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Penguin Random House

Little Miseries: This Is Not a Story About My Childhood. A Novel

Little Miseries: This Is Not a Story About My Childhood. A Novel

Regular price $27.00 USD
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Set in Iowa and Minnesota in the 60s and 70s, Little Miseries is a Midwestern Gothic where sometimes the misery is just that—little—and sometimes it is epic and yawning, capable of swallowing every childhood memory. There are the miseries the Castles will talk about—old family lore about a great, great, great uncle who was split in two while connecting railroad cars—and the misery none of them will face. There are days at the lake, placid except for inexplicable tension the parents won't address and the three Castle children don't have names for. There are stories about sex and gore at cocktail parties, around bonfires, at sleepovers, in classrooms, and in the newspaper. Everyday growing pains are shadowed by the abduction of a local girl, reports of a massacre of nurses, and the harm done by strangers and by those who are charged to care for children. To survive childhood is to survive all of these miseries and tragedies, because growing up means waking up to a world that can be random and brutal.

With some thematic overlap with Rick Moody’s The Ice Storm or if Sally Draper from Mad Men got to tell her side of the story, Little Miseries is set in a time and place when parents didn’t talk much to their children but they certainly talked around them—while dipping into whiskey or rum punch, whether on a long drive, on the beach, or in the comfort of their own home. Little Miseries is a tribute to what it means to come into awareness, to be a part of a family unit, and to bear responsibility for those you loved and who have been harmed along the way.

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