**Forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux in February 2020. Pre-order here.**
A surreal and satirical portrait of a pregnant woman adrift in a haunted, post-9/11 Manhattan…
Percy is pregnant. She hasn’t told a soul. Probably she should tell her husband—certainly she means to—but one night she wakes up to find she no longer recognizes him. Now, instead of sleeping, Percy is spending her nights taking walks through her neighborhood, all the while fretting over her marriage, her impending motherhood, and the sinister ways the city is changing.
Amid this alienation—from her husband, home, and rapidly changing body—a package arrives. In it: an exhibition catalog for a photography show. The photographs consist of a series of digitally manipulated images of a woman lying on a bed in a red room. It takes a moment for even Percy to notice that the woman is herself . . . but no one else sees the resemblance.
Percy must now come to grips with the fundamental question of identity in the digital age: To what extent do we own our own image, and to what extent is that image shaped by the eyes of others?
Capturing perfectly the haunted atmosphere of Manhattan immediately after 9/11—and the simmering insanity of America ever since—Jessi Jezewska Stevens’s The Exhibition of Persephone Q is a darkly witty satire about how easy it is to lose ownership of our own selves.
Praise for The Exhibition of Persephone Q:
“A triumph of tone and intelligence. Percy Q’s perspective is skewed and searching at once, and through her eyes, we see afresh not only New York’s post-9/11 landscape but also the world of art, and love, and the process of becoming.” —Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances
“The Exhibition of Perserphone Q has the heart of a Hitchcock film. With a voice both riveting and wisely bizarre, Jessi Jezewska Stevens tells a timeless story of the battle to stop the present from turning into the past.” —Catherine Lacey, author of Certain American States
“The Exhibition of Persephone Q is a great millennial ghost story, in which a wry, wise, yet guileless heroine is haunted by all the other stories she could be living.Jessi Stevens is the Muriel Spark of 21st century New York.” —Joshua Cohen, author of Book of Numbers
“With a voice both lucid and searching, Jessi Stevens depicts the great illogic of love, as well as all the small, strange quiddities of being a body in a material and virtual world. Lit up with melancholy, humor, and perfect oddness, this remarkable debut casts an afterglow long after its final pages.” —Hermione Hoby, author of Neon in Daylight
“Brimming with wit, intricately and playfully observed, The Exhibition of Persephone Q is a marvel, a treat, a mystery rooted in the unquestioned and unquestionable substance of identity. Stevens announces herself as a bold, surprising, and utterly compelling voice, with a slant on the world that is entirely her own.” —Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body like Mine