Fauna is set 17 years into the future. Stacey and Isak are having an IVF baby to add to their family of 2 children, but this baby will be different. It is part of an experimental research project where the parents' genes have been edited to include some additional genes. They have been offered substantial financial support to have the baby, a baby much longed for by Stacey in particular who has previously suffered a miscarriage. The baby is also highly valuable to the research company LifeBlood whose motives in ‘designing’ the baby are not fully known.
As Stacey’s pregnancy progresses, the monitoring of her increases and becomes more invasive. The unknown aspects of the child they are giving life to causes apprehension and rifts in Stacey and Isak’s relationship, and Isak especially starts to question why they got involved.
When baby Asta is born, Stacey becomes obsessed with her, sometimes to the detriment of the rest of her family and relationships. As Asta grows and her fate becomes clearer, Stacey takes action to try and save her daughter.
Fauna is a touching and thought-provoking literary novel, with some lovely descriptive passages. It raises questions around fertility, genetic modification, ethics, motherhood, science and the environment and the possibilities of the future. I highly recommended Fauna if you like Literary fiction and enjoy descriptive prose. Fans of Charlotte Wood and Tim Winton will enjoy this one. It is also interesting fodder for bookclub discussions.
Fauna is available as a physical copy, and as an eBook and audiobook through our always available collection on Overdrive.