Release date: 3rd August 2024
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Our Familiars: The meaning of animals in our lives
About the Book:
How do animals guard, serve, and care for us? And how and why do we love them so much?
Anne Coombs spent her entire life working to understand the profound answers that come from these two deceptively simple questions. Before her death in late 2021 she researched the topic extensively and reflected deeply on her own experiences with animals, both domestic and in the paddocks. The animals in her life were privy to her deepest and darkest emotions: her despair, her tears and her love.
In Our Familiars Anne calls for all animal caregivers to use our great creative imaginations to see animals as conducting lives as meaningful as our own, intersecting in our intimate spaces. She has left us with a beautiful meditation on the awe-inspiring responsibility we take on with other living creatures: from their containment and loss of freedom, to our intense and mysteriously mutual love.
Opening with the story of Anne’s childhood familiar, Elsie the goat, this tender book takes us on an expansive journey that is part personal memoir, part insightful research, and part noble call to action.
With her last book, Anne leaves us an invaluable gift. With wit, humour, and insight, she implores us to feel wonder as we watch how our animal companions live.
About the Author:
Anne Coombs was a journalist, author, political activist, and philanthropist. She authored five books, including No Man’s Land (Simon & Schuster, 1993), Sex and Anarchy: The life and death of the Sydney Push (Viking, 1996) and Broometime (Hodder Headline, 2001), co-authored with Susan Varga. Her final novel, Glass Houses, was published in 2023 by Upswell.
Anne was one of the founders of Rural Australians for Refugees. She was a board member and chair of GetUp! She shared a passion with her partner for a fairer Australia, advocating for refugees and people seeking asylum.
In recent years Anne was a frequent essayist and commentator, and a regular contributor to the Griffith Review. She also wrote a feature film script set in Australia’s far north, currently being developed for production.
Anne died at her Exeter home in December 2021.