Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind By Molly McGhee

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ISBN: 9781662602702

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Published by (2024-10-15)

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"Disturbing and darkly funny, McGhee’s surrealist debut is sure to keep readers up at night." —People

Now in paperback, an Electric Literature and Chicago Review of Books best book of the year, the debut Xochitl Gonzalez called "wildly imaginative, tender and piercing critique of the squeeze of capitalism."


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.

Book Details

Format: Trade Paperback
Price: 22 CAD / 16 USD
Published: 2024-10-15
ISBN: 9781662602702
Imprint:
Page Count: 304
Trim Size: 6 x 9

"[Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind is] a wonderful, funny, weird and heartbreaking science fiction novel that is perfect for any young person experiencing some existential anxiety about the state of the world, the cost of living, and what to do with their dreams. I’ve loved it."
Antonia Hylton, MSNBC

"Written by someone with a knack for gorgeous, brutally insightful prose . . . [Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind is] a novel of hilarity and fear and misery, all mixed together in a glorious and terrible concoction that is not like anything else you've ever read."
Cory Doctorow, author of The Lost Cause

"[A] luminous, acerbic and devastating debut novel . . . McGhee brilliantly articulates the neuroses of a young person trying to survive in a system rigged against him. The novel is a magical-realist office drama infused with millennial anomie, and McGhee’s canny, often bittersweetly hilarious prose reads as if George Saunders infiltrated the Severance writers’ room . . . Nowadays the anti-capitalist philippic is everywhere in literature and on TV, but McGhee’s novel stands out for its impressive inventiveness. Instead of telling a story that gets into the minutiae of class differences or features characters quoting Marxist theory at each other, Jonathan Abernathy, like Jordan Peele’s Get Out or the most mind-bending stories of Ted Chiang, utilizes the power of the speculative allegory to make its point."
Rafael Frumkin, Washington Post

"Imagine the movie Inception, but populated by the middle-management workers in David Graeber’s book Bullshit Jobs . . . McGhee’s writing, like the 'ecosystem' of Abernathy’s debts, has the murky air of a swamp—a feeling that one could sink with her characters right through the novel’s soil . . . By the end the novel feels like a dream that cannot be forgotten."
Haley Mlotek, The New York Times Book Review

"[A] fierce debut . . . This dystopian drama is a shout of millennial protest and a bleak workplace satire."
James Smart, The Guardian

"A unique, timely, and inordinately effective book. Consider it a warning cry against a potentially grim future; if we are smart, we will listen and make sure that Abernathy’s world is one that never comes to pass."
Colleen Mondor, Locus

"This laugh-out-loud debut is a wildly imaginative, tender and piercing critique of the squeeze of capitalism . . . bleak but somehow hilarious . . . Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind is a book I won't soon forget."
Xochitl Gonzalez, Good Morning America

"Disturbing and darkly funny, McGhee’s surrealist debut is sure to keep readers up at night."
Serena Puang, People

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets Doctor Faustus meets Severance (yes, both the novel by Ling Ma and the unrelated Apple TV+ series that bears the same name) in this impressive debut . . . This’ll become the quirkiest, most thought-provoking workplace comedy in your collection."
theSkimm

"Full of magic, mystery, and an eerie mysticism . . . This novel is a feat of structure and scaffolding, immaculately laid out and paced to perfection . . . Rejecting stereotypes, Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind isn’t just rewriting the narrative of what a workplace novel can be—it is taking the workplace novel out of the workplace and into the real world."
Joanna Acevedo, Masters Review

"Expertly balanced between wit and heartbreak, Molly McGhee’s Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind lived up to the hype and then some. McGhee has written the 21st century’s Bartleby, the Scrivener, compressing the effects of American hypercapitalism’s oppressive systems into an original, brilliant romp. What happens, McGhee asks, when you can’t afford to prefer not to?"
Elizabeth McNeill, Chicago Review of Books

"Molly McGhee’s novel Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind is a breathtaking debut, a stunning satire of late-stage capitalism."
David Gutowski, Largehearted Boy

"Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind is the kind of debut novel for which the word 'audacious' was created . . . [With] her sharp mind, powerful imagination, and exacting, inventive, crisp prose . . . [McGhee writes] a glorious, satisfying, heartbreaking novel . . . It is a masterfully written, pointed and polished novel, and it’s also, somehow, a primal scream."
Molly Templeton, Tor.com

"Molly McGhee’s writing style is vibrant and fast-paced, creating a beautiful and heartbreaking new book release."
Alex Faccibene, Geek Girl Authority

"Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind looks hard at work and money and debt and loss, but it also raises fascinating questions about how we want to be perceived and what motivates us, even—or perhaps especially—in desperate times. It forces us to consider: What happens when the American Dream turns into a nightmare?"
Sara Best West, Chapter 16

"A book of astounding imagination."
Adam Vitcavage, Debutiful

"A scathing critique of capitalism that holds onto the humanity of its characters."
Laura Zornosa, Time

"[A] glorious debut novel . . . In a world saturated with formulaic books, this is not one . . . You can tell when someone spends their days immersed in words."
Jennifer Graham, The Hippo

"A surreal, fun, and meaningful masterpiece."
Jules Rivera, Books Are Magic

"[Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind is] perfect for whatever stage of capitalism we're in, and might make your own job feel a little less soul-sucking too."
Lizz Schumer, Good Housekeeping

"McGhee’s clipped, knowing, and often very funny prose . . . somehow manages to infuse the book with both levity and dread."
Emily Temple, Literary Hub
 
"[A] hotly anticipated and surprisingly touching debut novel . . . [Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind is] a delightfully searing critique of late-stage capitalism."
Rachael Conrad, Polygon

"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] darkly comic fantastical debut . . . Fans of Ling Ma’s Severance will soak this up."
Publishers Weekly

"[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)

"[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."
Kirkus Reviews

"This is not an escapist novel. This is a look-our-problems-in-the-face novel. McGhee’s work here is not to be ignored, with inventive prose that perfectly captures the feeling of trying to keep trying even when capitalism makes you feel worthless. I am in awe, and will be first in line for everything she writes after this."
Christina Orlando, Tor.com

"[Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind is] the spiritual sibling of Severance, but creepier."
Literary Hub

"Molly McGhee's luminary imagination makes this debut a wonder. Precision, humor, heart, this is a stunner." 
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, bestselling author of Friday Black and Chain Gang All Stars

"An exuberant, poignant, freewheeling debut full of complication and surprise. It is also often very funny."
Jeff VanderMeer, author of the NYT-bestselling Southern Reach Trilogy

"A deeply humane novel that perfectly marries the strangeness and terror of everything we can’t explain about ourselves, to ourselves, and the everyday horrors of contemporary workplace culture. Molly McGhee knows the stuff our dreams are made of — she's a marvelous chronicler of the fantastic, the perverse, and the sublime."
Kelly Link, author of White Cat, Black Dog

"The fiction of Molly McGhee is funny, freaky, intellectually bold and always from the heart. McGhee has seen enough of the world to know that you’ve got to start some trouble in it. She also knows that seeing the humor in our personal foibles and social absurdities (cruel as the latter often are), will always be a powerful way to commiserate with your fellow humans. Here is a writer who is keenly aware of what we’ve all got coming, but in the meantime is never afraid to laugh and live and fight on the page.”
Sam Lipsyte, Guggenheim Fellow and The New York Times Bestselling author of The Ask

“Molly McGhee is a fearlessly inventive and exquisitely poised writer, one who knows how to aim right at the jugular of today's optimization-obsessed technocratic capitalism. Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind is trippy, incisive, and, most importantly, riotously funny.”
Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine

“Welcome to the somnambulatory prose of Molly McGhee, where vivid nightmares and lucid tender dreams live side by side. Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind is a revelation told with the honesty and delicacy of a drowsy oracle. There's nothing like it, awake or asleep or anywhere in between.”
Hilary Leichter, author of Temporary

“In the light of this insightfully nightmarish parable of the pervasive ravages of debt, Abernathy’s optimism, and the serene pace of McGhee’s prose, are stone cold chilling.”
Halle Butler, Granta Best Young American Novelist and author of The New Me

“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 reminds me of absolutely no one. Here’s an original mind brimming over with invention and comic ferocity and a new world sensibility that serves to remind us what good hands the future of literature is in. I am hugely excited for everyone to read this mad, hilarious writer.”
Ben Marcus, Guggenheim Fellow and author of The Flame Alphabet

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