Name All the Animals: A Memoir (Paperback)

Name All the Animals: A Memoir By Alison Smith Cover Image
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The critically acclaimed, heartbreaking memoir that is at once a gorgeous, profound, and redemptive story of a family holding desperately to the memory of a lost child; and a touching, intelligent, and inspiring coming-out story.

A luminous, true story, Name All the Animals is an unparalleled account of grief and secret love: the tale of a family clinging to the memory of a lost child, and of a young woman struggling to define herself in the wake of his loss. As children, siblings Alison and Roy Smith were so close that their mother called them by one name, Alroy. But when Alison was fifteen, she woke one day to learn that Roy, eighteen, was dead.

Heartbreaking but hopeful, this extraordinary memoir explores the aftermath of Roy’s death: his parents’ enduring romance, the faith of a deeply religious community, and the excitement and anguish of Alison's first love—a taboo relationship that opens up a world beyond the death of her brother.

About the Author

Alison Smith has been a resident at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. Her writing has appeared in McSweeney's and various anthologies. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Please visit

Praise For…

"Alison Smith has written a beautiful, completely unsentimental memoir so full of love and sorrow and the stuff of everyday that you live in it as much as read it."
-- Anna Quindlen

"Stunning...[a] story of survival and sexual awakening."
-- O, The Oprah Magazine

"Smith writes with such assured distance that this quiet examination of grief reads more like biography than autobiography, and displays a novelist's gift for revealing character."
-- Newsweek

"Makes time stand still and your coffee go cold beside you."
-- Elissa Schappell, The New York Times Book Review

"Sometimes a friend will ask you about a book you've read and everything you say winds up sounding inadequate. Name All the Animals is that kind of book....This is the story of my life, too, told so I finally understand it. Which, in the memoir department, means that it is pretty perfect."
-- Anna Quindlen, Book-of-the-Month Club judge, writing in BOMC News

Product Details
ISBN: 9780743255233
ISBN-10: 0743255232
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: February 22nd, 2005
Pages: 352
Language: English