Today I have a review of Hard Mouth by Amanda Goldblatt, publishing on August 13, 2019 by Counterpoint Press. A big thank you to Counterpoint for the invitation to review.
Counterpoint has the most unique books. I’ve loved every one I’ve read, and I can’t stop staring at the dynamic cover on this one.
Denny’s father has had cancer for over ten years. Denny appears lost, and she doesn’t engage socially. She’s a lab tech working with fruit flies.
When Denny’s not working, she’s with her parents, her best friend, or her imaginary friend, Gene. She knows her imaginary friend is imaginary, by the way.
When Denny’s father’s cancer recurs, he declines treatment. Denny’s kneejerk reaction is to flee. She rents a cabin in the woods and seeks complete detachment from the world. What she finds is that she isn’t alone.
Hard Mouth is filled with clever, sometimes dark humor. It’s shocking and edgy and smart. It’s about grief and loss and how to survive even when our loved ones aren’t. I know like that seems like a dark theme, that last one, but the way the author addresses this is quite profound.
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
About the Book:
“An astute, luminous examination of the complexities of love and grief, with never a careless word. Hard Mouth is a blazing feat of a book.” —R. O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries
An adventure novel upended by grief and propelled by the aberrant charm of its narrator, Hard Mouth is an unforgettable debut that explores what it takes to both existentially and literally survive.
For ten years, Denny’s father has battled cancer. The drawn-out loss has forged her into a dazed, antisocial young woman. On the clock, she works as a lab tech, readying fruit flies for experimentation. In her spare time, only her parents, an aggressively kind best friend, and her blowhard imaginary pal Gene—who she knows isn’t real—ornament her stale days in the D.C. suburbs.
Now her father’s cancer is back for a third time, and he’s rejecting treatment. Denny’s transgressive reaction is to flee. She begins to dismantle her life, constructing in its place the fantasy of perfect detachment. Unsure whether the impulse is monastic or suicidal, she rents a secluded cabin in the mountains. When she discovers life in the wilderness isn’t the perfect detachment she was expecting—and that she isn’t as alone as she’d hoped—Denny is forced to reckon with this failure while confronting a new life with its own set of pleasures and dangerous incursions.
Morbidly funny, subversive, and startling, Hard Mouth, the debut novel from 2018 NEA Creative Writing Fellow Amanda Goldblatt, unpacks what it means to live while others are dying.
Have you read Hard Mouth, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR