WINNER OF THE 2019 GOLDSMITHS PRIZE • SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2019 BOOKER PRIZE • A NEW YORKER BEST BOOK OF 2019 • A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2019 • A TIME MUST-READ BOOK OF 2019 • A WASHINGTON POST NOTABLE WORK OF FICTION 2019 • A CHICAGO TRIBUNE BEST BOOK OF 2019 • A GLOBE & MAIL BOOK THAT SHAPED 2019 • A BOOK RIOT BEST BOOK OF 2019 • A TIMES CRITICS’ TOP BOOK OF 2019 • A TORONTO STAR TOP TEN BOOK OF 2019
Baking a multitude of tartes tatins for local restaurants, an Ohio housewife contemplates her four kids, husband, cats and chickens. Also, America’s ignoble past, and her own regrets. She is surrounded by dead lakes, fake facts, Open Carry maniacs, and oodles of online advice about survivalism, veil toss duties, and how to be more like Jane Fonda. But what do you do when you keep stepping on your son’s toy tractors, your life depends on stolen land and broken treaties, and nobody helps you when you get a flat tire on the interstate, not even the Abominable Snowman? When are you allowed to start swearing?
With a torrent of consciousness and an intoxicating coziness, Ducks, Newburyport lays out a whole world for you to tramp around in, by turns frightening and funny. A heart-rending indictment of America’s barbarity, and a lament for the way we are blundering into environmental disaster, this book is both heresy—and a revolution in the novel.
A Toronto Public Library Fall 2021 Pick
An Independent Best Book of 2021
“It’s somehow hard not to be optimistic in the hands of a writer so angry and intelligent.”—Patrick Ness, Guardian
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold. As Yeats pointed out, things have a lot to answer for. These satirical essays jauntily tackle the obstinacy, incorrigibility, and recalcitrance of things, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s unimpressive descriptions of the construction of bobsleds and door latches, and the way we try to stand on our own two feet, put our best foot forward, remain footloose and fancy-free, and inevitably put our foot in it. They also cover the first suggestion the internet offers when you look up the word ‘women’ (spoiler: it’s shoes) and other annoyances (some fatal) of male supremacy, the nobility of buttons, and what the rejection of tourists by Jordanian donkeys should mean for global travel (stop!). Ingrid Bergman and Jane Austen come into it somewhere (Helen Gurley Brown was forcibly removed).
Early versions of some of these essays have appeared in international outlets of record, but others are brand-new and ready for your delectation.
Illustrations by Diana Hope.