Those Who Knew (Hardcover)
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"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.
Praise for Those Who Knew
A Rumpus Book Club Upcoming Selection
“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
Praise for Ways to Disappear
“This lush and tightly woven novel manages to be a meditation on all forms of translation while still charging forward with the momentum of a bullet.”
—Catherine Lacey, New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)
“Novey’s novel delivers on its promises in so many ways. Yes, there’s carnage, but there’s also exuberant love, revelations of long-buried, unhappy secrets, ruminations about what makes a satisfying life . . . this book is seared to perfection.”
—Heller McAlpin, NPR
“Exhilarating . . . Sly, lovely writing . . . In Raquel, Beatriz’s hard-bitten daughter, [Novey] has created a heart-rending portrait of the price someone always ends up paying for genius. A writer to watch.”
―Charles Finch, USA Today
“Sensual and fast-paced, suspenseful and subtle, full of observations about Brazilian life and North American double standards . . . Ways to Disappear is the product of that old advice: write the book you want to read—and Novey wrote this one, with a fellow translator as the lead.”
—Marta Bausells, The Guardian
“It’s impossible to put this book down, or to shake its residue once you’ve finished it.”
—Leslie Jamison, author of The Recovering
“Idra Novey is an enchantress. Her sentences are so surprising and beautiful, her vision of the world so kaleidoscopic, that I fell immediately and permanently under the spell of this glorious novel.”
—Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia
“With all its shimmering brilliance and insight, vividly drawn, beguiling characters, a knowing, unexoticized Brazil, and unabashed story-telling, Ways to Disappear is the most sublime novel I’ve read in a long time.”
—Francisco Goldman, author of Say Her Name