The term vulnerable realism can imply two different understandings: one presenting weak realism as incomplete, and mixed with other literary styles; the other bringing realistic vulnerable experience into narration. The second is the key concern of this work, though it does not exclude the first, as it asks questions about realism as such, entering into a polemic with the tradition of literary realism. Realism, then, is not primarily understood as a narrative style, but as a narration that tests the probability of nonhuman vulnerable experience and makes it real.
The book consists of three parts. The first presents examples of how realism has been redefined in trauma studies and how it may refer to animal experience. The second explores what is added to the narrative by literature, including the animal perspective (the zoonarrative) and how it is conducted (zoocriticism). The third analyses cultural texts, such as painting, circuses, and memorials, which realistically generate animal vulnerability and provide non-anthropocentric frameworks, anchoring our knowledge in the experience of fragile historical reality.