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

1st Printing Features: Ebook version

The Book of X (Ebook) (PREORDER)

a novel by
Sarah Rose Etter

$ 9.99 $ 10.99
LIST PRICE: $17.99
PAGES: 284
PRINT ISBN: 9781937512811
DIGITAL ISBN: 9781937512828
RELEASE DATE: 7/16/2019


"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


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: 
The Adroit Journal, Issue 28: "Four Vision from The Book of X"


Coming soon! To schedule a reading event with the author, please get in touch via our contact form here.


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'

“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

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

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

"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

“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

Praise for Sarah Rose Etter's Tongue Party (Caketrain Press):
"If these stories were films, they’d be early Hal Hartley meets John Waters."
—Tara Murtha, Philadelphia Weekly

"Though the volume feels thin in your hand, don’t let this fool you; the collection is packed full of gorgeous, jarring stories."
—Blythe Davenport, Philadelphia Stories

"Watching each beautiful, terrifying, utterly bizarre story unfold is part of what makes reading this cohesive collection so enjoyable."
—Melissa Reddish, Emprise Review

"It’s like nothing you have ever read before."
A Little Tete-A-Tete

"[Etter is a] literary sniper—these brief fables are single shots to the dome. She needs no more than a page or two to bring you to your knees."
—Dawn West, PANK Magazine

"There’s a visceral quality to these stories that sometimes calls to mind the work of Brian Evenson."
—Tobias Carroll, Volume 1 Brooklyn

"This book is an odd look at relationships, a bit of mirror, a bit of shattered mirror glass, I mean to say a sharpened edge that might just hold our own face."
—Sean Lovelace, HTML Giant


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):



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


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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