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3.48  ·  Rating details ·  234 ratings  ·  69 reviews
A compelling near-future literary novel, psychological thriller and family drama

Set 17 years into a very recognisable future, Fauna is an astonishing psychological drama with an incredible twist: What if the child you are carrying is not entirely human?

Using DNA technology, scientists have started to reverse the extinction of creatures like the mammoth and the Tasmanian ti
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 2020 by Allen & Unwin
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Average rating 3.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  234 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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This is an original and intriguing debut novel that would be an excellent choice for book clubs. There is so much to explore in this book and I had so many thoughts and questions after reading it that I'd love to discuss with fellow readers. I have a feeling it's going to be very provocative and controversial.

Set in the near future, scientists have started to use genetic technology to bring back extinct animals, such as the woolly mammoth and Tasmanian tiger, and now they have gone one step furt
Michael Livingston
Apr 26, 2020 rated it liked it
This has a fascinating premise, but the whole thing didn't quite come together for me - the near-future setting didn't feel fully realised and I struggled to connect with the key characters. ...more
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fauna is a compelling novel, I started it last night and loafed in bed today until I'd finished reading it. The really interesting thing about it, is that although you find out what happens in the end, you don't, not really, and that is very creepy indeed. The novel is a highly intelligent work of fiction which made me think of the disconcerting issues raised by Paddy O'Reilly's remarkable novel The Wonders which also raised questions about what it is that makes us human.

Fauna is set in a ve
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
Fauna is an interesting read that touches on many pressing contemporary anxieties, turning a quasi-science fiction piece into a believable, unsettling possibility.

The novel raises compelling discussion points on the ethics in scientific research, philosophical questions of morality such as Philippa Foot’s Trolley Problem, female agency, and the exploitation of the working class that would make it a perfect book club read. It may leave one questioning whether, as I did myself, if you knew your c
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aww, own
Heatbreakingly good

My View:
This is faultless writing; engaging, provocative, realistic and emotive.

There is little more I can add except to urge you to read this poignant “what if” narrative.
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
This was such an interesting and intriguing book. I loved the concept - it’s like a very believable not-too-distant-future science fiction book, which is right up my alley. It also talks a lot about the joys and hardships of being a new mother, which I love reading about after having been through that tumultuous time as well.

The writing style took me a bit to get used to - it’s very evocative and visceral, and it feels like you’re inside her head reading her thoughts. But once I was used to it I
Esther King
Sep 04, 2020 rated it liked it
I love speculative fiction as a genre, I really do. I find it entrancing, and teetering on the precipice of the present reality is a marvellously enticing exercise. However, this book managed to keep itself just that bit too vague, and I lost the hopes that I had for more context. The ending was not what I had hoped, and there was just something missing in here.

The bond between mother and daughter is incredible, but I found our main character a little frustrating. There was so much to consider
Sheree | Keeping Up With The Penguins
Fauna is perhaps best classified as “eco-gothic speculative fiction”, but that’s a bit of a tongue twister. It falls somewhere between feminist dystopias, like The Handmaid’s Tale, and contemporary Australian climate fiction, like Dyschronia. In it, Donna Mazza imagines a too-near speculative future where a company, Lifeblood(R), offers huge incentives for women to join an experimental genetics program splicing non-human DNA into embryos for in-vitro fertilisation. My thanks to Allen & Unwin for ...more
Aksel Dadswell
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
The economy of Mazza’s prose belies the narrative’s – or more particularly its characters’ – icebergian depth. Every word feels carefully chosen and painstakingly placed, every page a blistering rainfall of ideas and imagery made up of individual drops all falling towards the same purpose, narrative- and gravity-driven wonder. This is a beautifully written book, and the language flows in a consistent and engaging tone.
Stacey is a character very much in her own head, but Mazza is canny enough to
Camila - Books Through My Veins
- thanks to @allenandunwin for sending the book my way!

Longing for another child, Stacey is recruited by a company who offer massive incentives for her to join an experimental programme. As part of the agreement, she and her husband's embryo will be blended with 'edited cells'. Just how edited, Stacey doesn't know. Nor does she have any idea how much her longed-for new daughter will change her life and that of her family...

I was very intrigued to read Fauna for the sole reason of exploring the c
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read a lot, but have to steal moments in my busy life to indulge and am often at the whim and limitation of time and exhaustion. But I just got lost in a book in a way that has not happened before. I got lost, but in it, I found myself. I found not just a story that captivated my imagination, but recognized the essence of being a Mother and a Daughter that resonated so fully in an emotional response at every level of my being that I was not quite prepared for; I found a landscape I know and lo ...more
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-books
In the near future, a child is created using the DNA of three parents; mother Stacey, father Isaac, and a long deceased ancestor of mankind. This child will not be able to hold a passport, live a normal life, or even be issued with a birth certificate. She is Fauna.

Stacey and Isaac, a young Western Australian couple, prepare to embark upon the perilous journey into parenthood for the fourth time. They have agreed to partner up with LifeBlood, a clinical research company that offers financial inc
Tony Nielsen
Feb 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Be warned. Fauna is not an easy read. It will probably disturb. It will definitely make you think. Why ?
The subject matter. The mother's dilemma "how far would you go to save your daughter ?"

Fauna you see is set in the future, not that far out, less than twenty years. Thanks to a new genetics based company called Lifeblood Stacey is recruited to add to her family of two children and her loyal husband Isak. The deal, yes it's very much a deal, means that their challenging financial situation will
Feb 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
Fauna is the story of Stacey and Isak. Set in the not too distant future, they volunteer to be part of genetic research - and so Stacey is impregnated with a child that contains the DNA of her and Isak - but also of the Neanderthal. The novel follows Stacey during her pregnancy and the first years of her daughter's life.

Beautifully told, and filled with lyrical prose - Mazza has a gift for describing the mundane to making it beautiful - Fauna is a fascinating read - and one I'd love to hear othe
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
After the loss of their third child, Stacey and Isak commit to a groundbreaking medical trial that will allow them to finally complete their family. The only catch? The child will be genetically engineered. Her cells will be Stacey and Isak’s, but also foreign chromosomes made up of the prehistoric matter that once walked the earth. No one at LifeBLOOD can tell them how different the child will be, they will all watch and learn as Asta grows. ⁣

The facilitators are, annoyingly, very involved in
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
This was a bit of a frustrating read for me - it started SO strong with just the right level of vagueness and short chapters that kept me turning those pages quickly. The story is set in Australia in the near future and follows a mother’s perspective as she embarks on a medically assisted pregnancy in a study of sorts. The novel is structured in chapters that follow the weeks in the pregnancy, and then move into years after the birth. While it moves in a very literal sense with the pregnancy and ...more
Sep 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aussie-author
An engaging, thought provoking story about the lengths a mother will go to in order to bring a child into the world, then keep her safe, loved and nurtured. I have to admit I was a little creeped out reading this, it's not something I would ever consider doing.

With thanks to Allen & Unwin for my copy to read and review.
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Quite a disturbing and depressing novel about a mothers love for her genetically altered child. Raw and unflinching, but quite thought provoking. 3 1/2 stars.

With thanks to Allen & Unwin for my free copy in exchange for my review.
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love reproductive themed speculative fiction. A scary and too real vision of the very near future.
But essentially this book was about an intense and consuming bond between a mother and daughter. This bond overwhelmed everything else in the story, and the other characters, and i still can't decide if that made it a better or worse book.
May 06, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was interesting, but the story didn't really go anywhere. I wasn't a fan of the open ending. I would have rather had an epilogue or something at the end that even just sort of wrapped up the story. ...more
Robyn Mundy
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is such a strong, credible, story set several years into the future. I was held from the first to last page. Donna Mazza crafts a poignant story of motherhood and love shaped by a chilling new technology. Set within the familiar comfort of rural Australia, it is a powerful combination.
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This novel will challenge you and make you think about what it means to be a mother. The concept is brilliant and as the story unfolds you become shocked when you realise what science is prepared to do.
Felicity Akins
Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: have
Unfortunately I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. The plot had me thinking it was going to go one way when in fact it took me in the opposite direction and leaving me wanting more. The main character, Stacey, annoyed me to no end. Why did she want another child? What was she expecting would happen as the child grew up? Why did she go down this path? For the money? Who knows. Her selfishness towards her husband and other children irked me – it was all about her. I was expecting more around Asta her ...more
Bianca Smith
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review was originally published at Mass Consternation.

I received this book for free from ARC from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. If you've read my other reviews, you'll know that if it's bad, I'll say so, regardless of how I received the book.

The science caught my attention. The characters dragged me in.

Fauna by Donna Mazza is the first binge book I’ve read in a while. It was a last moment contender for the Book Flood but when your 92-year-old grandma chooses to sacrifice sleep
Amy Polyreader
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020-release
I may need time to put my thoughts into coherent sentences as it’s late.
*edit* here's my review.

OK. This book is such a difficult one to review. On one hand, I love books that talk about motherhood in frank and vulnerable ways, and this book did that well. However, I have too many grievances with the book as a whole for that element to make up for the parts in which it lacked.

Firstly, this is such an interesting and promising concept to write about and I commend the author for taking it in her
Belinda Segovia
Jan 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Personally this book wasn’t as much my cup of tea as I originally thought. That being said it did cause me to think deeply, this would be a good book to discuss, I would recommend for book clubs.

Thanks A&U for the advanced copy!
Jackie McMillan
"The womb is such a silent, private place and having a camera—an audience—pointed at this baby so it can't even grow into being without scrutiny seems like the ultimate invasion. Fauna is another book about controlling women's reproductive capacities, in the same vein as Margaret Atwood's seminal text: The Handmaid's Tale, though not quite as compelling.

"The ordeal of giving life is always a journey of fire. Some stories might be shorter or involve less horror but there is suffering even in the
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This novel approached a controversial subject that was relatable to me and dealt with issues that may arise in the foreseeable future
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it
I struggled with this book. I was initially intrigued by the futuristic technology of the story but then started to struggle about one third of the way through. I almost gave up on it half way through but in all fairness I expected more of a thriller and unexpected twists and turns based on the cover and blurb. I felt it left me with no desire to keep turning the pages and that I had to force myself to get it read since I had got as far as I did with it.

The basis of the story was great! Very in
Underground Writers
This review was first published on the Underground Writers website:

Fauna is Donna Mazza’s tribute to an unsettling future that seems as near as new week. Not even twenty years from the present day, scientists have engineered DNA technology that allows them to reverse the extinction of creatures thought to have been lost to an ancient world. LifeBLOOD® recruits Stacey and her husband, Izak, to take part in an experimental genetics program that will blend the
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