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JAC JEMC reads her new novel THE GRIP OF IT with AMELIA GRAY

The Grip of It (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

For nearly a decade, Jac Jemc has been one of Chicago’s most active underground writers. Her poetry, essays, and genre-bending short fiction have been featured by dozens of indie literary magazines, journals, reading series, and websites, and her books have found champions in Roxane Gay, Jesse Ball, Laura van den Berg, Blake Butler, Lindsay Hunter, and others. 

The Grip of It, Jemc’s first novel with a mainstream publisher, is narrated in short, alternating chapters by James and Julie Khoury, a millennial couple who have reluctantly migrated from the city to a quaint, stroller-filled town to buy their first home. When they find a gorgeous Victorian house with a wooded backyard and picture windows, abundant closets, and an almost suspiciously reasonable mortgage, it seems too good to be true—but their shared bliss is short-lived. Something seems off about the local kids who play morbid games in the woods behind their property, woods that Julie and James could swear are moving closer to their back door.

Their eccentric, elderly neighbor seems to be spying on them. When strange things begin to happen inside the house itself—objects turning up in strange places seemingly on their own, bruises appearing on Julie’s body—James and Julie’s instincts are to ignore and rationalize. But when handwriting appears on the walls of their bedroom as they sleep, and as they begin to learn more about the peculiar children who inhabited the house before them, James and Julie come to question much of what they’ve always taken for granted—about themselves, about each other, about their own senses.

The Grip of It delivers more than enough frights to delight genre fans, but there is far more then this novel’s scares that will linger in the minds of readers: the rich and strange psychology of Jemc’s protagonists; the unnerving exactitude with which she pins their private emotions to the page; the unsettling questions Jemc raises about certainty and suspicion, intimacy and trust. Haunting and thought-provoking, this haunted house tale is a breakout book from a skilled literary architect.

Jac Jemc is the author of My Only Wife, a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and winner of the Paula Anderson Book Award, and the short story collection A Different Bed Every Time. She teaches writing in Chicago and edits nonfiction for Hobart.

Photo by Jared Larson

Amelia Gray, author of the new novel Isadora, has written several books, including AM/PMMuseum of the WeirdTHREATS, and Gutshot. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The New YorkerThe New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalTin House, and VICE. She has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and is a winner of the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award and the FC2 Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Contest. She lives in Los Angeles.

Photo by Matthew Chamberlain

Event date: 
Sunday, September 10, 2017 - 5:00pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
The Grip of It Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780374536916
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Fsg Originals - August 1st, 2017

A Different Bed Every Time Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781936873531
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Published: Dzanc Books - October 14th, 2014

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$15.95
ISBN: 9781936873685
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Published: Dzanc Books - May 8th, 2012

Isadora Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374279981
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Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - May 23rd, 2017

Museum of the Weird Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781573661560
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: F2c - September 7th, 2010

Gutshot: Stories Cover Image
$14.00
ISBN: 9780374175443
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Published: Fsg Originals - April 14th, 2015

Threats Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780374533076
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AM/PM Cover Image
$12.95
ISBN: 9780977199273
Availability: Backordered
Published: Featherproof Books - August 1st, 2009