There is a great deal of blood in Lisa Taddeo’s first novel, Animal: multiple miscarriages, rapes, suicides and murders, a gruesome car crash. “I have to tell you,” says the narrator Joan, “that terrible things always happen around me.” But Joan is no mere bystander. Where Taddeo’s smash hit debut Three Women interrogated female desire, here she turns to pain, rage and revenge.

“I think there’s a lot of blood out there,” says Taddeo mildly, of her feminist grand guignol. “Researching my first book I learned that if you’re in a room with ten women, eight or nine have been assaulted in some way. And I know barely anyone who hasn’t had a miscarriage.” The only thing her editor queried was the rape of an elderly woman: “And I said, ‘That actually happened to my grandmother.’ ”

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