Hard Mouth: Book summary and reviews of Hard Mouth by Amanda Goldblatt

Hard Mouth

by Amanda Goldblatt

Hard Mouth by Amanda Goldblatt X
Hard Mouth by Amanda Goldblatt
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Book Summary

An adventure novel upended by grief and propelled by the aberrant charm of its narrator, Hard Mouth 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 Denny 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 DC 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"By turns creepy and thought-provoking, this is a resonant debut about love, independence, and mourning." - Kirkus Reviews

"[P]ropulsive and beguiling... the secondary characters too often come across as one-note, muddled shapes in the background. Still, this debut is a striking psychological portrait of despair." - Publishers Weekly

"Hard Mouth manages an offbeat expedition while also bringing a one-of-a-kind dark humor to the page. Evading the predictable, Goldblatt wanders through the momentary and unanticipated emotions of knowing the worst is coming, and suggests that even if bad decisions are made along the way, there might be self awareness waiting on the other side." - Aram Mrjoian, Chicago Review of Books

"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

"Hard Mouth is a heartbreaker of a novel. A mind-bruiser, too. Amanda Goldblatt has written an astonishing, destabilizing, and beautifully human book. It's wildly empathetic, strangely funny, and so sharp it cuts. I loved it." - Diane Cook, author of Man V. Nature: Stories

"Frank, funny, cool, and deceptively aloof, Hard Mouth gets to the heart of what it is to be a vulnerable thing living in this world. A beautiful book, and a totally pure reading experience." - Halle Butler, author of Jillian and The New Me

This information about Hard Mouth was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Amanda Goldblatt

Amanda Goldblatt is a writer and teacher living in Chicago. She is a 2018 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow, and her fiction and essays have appeared in such journals as The Southern Review, Noon, Fence, Diagram, Hobart, and American Short Fiction. Hard Mouth is her debut novel.

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