The Book of X a novel by Sarah Rose Etter (Two Dollar Radio, 2019)

1st Printing Features: Ebook version

The Book of X (Ebook)

a novel by
Sarah Rose Etter


$ 9.99 $ 10.99

ABOUT

"Etter brilliantly, viciously lays bare what it means to be a woman in the world, what it means to hurt, to need, to want, so much it consumes everything.”
—Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist

"Etter writes her weird world with elastic prose, as stripped-down at certain points as it is lyrical in others... a powerful novel."
—Bradley Babendir, Minneapolis Star-Tribune


Synopsis

A surreal exploration of one woman’s life and death against a landscape of meat, office desks, and bad men.

The Book of X tells the tale of Cassie, a girl born with her stomach twisted in the shape of a knot. From childhood with her parents on the family meat farm, to a desk job in the city, to finally experiencing love, she grapples with her body, men, and society, all the while imagining a softer world than the one she is in. Twining the drama of the everyday — school-age crushes, paying bills, the sickness of parents — with the surreal — rivers of thighs, men for sale and fields of throats — Cassie’s realities alternate to create a blurred, fantastic world of haunting beauty.


Read an excerpt of the novel here:
Last Exit: An Excerpt from The Book of X: “Vision (Cemetery Game)”

Read an excerpt of the novel here:
Guernica : "An Excerpt from The Book of X"

Read an excerpt of the novel here:
The Adroit Journal, Issue 28: "Four Vision from The Book of X"

Events

EVENTS:
(Also visit the author's website, sarahroseetter.com, for a complete list of future and past events.)

Friday, July 26, 2019
The Book of X Release Party!
Featuring: Tommy Pico & Trisha Low
The Bindery @ 7PM
San Francisco, CA

Saturday, July 27, 2019
Last Exit Lit
Featuring: Tommy Pico, Kristen Arnett, and more!
You Belong Here @ 7PM
San Diego, CA

Sunday, July 28, 2019
In Conversation with Tommy Pico
Skylight Books @ 5PM
Los Angeles, CA

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
In Conversation with Rita Bullwinkel
Green Apple Books on the Park @ 7:30PM
San Francisco, CA

Saturday, August 10, 2019
Writers With Drinks! Hosted by Charlie Jane Anders!
Make Out Room @ 7:30PM
San Francisco, CA

Friday, August 23, 2019
Counterpath with Jaime Fountaine & Kali Fajardo-Anstine
Counterpath Event Space @ 7:30PM
Denver, CO

Saturday, August 24, 2019
Innisfree with Jaime Fountaine & Steven Dunn
Innisfree Bookstore @ 7:30PM
Boulder, CO

Friday, September 6, 2019
Arts & Lectures Reading Series
Quail Ridge Bookstore @ 7PM
Raleigh, NC

Saturday, September 7, 2019
A Panel on Writing with Jeff Jackson & Superchunk
Hopscotch Music Festival @ 2:30PM
Raleigh, NC

Monday, September 9, 2019
East Coast Book Launch!
Featuring Halle Butler, Katharine Faw, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, and Aaron Robertson
Franklin Park Reading Series @ 7PM
Brooklyn, NYC

Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Rosemont College Reading Series
Rosemont College @ 7PM
Rosemont, PA

Thursday, September 12, 2019
Pop-Up Appearance at TireFire Reading Series
Tattooed Mom @ 7PM
Philadelphia, PA

Friday, September 13, 2019
Philadelphia Book Launch: In Conversation with Carmen Maria Machado
Paradigm Gallery @ 7PM
Philadelphia, PA

Reviews

Scroll to bottom for Goodreads reviews.

"Sarah Rose Etter's The Book of X is dizzying and grotesque—and I say that with the utmost love. It's an astute exploration of humanity and the body—specifically the female body—through the lens of young Cassie... Etter has built an eerie, surreal world... and she seduces you into it with dreamy lyricism. You won't want to leave."
—Arianna Rebolini, BuzzFeed News, '29 Summer Books To Get Excited About'

"A psychologically resonant tale of coming of age and the search for identity."
Vol.1 Brooklyn 'July 2019 Book Preview'

“In the utterly unique and remarkable The Book of X, Sarah Rose Etter takes the surreal and expertly shapes it into a portrait that is as beautiful and compelling as it is horrifying and unbearable... Etter brilliantly, viciously lays bare what it means to be a woman in the world, what it means to hurt, to need, to want, so much it consumes everything.”
—Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist

"I loved every page of this gorgeous, grotesque, heartbreaking novel."
—Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties

"Etter writes her weird world with elastic prose, as stripped-down at certain points as it is lyrical in others... a powerful novel."
—Bradley Babendir, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"This surrealist debut is an exploration of loneliness, toxic masculinity, and the unrealistic expectations placed on women’s bodies."
Electric Literature, "We've curated a list of indie titles from 2019 to add to your TBR"

"[Etter] understands the human condition and perfectly put into words the struggle of being a woman in this world. This has been my favorite book of the year by far and has wholly blown me away."
—Christy Rogers, Avid Bookshop (Athens, GA)

"Etter has created that rare beast: an effective, startling poetic novel. Its story is coherent and progressive; Cassie herself is intensely sympathetic. The book is unconventional but engaging, and eminently readable."
—Annette Lapointe, New York Journal of Books

"I definitely enjoyed this book... it's really good and one I'll be thinking about for a while."
—Reading Women Podcast
, Ep. 68.5 | "Most Anticipated Reads of 2019 Pt.2"

"In this novel, Etter makes the surreal seem not that far off. With slight, dramatic twists of reality, The Book of X gets weird in the best way possible. From the first to the last page, there is no space for pause. Prepare to be left thinking about this book long after you’ve finished it."
—Jaylynn Korrell, Independent Book Review

"Etter's prose-like novel is a taunt, visceral meditation on the female body from childhood to adulthood in the life of Cassie... Etter's writing is so powerful and bracing."
—Lauren Nopenz Fairley, Curious Iguana Bookstore (Frederick, MA)

"What won me over was Etter’s superb prose style, which inevitably must be described in images of meat: muscular, lean, chewy with blood and beauty, rich with a peculiar iron humor."
—Theodore McCombs, Fiction Unbound

"It's amazing... A surreal telling of the female experience... Incredible and original."
—Liberty Hardy, All the Books! Podcast (Ep 217), BookRiot

"Penned in succinct, poetic prose, Etter’s surreal debut is exactly as grotesque and horrifying as young adulthood."
—Courtney Eathorne, Booklist

"[Etter] has crafted a strange and surreal novel that serves as a reminder that while we might carry our afflictions with us wherever we go, it’s up to us whether we let our burdens define us. The Book of X looks like an experimental novel, but feels like a classic."
—Jim Ruland, San Diego CityBeat

"A new kind of narrative. It’s riveting, it’s hilarious, it’s sad, it’s beautiful. It’s one of my favorite books of the year."
—Nicholas Rys, Vol.1 Brooklyn

"What makes Etter’s work original and interesting is her frank examination of sexual desire and her feminist interrogation of the idea of the female body as mere decoration or passive vessel."
—Elizabeth Mosier, Cleaver Mag

"With compellingly strange imagery and sharp, spare writing, Sarah Rose Etter has composed a small masterpiece... one of the best novels of 2019."
—Caleb Masters, Bookmarks Bookstore (Winston-Salem, NC)

"With poetic prose and haunting honesty, The Book of X cuts clean to the tangled heart of femininity, unwinding one woman’s story to reflect a familiar self."
—Danielle Ballantyne, Foreword Reviews

"A haunting and twisted story that will form a knot in your mind. The surreal imagery is tightly tethered to our waking nightmares of misogyny and capitalism and yet Etter finds a space for tenderness within the walls of the meat farm."
—Luis Correa, 
Avid Bookshop (Athens, GA)

"A relentlessly original look at what it means to exist in a female body."
Kirkus Reviews

A "Literati Insisto" Subscription pick for the month for July 2019.
Literati Bookstore (Ann Arbor, MI)

"Etter’s ultrastylized and surreal debut casts a reflection that, like a carnival mirror, points aptly... at humanity’s defects. Etter’s coming-of-age story builds intrigue as it morphs into a portrait of a young woman adrift."
Publisher's Weekly

"A visceral novel that cuts to what it means to live as a woman under the male gaze in a patriarchal society. The surreal story of Cassie... is both painful and relatable as she attempts to navigate a world that shuns the body she's in, and still fulfill the desires and fix the wounds that burn within her. Etter's prose is both lyrical and brutal—filled with surprising and beautiful imagery—driving the story to its heartbreaking and haunting ending."
—Kelsey Westenberg,
Seminary Co-op/57th Street Books (Chicago, IL)

"Etter’s novel puts the magnifying glass not over a future world, but the one we already wake up to every day."
—Nate Logan, Fanzine

"This novel is an incredible example of surrealism in current literary fiction... It is one of the most visceral, mind-bending reading experiences I have had in a very long time."
—Beth Mowbray, The Nerd Daily

"The Book of X finds the perfect balance between prose and poetry—the beautiful and grotesque... is a beautiful story of struggle, femaleness, and the pains and disappointments of life."
—Rachel Gonzalez, 
Paperback Paris

"Etter brings the sensibilities of poetry to her fiction and is unparalleled as a maker of magical realism today. You will not forget her imagery, metaphor, and haunting characterizations."
—Elizabeth Scanlon, Philebrity

"Sarah Rose Etter has... created space for the figurative and the real to run together in juicy and pink-tinged liquid—between the visions and the narrations of Cassie X and between the physical experience of Cassie's tangled body and the world around her. The fact that Etter's done all of this in one book makes her not only one of the most ambitious writers I've read in recent memory but also the most original... This book is gruesome, neurotic, diseased, dismembered, held in the fetal position, and absolutely, absolutely brilliant."
—Afton Montgomery, Tattered Cover Book Store (Denver, CO)

“Insightful and incisive, this book cuts deep into the failing heart of the feminine mystique. Etter is a surgeon.”
—Amelia Gray, author of Isadora and Gutshot

The Book of X traverses the mundane and the surreal—from grocery lists to blooming meat, menstrual blood to a jealousy removal shop—laying bare the absurdities of womanhood. A truly original writer, Etter continues to push the boundaries of her imagination...and ours.”
—Melissa Broder, author of The Pisces

“Taut, macabre, with wounds electric, The Book of X will take your head off while staring dead-on into your eyes. Move over, Angela Carter, there's a new boss in the Meat Quarry, and she is fearless, relentless, ready to feast.”
—Blake Butler, author of There Is No Year and 300,000,000

“Sarah Rose Etter is a visionary. Perfectly paced, structurally audacious, and endlessly inventive—The Book of X is our new Revelation. Actually it's better than that. Etter's prose digs with emotion and a thousand unforgettable images. They just twist themselves deeper and deeper into your guts. It'll probably take years to cut them out.”
—Scott McCLanahan, author of The Sarah Book and Crapalachia

Author

Sarah Rose Etter

Sarah Rose Etter is the author of Tongue Party (Caketrain Press). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Cut, Electric Literature, VICE, Guernica, Philadelphia Weekly, and more. She is the recipient of writing residencies at the Disquiet International Program in Portugal, and the Gullkistan Creative Program in Iceland. She earned her MFA from Rosemont College. She lives in San Francisco.

Sneak Peek

Enjoy a sneak peek of select pages from The Book of X! (Use the “full screen” option at bottom right to enlarge the pages):

 

info

FORMAT: Paperback
LIST PRICE: $17.99
PAGES: 284
PRINT ISBN: 9781937512811
DIGITAL ISBN: 978-1-937512-82-8
RELEASE DATE: 7/16/2019
SIZE: 5.5" x 7.5"

Printed in Canada by Marquis, with the following environmental statement:
*Printed on Rolland Enviro. This paper contains 100% post-consumer fiber, is manufactured using renewable energy - Biogas and processed chlorine free.
*FSC certified paper (inside and cover). 

Paper Rolland Enviro icons

Guide

Click here to view and/or download as PDF.

Book Club and Reader Guide: Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. Much of The Book of X is focused on Cassie, the main character, being born in the shape of a knot, a hereditary condition passed down from the female side of her family. What parallels can you draw between this surreal physical condition and your body? Do you find the idea of the knot to be effective as a literary device? Why or why not?

2. Cassie’s relationship with her mother is marked with difficulty, as her mother constantly attempts to “improve” her—whether through weight loss, dresses, or new makeup. How would you have improved or distanced yourself from this relationship if you were Cassie? Are the actions of the mother enough to warrant the ending of that relationship? Do Cassie and her mother love each other?

3. The Meat Quarry represents a forbidden place to Cassie for much of the book. When she’s finally allowed into the Meat Quarry, it turns out she’s excellent at harvesting. What did you think the Meat Quarry represented? How did the Meat Quarry function as both a place and a character in the novel?

4. Cassie’s relationship with her father is much warmer than that with her mother. They laugh and joke, despite his drinking. Does Cassie have a real relationship with her father, or are they more like friends? What role does his death play—and why does it impact her so greatly?

5. Throughout the book, Cassie is haunted by visions of another life—one which she describes as better than her current life. However, those visions often veer into the horrifying. How did her visions drive the story for you? What impact did they have on your understanding of her as a character? Which visions were the most impactful?

6. After Cassie moves to the city, she is forced to adjust her understanding of the world. How does this change in location impact her mentality? What does the city represent to Cassie? Have you ever moved to a new place and felt the same displacement Cassie faces?

7. Cassie’s relationship with men throughout the book is marked with assault, rejection, and finally love. How do these different experiences shape her as a person? Does her relationship with Henry represent real love, imaginary love, or flawed love? How does love function throughout the book as a part of Cassie’s life? Do you relate to her experiences? Are there right or wrong ways to love someone?

8. After her surgery, Cassie believes her life will improve. How does Cassie’s relationship to her body change or stay the same after surgery? Is there any marked difference in her life? How is her surgery a rejection of her lineage? How are our bodies a reflection of ourselves—and how are they not?

9. Surrealism plays a major part in the portrayal of Cassie’s life. How did you respond to this technique? What imagery or scenes resonated with you? How did surrealism help or hurt the plot of the novel?

10. The death of Cassie’s father leads to the final outcome of the book. Why was his death such a pivotal moment for her? How could she have faced her own pain differently?

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