War Against the Animals by Paul Russell
A Novel

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Cameron Barnes, formerly of New York City, lives in a small town in upstate New York. After having nearly succumbed to AIDS, he's recently regained a measure of his health but his long-term lover has moved away and faces the daunting prospect of learning how to live with the idea of a future in mind again. As a tentative step, he hires two local young men, brothers Jesse and Kyle Vanderhof, to do some renovation work on his property.

With the depressed economy of the area, the changing population of the town in which they live and the recent death of their family, the Vanderhofs are facing hard times and tough decisions. The older of the brothers, Kyle, sees an opportunity in Cameron, pushing Jesse to befriend Cameron and take advantage of his boredom and directionlessness. Caught between the opposing worlds embodied by Cameron and Kyle, Jesse is torn by the demands of his brother, the expectations of his community and family, and his own mix of volatile, contradictory emotions towards Kyle, Cameron, and himself. Mirroring the community's own increasingly tense split between long-term residents and new arrivals, this trio moves inexorably towards crisis and potential tragedy that will transform each of their lives.

Widely praised for his deft prose and brilliant characterizations, over the past decade Paul Russell has become increasingly regarded as one of the finest contemporary American novelists. Now, with War Against the Animals, he returns with his richest, most accomplished, and most compelling novel yet.


About Paul Russell

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Paul Russell is the author of five novels - including The Coming Storm and Sea of Tranquillity - as well as The Gay 100, a work of non-fiction. His most recent novel was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award as well as the winner of the Ferro-Grumley Award. He is a professor at Vassar College and lives in upstate New York.
Published September 6, 2004 by St. Martin's Press. 358 pages
Genres: Gay & Lesbian, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for War Against the Animals

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After milking several advances on their construction project, Kyle convinces Jesse that they may be able to make a profit off Cameron’s apparent intrigue with Jesse.

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Publishers Weekly

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Cameron Barnes is the Manhattan transplant who thinks his love life is over after surviving the barrage of illnesses that come with full-blown AIDS, but Barnes's quiet, idyllic life in Stone Hollow is disrupted when he hires a pair of young brothers, Kyle and Jesse Vanderhof, to fix his dilapidat...

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Entertainment Weekly

The plot -- an affluent, ailing middle-aged gay man hires a pair of muscly working-class brothers barely past high school to renovate his Hudson Valley home -- could go a lot of different ways: porn, violence, stereotyped culture clash, or poignant friendship building across sociological boun...

Aug 15 2003 | Read Full Review of War Against the Animals: A Novel

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