***A TIME MAGAZINE, LITHUB, WHITE REVIEW BEST BOOK OF 2021***
"200 pages of serious entertainment." ―The Times
The Life of the Mind opens with Dorothy sitting on a library toilet, checking her phone and examining the “thick, curdled knots of string” coming out of her body. No one but her boyfriend knows that she’s had a miscarriage, not even her therapists–Dorothy has two of them.
An adjunct professor of English in New York City with no hope of finding a permanent position, Dorothy’s stuck, unable to envision the future or cut ties with the past. “What did you call it,” she asks herself, “when a life stopped developing, but it didn’t end?”
Christine Smallwood’s debut is a campus novel like no other. Piercingly intelligent and darkly hilarious, it moves from a classroom to an underwater puppet show, from a conference in Las Vegas to a karaoke party. It is a discomforting glimpse into the head of a brilliant woman on the edge, it is a novel about endings: of youth, of professional aspiration, of possibility, of the illusion that our minds can ever free us from the tyranny of our bodies.
“A jewel of a debut... abundantly satisfying.”
“Brilliant and pleasurable, funny and dark, cerebral and visceral—a must-read for the bleeding human survivors of the modern age.”"The immediate pleasure of this book is its wit: so sharp, caustic and clever. But its concerns reverberate into something more disquieting, and it's ultimately very moving, too.""200 pages of serious entertainment.""Sharp and funny."“Dark and funny….The Life of the Mind observes the lost futures of today’s thirty-somethings.”"A debut with prose as lively as its heroine's mind... funny. and brutal."
"Crisp and assured.""This book made me laugh out loud; its pages are marked by a snorting ungenerous glee that is at times indistinguishable from despair."
“Brilliant... Dorothy’s sharp, witty narration makes this book something special. The result is like the glorious love child of Ottessa Moshfegh and Sally Rooney.”"I loved this debut...A meditation on the gap between what we think and what we do.""One of the wittiest, most deliciously farcical novels I’ve read in a long time.""It isn’t that you must have had an abortion or a miscarriage or a pregnancy or even a vagina to be interested in reading Christine Smallwood’s first novel; it’s whether you have the stamina to spend 230 pages inside a deeply analytical brain struggling to make sense of a body that is itself struggling to process what is happening to it.""Funny and moving and true."
“Hilarious, recognizable, and helplessly wise..”
“That rare thing: an intellectual page-turner that commands one’s attention completely from the first sentence to the final line. In painfully funny prose, Smallwood’s X-ray gaze seeks out the rich seams of anxiety and loneliness running just below the surface of our culture’s exhausting performative enthusiasm, taking in everything from the complex social politics of karaoke to the head-spinning paradoxes of an academic conference in Las Vegas… Essential reading for our troubling times.”
“A wonderful novel about a life (and a mind) that refuses to behave novelistically. The book is smart, sharp, often very funny, and, in its commitment to truth over beauty, absolutely fearless.”
Key Selling Points
- Widely praised by the press and compared to Sally Rooney and Ottessa Moshfegh
- No1 in Dark Humour on Amazon US
- Contemporary feminist fiction
- Major publicity and marketing campaign
|TheLife of the Mind
As a critic, Christine Smallwood is known for her hilarious pieces about Britney Spears, Stephanie Meyer and Werner Herzog. She has written for The New York Times, the New Yorker and Harper’s. Her fiction has appeared in The Paris Review and N+1.