THE “HAUNTINGLY GORGEOUS” AND “STRANGELY EXCITING” DEBUT NOVEL OF THE SUMMER
MARILOU IS EVERYWHERE
“Hauntingly gorgeous... Smith... captures this unstable world with matter-of-fact poetry,
spare and sensual and surprisingly funny. Bleak and vivid; Smith's characters are as rich as her prose.”
—«KIRKUS, starred review «
“This is a mysterious and strangely exciting debut. Smith is a poet, and writes in sensory-driven, soul-tapping prose.”—Booklist
“Sarah Elaine Smith weaves together an unsettling coming-of-age story…
Smith’s writing is feral. It’s alert, skittish, and hungry. Together, her words create
a distorted picture of desperation and absence and a poignant story of accountability.”—BUST
“Smith’s rural world is brought to life with precise and devastating descriptions of poverty and neglect. This is a promising debut.”—Publisher’s Weekly
A “Most Anticipated Book of Summer”—LOS ANGELES TIMES
A “Book You Need in Your Life this Summer”—COSMOPOLITAN
“Sarah Elaine Smith has one of the most likable and delightful writing voices I have encountered recently—funny, lyrical, sexy, sad, humane, and just a total pleasure to read.”
—Elif Batuman, author of The Idiot
“Page after page I was struck by lines so unbearably beautiful and wise. . . a writer I would follow anywhere.”
—Julie Buntin, author of Marlena
Sarah Elaine Smith is an incredible talent whose work stops readers in their tracks. Elif Batuman considers Smith “one of the most likable and delightful writing voices [she has] encountered,” and in this distinctly alluring voice, Smith tells a gripping, page-turning story in MARILOU IS EVERYWHERE (Riverhead Books; Publication Date: July 30, 2019), her thrilling debut novel about female adolescence, family, class and identity in rural America. Smith holds an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, as well as an MFA in poetry from the Michener Center for Writers. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Wallace Fellowship and her prize-winning poetry and fiction has earned recognition from the MacDowell Colony and the Keene Prize for Literature, among others. Now, Smith exquisitely marries her lush, lyrical writing with a propulsive mystery that examines the magic of pretending and the perils of refusing to be who you are.
MARILOU IS EVERYWHERE takes the “missing girl in a small town” premise and turns it on its head, bringing depth and social nuance to the familiar trope. A fourteen-year-old girl lives with her two older brothers and absent mother in impoverished rural Pennsylvania. When a popular teenage girl from a more affluent home nearby goes missing, the young narrator escapes her family and slips into the missing teen’s life, hoarding the love of a confused and sick mother and seduced by the idea of living the life of someone else. Grappling with a complicated relationship to maternal love and an untenable web of lies, the vulnerable but fierce girl must confront her own self-hatred and its connection to greater pain within her family and community. Set in a class-divided Appalachia, Smith explores both the charming idiosyncrasies and the injustices of suffering small town America.
Packed with poignant, breath-taking sentences, MARILOU IS EVERYWHERE is a tantalizing mystery that is compulsively readable. It harkens the peculiar quirk of Twin Peaks and the hypnotic prose of Emma Cline’s Girls that brilliantly captures the ineffable strangeness of being a teenage girl in an often dangerous world. And yet, Sarah Elaine Smith occupies a space as a writer and storyteller that is all her own—weird and wonderful, darkly comic yet tender and soulful. MARILOU IS EVERYWHERE marks the arrival of a major new talent and profoundly special voice.
MARILOU IS EVERYWHERE • Sarah Elaine Smith
Riverhead Books • On-Sale July 30, 2019 • ISBN: 978-0-525-53524-9
Sarah Elaine Smith holds MFAs in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and poetry from the Michener Center for Writers. She is also a recipient of a Rona Jaffe Wallace fellowship.
SARAH ELAINE SMITH ON TOUR FOR MARILOU IS EVERYWHERE
PITTSBURGH, PA – ONGOING
HUDSON, NY – AUGUST 10
BROOKLYN, NY – AUGUST 12
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 13
PROVIDENCE, RI – AUGUST 15
LINCOLN, NE – SEPTEMBER 5
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 6
IOWA CITY, IA – SEPTEMBER 11
AUSTIN, TX – OCTOBER 26-27