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A Domestic Animal

A Domestic Animal

Francis King’s 1970 novel A Domestic Animal is the story of Antonio Valli, a brilliant young Italian philosopher, who arrives to do a year’s research at a well-to-do university. He lodges with Dick Thompson, a successful middle-aged novelist, and his good looks and impulsive yet immensely likeable character soon have Dick captivated.

Valli is someone who needs to be admired and loved and has an insatiable craving for attention from everyone he meets; he needs an audience to perform to and he finds this at the university, but especially in Dick’s company. It is not long before Dick Thompson has fallen completely in love with his charming – but very heterosexual – lodger. What follows is an ill-fated relationship that can only end in disaster, but in A Domestic Animal King has created a novel of bitter longing and painful complexities.

About the Author

Francis King

Francis King was a novelist, poet, and short story writer. He was born in Switzerland in 1925 and spent his childhood in India. Whilst at The University of Oxford he wrote three novels and then joined the British Council. He was the drama critic of the Sunday Telegraph and reviewed fiction extensively.

He wrote over twenty novels. His books include The Dividing Stream (1951), winner of the 1952 Somerset Maugham Award; A Domestic Animal (1970); and The Nick of Time (2002).