Monster in the Middle: Book summary and reviews of Monster in the Middle by Tiphanie Yanique

Monster in the Middle

A Novel

by Tiphanie Yanique

Monster in the Middle by Tiphanie Yanique X
Monster in the Middle by Tiphanie Yanique
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  • Published Oct 2021
    288 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

From the award-winning author of Land of Love and Drowning, an electric new novel that maps the emotional inheritance of one couple newly in love.

When Fly and Stela meet in 21st Century New York City, it seems like fate. He's a Black American musician from a mixed-religious background who knows all about heartbreak. She's a Catholic science teacher from the Caribbean, looking for lasting love. But are they meant to be? The answer goes back decades—all the way to their parents' earliest loves.

Vibrant and emotionally riveting, Monster in the Middle moves across decades, from the U.S. to the Virgin Islands to Ghana and back again, to show how one couple's romance is intrinsically influenced by the family lore and love stories that preceded their own pairing. What challenges and traumas must this new couple inherit, what hopes and ambitions will keep them moving forward? Exploring desire and identity, religion and class, passion and obligation, the novel posits that in order to answer the question "who are we meant to be with?" we must first understand who we are and how we came to be.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[U]nique and memorable...A rich and honest examination of family histories, cultural disconnection, and the way people fall in love." - Kirkus Reviews

"Yanique inventively juxtaposes the start of a new relationship with family histories in this sumptuous saga...Each arc reads as an evocative short story and an episode in the two protagonists' complex set of unraveled connections. This introspective exploration of first and lasting loves will hit the spot with fans of character-driven family dramas." - Publishers Weekly

"A genre-defying multigenerational love story that moves fluidly across time and geography...Yanique narratively excavates how our family origins influence our aptitude for intimacy." - O, The Oprah Magazine

"Yanique is a writer's writer, one of the most inventive and talented stylists of her generation…[She] explores the way love can echo along the corridors of history, through police brutality and a pandemic, deftly weaving and juxtaposing the trajectories that make love possible." - Vulture

"Tiphanie Yanique's Monster in the Middle is a compelling exploration of how we become who we are and how we manage to find our way to love. In her lyrical prose, the myriad possibilities of being—the accidents of birth, of sex, of race and geography, the choices we make, our compulsions—coalesce into something that feels, gloriously, like destiny." - Natasha Trethewey, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Memorial Drive

"Monster in the Middle is as boundless as it is affecting. Yanique's prose leaps with possibility, as her characters live and laugh and fight and love. Yanique captures romance from its peaks to its craters, deftly weaving whole worlds from everything in between." - Bryan Washington, author of Memorial

"A total wonder. Utterly original and structurally thrilling. I am in awe of this novel and Tiphanie Yanique's masterful storytelling. This feels like a modern fable, a contemporary folk ballad full of unforgettable characters who, by the end, felt as familiar to me as family. What a gorgeous ode to love and its power." - Brandon Taylor, author of Filthy Animals and Real Life

This information about Monster in the Middle 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

Tiphanie Yanique Author Biography

Photo: Debbie Grossman

Tiphanie Yanique is a novelist, poet, essayist and short story writer. She is the author of the poetry collection, Wife, which won the 2016 Bocas Prize in Caribbean poetry and the United Kingdom's 2016 Forward/Felix Dennis Prize for a First Collection.

Tiphanie is also the author of the novel, Land of Love and Drowning, which won the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Award from the Center for Fiction, the Phillis Wheatley Award for Pan-African Literature, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Family Foundation Award, and was listed by NPR as one of the Best Books of 2014. Land of Love and Drowning was also a finalist for the Orion Award in Environmental Literature and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award.

She is the author of a collection of stories, How to Escape from a...

... Full Biography
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