Even in her first book, published when she was nineteen, she was fond of the exquisite abstraction:
The dark, murky night was cut in half, separated into two sombre blocks of sleep. Where was she? Between the two halves, seeing them—the half she had already slept and the half she still had to sleep—isolated in the timeless and in the spaceless, in an empty gap. That interval would be discounted from the years of life.
—Near to the Wild Heart
Furthermore, her relationship to animals grew increasingly spiritual, taking Spinoza's pantheism into the heart of both her life (dogs were often her closest friends) and her work. In some of her narratives animals seem a stay against the abyss; other times they reflect that abyss in their eyes, in a manner resembling a destroying lover. She sometimes pits an animal and a person in a dialectic of mutual assassination. She is interested in the complexity of a creature: the eyes of a cockroach; the mute, humid hippopotamus; cats mistaken for suckling pigs.