Third Place Books is delighted to welcome Molly McGhee to our Seward Park store! McGhee will be discussing her debut novel, Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind, a stunning, critical work of surrealist fiction, a piercing critique of late-stage capitalism, and a reckoning with its true cost. She will be joined in conversation by local author Samantha Allen. This event is free and open to the public.
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Jonathan Abernathy is a self-proclaimed loser. . . he’s behind on his debts, has no prospects, no friends, and no ambitions. But when a government loan forgiveness program offers him a literal dream job, he thinks he’s found his big break. If he can appear to be competent at his new job, entering the minds of middle class workers while they sleep and removing the unsavory detritus of their waking lives from their unconscious, he might have a chance at a new life. As Abernathy finds his footing in this role, reality and morality begin to warp around him. Soon, the lines between life and work, love and hate, right and wrong, even sleep and consciousness, begin to blur.
Molly McGhee touches on themes most people know all too well—the relentlessly crushing weight of debt, the recognition that work won’t love you back and the awkwardness of finding love when you are without hope. A workplace novel, at once tender, startling, and deeply funny, Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind is a stunning, critical work of surrealist fiction, a piercing critique of late-stage capitalism, and a reckoning with its true cost.
"[Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind] is a brutal examination of the psychological pressures and ethical complexity required to survive under late capitalism, [but] McGhee’s wry humor, tenderness, and razor-sharp writing keep it from veering into nihilism and infuse it with a real, if melancholy, kind of hope. Upton Sinclair meets modern workplace satire—with a lot of heart."
"McGhee grapples skillfully with the complicated ethical questions at the core of late-stage capitalism. How much of yourself must you sacrifice in order to make a life? Who do we risk becoming in the pursuit of safety and comfort?"
—Isle McElroy, Vulture
"[A] sparkling first novel . . . This is a debut that announces a remarkably imaginative and exciting new talent. The unreality of the setting is expertly used to suggest the inhumanity of many accepted norms, and the narrative unfurls into a superlative state-of-the-nation novel like no other. Full of astoundingly resonant and eminently quotable points about labor, capital, and depression, this wondrous literary creation brilliantly captures the excessive demands of contemporary work."
—Alexander Moran, Booklist (starred review)
"An exuberant, poignant, freewheeling debut full of complication and surprise. It is also often very funny."
—Jeff VanderMeer, author of the Southern Reach Trilogy
“To her debut, McGhee brings a flawless ear for language and a tender hand for character. The world is burning, it's hard to tell dreams from nightmares, but McGhee's novel never crumbles beneath the bleakness of its circumstances. Lively, vacillating between humor and heartbreak at breakneck speeds, Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind is the rare novel that truly feels like it could've only been written by a single brilliant mind.”
—Jean Kyoung Frazier, author of Pizza Girl
Molly McGhee is from a cluster of unincorporated towns outside of Nashville, Tennessee. She completed her M.F.A. in fiction at Columbia University, where, in addition to receiving a Chair’s Fellowship, she taught in the undergraduate creative writing department. She has worked in the editorial departments of McSweeney’s, The Believer, NOON, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and Tor. Currently living in Brooklyn, her work has appeared in The Paris Review.
Samantha Allen is the author of the Lambda Literary Award finalist Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States and a GLAAD Award-winning journalist. Her writing has been published by the New York Times, Rolling Stone, CNN.com, and more. She lives with her wife in Seattle.
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