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‘The Last Animal’ is a bright-eyed meditation on what animates us

What exactly is a family?

Even more profoundly, why is a family?

Entire wings of the literary canon have confronted these questions, usually by framing them within the context of human families only.

Which is why The Last Animal, the latest novel by Ramona Ausubel, soars where so many other books about family dynamics simply coast.

Granted, Ausubel’s tale has a very recognizable family nucleus — a mother and her two teenage daughters, bound by blood yet fractured by tragedy.

Where The Last Animal breaks from the pack is the addition of an…

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