"Those Who Knew speaks with uncommon prescience to the swirl around us. Novey writes, with acuity and depth, about questions of silence, power, and complicity. The universe she has created is imagined, and all too real." --Rebecca Traister, author of All the Single Ladies
From the award-winning author of Ways to Disappear, a taut, timely novel about what a powerful politician thinks he can get away with and the group of misfits who finally bring him down.
On an unnamed island country ten years after the collapse of a U.S.-supported regime, Lena suspects the powerful senator she was involved with back in her student activist days is taking advantage of a young woman who's been introducing him at rallies. When the young woman ends up dead, Lena revisits her own fraught history with the senator and the violent incident that ended their relationship.
Why didn't Lena speak up then, and will her family's support of the former regime still impact her credibility? What if her hunch about this young woman's death is wrong?
What follows is a riveting exploration of the cost of staying silent and the mixed rewards of speaking up in a profoundly divided country. Those Who Knew confirms Novey's place as an essential new voice in American fiction.
About the Author
Idra Novey is the award-winning author of the novel Ways to Disappear. Her work has been translated into ten languages and she's translated numerous authors from Spanish and Portuguese, most recently Clarice Lispector. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.
A Vulture Book to Read This Fall A Nylon Book You'll Want to Read This Fall A Rumpus Book Club Upcoming Selection A HuffPost Fall 2018 Book We Can't Wait to Read A New York Observer Book You Should Be Reading This Fall A Millions Most Anticipated Book of 2018 An American Booksellers Association Indie Next Pick
“The explosive novel everyone should be reading this fall.” —New York Observer
“During what are arguably our own Terrible Years, with truth and justice blurred nearly every day, Those Who Knew is as urgent as a ticking time bomb.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“In this provocative, beautifully written novel, Idra Novey explores timely issues—the cost of speaking up versus the cost of staying silent—with an insight and clarity that are altogether timeless.” —Nylon
“The second novel by the poet-translator, whose debut, Ways to Disappear, put her on a short list of boundary-busting young mystery authors, works in a dash of dystopia, untangling the dark history of a progressive senator ten years after the fall of a dictatorship.” —New York
“Almost exactly a year after the Me Too floodgates opened, this novel takes a closer look at the fallout of a powerful figure’s abuse.” —Huffington Post
“There’s an urgent timeliness to this story of the crimes committed by a powerful man, but Idra Novey’s riveting, formally brilliant novel transcends any particular moment. Those Who Knew is a devastating inquiry into the way lofty ideals can serve as cover for brutal impulses, the way struggles for control of the body politic wreak havoc on actual bodies. Most of all, it’s an indictment, at once fierce and compassionate, of the collective silence that implicates us all in irrevocable wrongs.” —Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You
“Genius. That’s what I kept thinking as I read this novel that somehow combines an invented island, a political bookstore, fragments of a stage production, and a story that's at once a damning critique of craven self-interest and a tale about our inescapable connectedness. Idra Novey has written an irreverent, magical, perfect puzzle of a book.” —Cristina Henriquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans
“Those Who Knew is a beautiful novel about that which we cannot deny, in ourselves or others, and the price we are too often willing to pay for what we think is like freedom.” —Alexander Chee, author of Queen of the Night
“Novey’s writing is so singularly vibrant . . . Dreamy and jarring and exceedingly topical.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Propulsive . . . Novey’s storytelling is taut and her diction sharp . . . The book [has a] striking sense of momentum. Add in a slight and intriguing sense of the supernatural, and the result is a provocative novel that has the feel of a thriller.” —Publishers Weekly
“The personal is political in this new novel from Novey. . . . By concentrating on the interconnected and very personal stories of each [character], Novey negotiates the surreal reality of an aging port city that is both victim and beneficiary of globalization. . . . Highly recommended.” —Library Journal
“Novey creates a landscape in which her characters may represent, or sometimes hide, their nation, class, or station in life. Yet her women overcome such barriers and join together, revealing what they know in order to effect change . . . a modern parable.” —Booklist