Decline of the Animal Kingdom
A debut collection with a fresh approach
Decline of the Animal Kingdom investigates modern constructs of domesticity, freedom, wilderness, and artificiality to paint a portrait of what it means to be human, animal, or both in a society saturated with dog boutiques, trophy hunting, retro taxidermy, and eco-tourism. With brief forays into Algonquin Park and the heart of the 1980s jungle, the book largely draws its energy from the urban landscape, where the animals that interact with the environment have permanent effects on the land and human psyche. A wild deer wanders into the downtown core; the Galapagos and the ethics of conservation invade our Xbox; a mule grows weary of his unrewarding office job and unfulfilling relationships. Exploring the victories and defeats of an urban existence complete with 9-to-5 office angst, the claustrophobia of domestic partnerships in bachelor apartments, and party-and-pick-up culture, Decline of the Animal Kingdom is Laura Clarke’s love letter to the city of Toronto, and to extinct animals and office misfits alike.