“Original, startling and assured, with shades of Camilla Grudova and Eric La Rocca.”

— Priya Sharma, author of All the Fabulous Beasts and Pomegranates

“Leonie Rowland’s prose is wise, wry and deliciously subversive. Her short stories in This Time of Life is Meant for Savages are by turns bewildering, bleak and beautiful; the tales shimmer with dreamlike menace. Reading this collection is like a game of Guess Which Hand, wherein you’re not sure if a handful of rose petals will be revealed or a razor blade.”

— Adam Z. Robinson, author of Shivers and The Book of Darkness and Light

“Leonie Rowland is an absolute marvel, and I adored this eclectic set of sinister short stories, sublime prose poems and strangely beautiful photographs that occupy and interrogate liminal spaces. In This Time of Life is Meant for Savages, Rowland subverts reader expectations and manipulates classic tropes with the deft skill of a master puppeteer. Exploring carnal urges and corporeal horrors, her characters hover in the gaps between leaving and arriving, fight and flight, animal and human, love and death. Rowland also plays with temporality in a way that is fresh and exciting, warping the reader’s sense of stability and surety of place to create a world of surreality that is latently unsettling from the first page to the last. Surprising, stylish and self-assured, this is a fantastic collection from a writer who dares us to embrace the peculiarities of her imagination in order to confront our own lives in new ways.”

— HLR, author of History of Present Complaint and EX-CETERA

What is your intention for this collection? How do you want to make your readers feel?

Horror for me has always been permission to feel fully, which is something my characters struggle to do. They are stuck between what is said and what is meant—a place I often find myself. When I am writing, this is a very creative place to be, but when I am living, it can be very disconcerting. I hope the people reading my work feel both of these things.

On this subject, it still amazes me that we are able to respond instantly in conversation! 

Someone speaks to you, and without really thinking, you know what to say. Whether or not it’s the right thing is a different story… and perhaps the only good one. So many painful and lovely things come from misunderstanding and then trying to understand.

Readings from the book