The Book of X (Paperback)
If you like the stories of Kelly Link and Carmen Maria Machado but think, hey these could be weirder, then The Book of X is for you. Can you deal with a woman whose torso is twisted into an X? What about a family that farms meat, like they have a meat quarry where the meat grows and they harvest it by cutting it out of the rock? It’s absolutely revolting. Have I lost you yet? IF NOT, THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU.
Cassie is our strange heroine, the woman with the X for a torso, just like her mother before her. She wants to leave her small town, find love, community, and a job that fulfills her. Do you think perhaps that giant torso X will make that difficult for her? DO YOU?
Sarah Rose Etter has written this strange and beautiful thing—both a polemic on the demands placed on women’s bodies and a truly moving story. It’s really incredible.
— From Stef's Picks
*Winner of the 2019 Shirley Jackson Awards for Novel
*The Believer Book Awards, 2019: Editors' Longlists in Fiction
*The Northern California 'Golden Poppy' Book Awards 2019, Fiction longlist
*2020 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award Longlist
*A Best Book of 2019 --Vulture, Entropy, Buzzfeed, Thrillist
"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.