Jonathan Dee

Books Amanda Urban, +1 212 556 5600 Email Amanda Urban

The Locals

US & Canada Random House (Ed. Noah Eaker)
UK & Comm Constable & Robinson (Ed. James Gurbutt)
Jul 2017

Mark Firth, a contractor who specializes in restoring old houses, is trying to restore his own life and marriage after a disastrous foray into the investment world results in him losing his family’s savings to a con man. 

Howland, the small New England town where Mark lives, its economy dependent on summer residents, is struggling too. Then one day, in the wake of 9/11, one of those summer residents – a sentimental, paranoid New York billionaire named Philip Hadi – decides that the city is no longer safe from attack and moves his own family to tiny Howland full-time. Before long, the people of Howland begin to turn to Hadi for their political and economic salvation – and then, rightly or wrongly, to turn against him, leading to a kind of institutional vacuum in which the citizenry’s most heartless instincts are turned loose.

Jonathan Dee’s new novel finds in the lives and conflicts of one community the traces of America’s transformation from the unabashed unity that followed 9/11 to the angry Janus-face of today: the passionate distrust of government, the intractably polarized political discourse, and the mainstreaming of the belief that somebody – the state, or foreign invaders, or my own neighbor -- is bent on stealing from me what’s mine.


Helen Manders manages the translation rights for The Locals

Audio Rights


The audio rights are handled by Random House.

Film Rights


Contact Amanda Urban for more information

Translation Rights Sold

Nieuw Amsterdam
Editions Plon
Fazi Editore
Grup Media Litera

'A palpable contract between the very rich and the people who distrust them the least,’ Joan Didion once said of the Getty Villa. Jonathan Dee understands this impossible, enduring contract, sometimes called populism – other times, theft – as well as Didion does. The Locals might be the first great Occupy novel of the Twenty-First Century.

Rachel Kushner

In this moving study of how the housing bubble’s burst sets a small town’s citizens against each other, Jonathan Dee tells a must-read story for our age. Class struggle, tyranny, America’s disillusionment after 9/11 – The Locals creates a delicately drawn world impossible to forget.

Mary Karr

There could not be a more timely novel than The Locals. It examines the American self and American selfishness from 9/11 until today. Jonathan Dee has given us a master-class in empathy and compassion. A vital book.

Nathan Hill

Jonathan Dee's manner is so forthright, his approach so quietly intelligent and direct, his small-town America with its dreams and ambitions and sense of order and rectitude so familiar, we realize we have acknowledged nothing particularly alarming about our weakening grasp on a functioning democracy. Hiding in plain sight is the blueprint of our decline - our easy corruptibility and willed ignorance, our ethical wobbliness and eagerness to sanitize history. An absolutely riveting novel that dares to prod us awake. Whoever has ears let them hear...Indeed.

Joy Williams

A bold, vital, and view-expanding novel that thrills technically and emotionally. Jonathan Dee, big-hearted and masterful, summons up a small American town at precisely the right moment in our history, using his signature gifts (fairness, poetic precision in the language, affection for all) to cast light over a dark time- to suggest the root cause of our political problems, but also a way forward.

George Saunders

Small-town America in the aftermath of 9/11 is the setting for Dee’s engrossing new novel. His blue-collar characters, each of them pursuing the American Dream, are vividly developed, and his insights into how they think about the government (ineffective and corrupt) and their rights as citizens (ignored, trampled) are timely ... Dee, who wrote about a wealthy segment of society in The Privileges, handles the plot with admirable skill, finding empathy for his bewildered characters. He creates tension as a reckoning day arrives, and strikes the perfect ending note.

Starred Review
Publishers Weekly

Good old social novels are hard to come by these days, great ones harder still. Leave it to Dee to fill the void with a book that’s not only great but so frighteningly timely that the reader will be forced to wonder how he managed to compose it before the last election cycle.

Eugenia Williamson
Starred Review, Booklist

An absorbing panorama of small-town life and a study of democracy in miniature, with both the people and their polity facing real and particular contemporary pressures

Starred Review

No one gets off the moral hook in this propulsive, brilliantly observed study


Amid the heat of today’s vicious political climate, “The Locals” is a smoke alarm. Listen up.

Pocono Record

A steady, intelligent probing of family ties and sibling rivalry and themes that illuminate how we live now — inequality and status envy, individualism and community, the high life and the good life


Dee's characters are vivid, and the emotions raw.

USA Today

Captures the deeply ingrained resentment and disillusion that seem to define the present moment... Mr. Dee busies his small-town canvas with dramatic symptoms of 21st-century American neurosis, from the anthrax scare to a police shooting. The pacing is quick and jumpy, reflecting the nervous state of the characters, and the details are unfailingly - and depressingly - recognizable. 

Sam Sacks
The Wall Street Journal

A compassionate look at the American middle class and what is happening to it and the ways, right and wrong, in which it is responding.

George Saunders
The Guardian

Amanda Urban
+1 212 556 5600
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Felicity Blunt
+44 (0)20 7393 4254
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Translation Rights
Helen Manders
+44 (0)20 7393 4425
Email Helen Manders