony and Susan is a study in contrast an
David Corbett
Apr 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most gripping, unusual, elegantly written fiction I’ve read in some time. Though “postmodern mysteries” too often trend toward the over-precious and self-absorbed, this one delivers in a very fundamental, even insidious way. Ex-husband Edward, after twenty years of separation, sends remarried ex-wife his manuscript about a man whose wife and daughter are abducted, raped, and murdered along an empty stretch of Pennsylvania freeway, after which he stumbles into something akin to revenge. The b ...more
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
Well. That was unexpected. I've never read a book anything like this ever.Totally unique and deeply thought-provoking. Cleverly written too. I started it mid-afternoon and it's now 2:20am and with my eyes struggling to stay open I had to finish it. Cover to cover.

Susan gets sent a manuscript from her ex-husband. The book is titled Nocturnal Animals. During their marriage he was a frustrated, often depressed writer and she criticised his writing quite harshly. Theirs was a complex relationship. S
SUSAN   *Nevertheless,she persisted*
This book annoyed me to the point of madness. It was filled with unbelievable situations,ridiculous choices and irritating ,ineffectual characters. I am floored that someone read this book and proclaimed,"This book will make a great movie,someone get Gyllenhaal on the phone"
It was as pointless as my dog chasing her tail,but a least she seems to get enjoyment from it.
Mar 31, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Originally published as Tony and Susan, Nocturnal Animals is described on the cover as "extraordinary", "nail-biting", "truly horrifying", "gripping and unsettling", "absorbing, terrifying, beautiful and appalling, unforgettable". So, I thought I was in for a thrilling ride.

It's the story of Susan Morrow, who receives a manuscript from her ex-husband Ed. Ed and Susan haven't spoken in years, so this is completely out of the blue. Susan reads the novel in three sittings, and we get to read it wi
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 Stars

For a thriller it's pretty slow paced and boring.
Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
This review and others can be found on BW Book Reviews.

DNF at page 33

Usually, I don't review books that I don't get at least 15% into. If I put them on my currently reading shelf, I'll quietly take it off. The only time I rate or review is when I have a severe problem with something about the book. And, the thing is, the problem I have with this book isn't that severe.

I saw the movie first. When I watched the Oscar's and saw the clips they used for Nocturnal Animals, I had to watch it. I'm
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a story within a story and is the basis of the new movie “Nocturnal Animals” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams. Susan, divorced from Edward and now married to Arnold, receives a letter from Edward, whom she hasn’t heard from in 20 years. He’s written a book and wants her opinion. His book is “Nocturnal Animals”, a very suspenseful thriller whose main character, Tony Hastings, is driving his wife and daughter to their summer home in Maine when they run into some seriously scary ...more
Victoria Watson
Aug 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apparently this novel was first released in 1993 but is being given a second crack at success. And rightfully so.

This is an intelligent story within a story – Susan is a middle-aged housewife who lives in her second husband Arnold’s shadow. She receives a manuscript from her ex-husband Edward and the reader gets to enjoy Edward’s novel along with Susan’s reactions to the narrative. The reader also is privy to the resurgence of Susan’s memories which are provoked by Edward’s sudden reappearance
Amanda Harlow
Feb 05, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Writing was strange. I was expecting some exciting plot twist, it did not happen. Tony and Susan were both odd characters and I could not relate to them. Maybe the movie will be better? Haha
Patricia Nedelea
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This time I like the movie (Nocturnal Animals) better than the book. It was an elegant visual feast!
Omar Fadel
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, english
“To be heartbroken means to have a story.”

A perfect tale of weakness, strength, love, betrayal and revenge.

Mar 03, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It was a total waste of time and natural resources. The thriller part was thrilling to begin with, but the love story was just boring. I couldn' t care less about the protagonists and their sorry love lives. And i couldn't see any meaning in intertwining the two stories. Was the thriller supposed to cast some light on their failed marriage? If so, it didn't do it for me. Even the thriller got too complicated and lost its momentum after a few chapters.
I read in one rewiev that Susan thought the
Marc Nash
Apr 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the conceit at the heart of this book - you the reader are reading 'along with' the main character Susan who is reading a manuscript of her ex-husband's novel. So when we react to the drama or the tension as a reader, so is she. But she is involved directly, because this is her ex-husband's work. So we also see the struggle when she has to put the manuscript down to do the daily chores or to consider her current marriage or her previous one. It's also a book about revenge - revenge is at t ...more
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, audio
I thought that this book was a thriller inside another narrative. And for the first few chapters of the book within the book there is a thrill. But then it dissolves into a police procedural and ends in complete lunacy. But what's worse is the narrative wrapped around the so-called thriller is really quite awful. When was the last time you used the word "lest" in "lest we forget something or other"? Well, it's used here - a lot. The writing is so awkward and heavy handed that I started cou ...more
Liz Barnsley
I personally have to give this 5* just because. Well actually I'm not sure why. Which is probably why the 5*.

Tis a strange book this one - now the movie "Nocturnal Animals" which I simply must watch, its kind of a tale within a tale and is rather strange and melancholy.

I shall attempt to gather my thoughts on it and write a fuller review soon.
Linda Lipko
Incredibly haunting and stark. This book took me well out of my comfort zone. Very well written with a plot that scares. Often I wanted to put this book down, but I was compelled to finish.

When Tony, his wife Susan and daughter Helen take their usual vacation drive to their Maine home, they decide to be adventurous and drive to Maine throughout the long, dark night. All is well as they attempt to fulfill their decision, until along a back road Pennsylvania, off the interstate area, they are forc
Mar 22, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish
DNF at 30% but I'm still marking it as read. I watched the movie and know the story, and the writing is just so brutal that I feel confident about the accuracy of my rating. Here are some quotes from the first 80 pages:

"He flings a cigarette hiss into the water about something."

"The car stopped in a straight stretch where the road was above the floor of the woods on both sides, except right here where."

"Susan Morrow does have a prudish streak: if your friends don't know what people don't say whe
Waël Ghandour
Jan 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was really digging this book at first. The story captures the attention and is very thrilling. However, the style is undeniably annoying, especially every time we get thrown out of the novel written by Edward for the writer to tell us how Susuan feels about her life, her family, and the book. In addition, the last 70 pages drag on and on and on, only to come to a blurry not-to-the-point conclusion. The ending is very displeasing. Unfortunately, the book's flaws outweigh its strong points. 1 st ...more
Victor Sonkin
With some qualities that are questionable (like the names, which seem to be corrected, or at least attempted to be corrected, in Tom Ford's movie), this is a great novel.

The Wikipedia article about the book gives the details of the plot nicely (there is a mistake somewhere, though I forget which). Here it is:

I also wrote a review of the book (since it is being reissued, after 2012's first publication, by Corpus to coincide with Tom Ford's movie) for Gorky.
Girl with her Head in a Book
For my full review:

What a strange book this was. During this Awards season, one of the backlashes against the film La La Land is that it has hoovered up all potential awards and has thus robbed Nocturnal Animals of its due. Nocturnal Animals is the name given to the film adaptation of Tony and Susan, a novel once lauded as unfilmable and I have to admit that having read the book, I have very little desire to watch the film. Despite its obvious craftsmansh
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The Insides of Tony & Susan 2 27 May 02, 2017 10:06PM  

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Austin McGiffert Wright was a novelist, literary critic and professor emeritus of English at the University of Cincinnati.
He grew up in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, son of the geographer John Kirtland Wright and Katharine McGiffert Wright, and namesake of his uncle, Austin Tappan Wright, writer of the utopian novel, Islandia. He graduated from Harvard University in 1943. He served in the Army (19
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“She feels bruised by her reading and by life too. She wonders, does she always fight her books before yielding to them?” 12 likes
“You write because everything dies, to save what dies.” 8 likes
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