Joy Williams

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Harrow

book | Fiction | Sep 2021
US → Knopf (Ed. Deb Garrison)

In her first novel since The Quick and the Dead (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize), the legendary writer takes us into an uncertain landscape after an environmental apocalypse, a world in which only the man-made has value, but some still wish to salvage the authentic.

Khristen is a teenager who, her mother believes, was marked by greatness as a baby when she died for a moment and then came back to life. After Khristen's failing boarding school for gifted teens closes its doors, and she finds that her mother has disappeared, she ranges across the dead landscape and washes up at a "resort" on the shores of a mysterious, putrid lake the elderly residents there call "Big Girl." In a rotting honeycomb of rooms, these old ones plot actions to punish corporations and people they consider culpable in the destruction of the final scraps of nature's beauty. What will Khristen and Jeffrey, the precocious ten-year-old boy she meets there, learn from this "baggy seditious lot, in the worst of health but with kamikaze hearts, determined to refresh, through crackpot violence, a plundered earth"?

Rivetingly strange and beautiful, and delivered with Williams's searing, deadpan wit, Harrow is their intertwined tale of paradise lost and of their reasons — against all reasonableness — to try and recover something of it.

Rights

Sophie Baker manages the translation rights for Harrow

Translation Rights Sold

Spanish
World
Seix Barral
Reviews

“[Harrow is a] wonderfully goading satire… a work of strange, disruptive “holy havoc,” [which] presents a ship of fools adrift in a drowning world.”

The Wall Street Journal

“Williamsʼ tone is caustic and discomfiting; it brings to mind the moment in which we are living, when matters of science and public health are regularly ridiculed or redirected in favor of political or economic platitudes….“Harrow” is a piece of writing in the vein of Samuel Beckett or Franz Kafka, its humor weaponized by rage.”

David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times


"In a new novel, the author's dark, surprising language mourns for the world we've demolished."

The New Yorker



"To read Williams is to look into the abyss. She places her characters against bigness—the Arizona sky, the rocky Maine shoreline—in order to show us exactly how small they, and we, are[...],"


The Atlantic

"Who better than Williams to capture pure-hearted but absurd efforts to retrieve paradise lost?”


The Millions

“Balancing creeping despair with mordant humor and piquant strangeness . . . Williams asks if hope and compassion, reason and responsibility can survive once the wonders of wild and flourishing nature have been utterly destroyed. Brilliantly and exquisitely shrewd and unnerving.”


Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)

"To read Williams is to look into the abyss. She places her characters against bigness—the Arizona sky, the rocky Maine shoreline—in order to show us exactly how small they, and we, are[...],"


The Atlantic

“Williams’s voice is unique and spectacular. She describes things in ways you never knew you needed to hear.”


Erin Lyndal Martin, BookBrowse

"She practices ... camouflage, except that instead of adapting to its environment, Williams’s imagination, by remaining true to itself, reveals new colorations in the ecology around her.”


A.O Scott, The New York Times

"In a new novel, the author's dark, surprising language mourns for the world we've demolished."

The New Yorker

“[Harrow is a] wonderfully goading satire… a work of strange, disruptive “holy havoc,” [which] presents a ship of fools adrift in a drowning world.”

The Wall Street Journal

Representation
Books
Amanda Urban
+1 212 556 5600
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Books
Karolina Sutton
+44 (0)20 7393 4428
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Translation Rights
Claire Nozieres
+44 (0)20 7393 4425
Email Claire Nozieres