Red Clocks (Little Brown and Company)

Life, liberty and property: for every embryo.

This is the effect of the Personhood Amendment, passed by a new president with big ideas. Not only does the Personhood Amendment outlaw abortion (and threaten anyone involved in the act with a charge of second-degree murder), it also prohibits in vitro fertilization and adoption by unmarried persons. In Leni Zumas’s Red Clocks, four women in Newville, Oregon, are left to navigate this new landscape: Ro, a biographer desperate to have a baby while writing the untold story of a female polar explorer; Susan, a mother trapped in suburbia with an extremely difficult husband; Mattie, an adopted teenager who finds herself pregnant and unwilling to allow her unborn child to wonder why it wasn’t wanted; and Gin, a forest-dwelling mender whose “witchcraft” somehow weaves its way into each woman’s life.

As the aftershocks of the Personhood Amendment wreak havoc in the small Oregon town, Gin is suddenly arrested for medical malpractice; and, in yet another echo of the past, a modern-day witch hunt ensues. As the trial begins, the town is faced with questions: What is a woman for? Who controls her body? What does it mean to become a mother? What is your place in the world if you choose not to have a child?

In a novel both vividly revolutionary and achingly familiar, Leni Zumas invites the reader to reexamine preconceived notions of power in a society where women’s bodies are controlled by the government. Through the eyes of high school teachers, stay-at-home mothers, aspiring marine biologists, and town misfits, Zumas wondrously paints the story of modern women reckoning with deeply conservative values.

Praise for Red Clocks

“Among the books at [Book Expo] being compared to The Handmaid’s Tale (and there were a few), one stood out: Leni Zumas’s Red Clocks.—Rachel Deahl, Publishers Weekly

“Strange and lovely and luminous. I loved Red Clocks with my whole heart.”—Kelly Link, author of Magic for Beginners

“Hilarious, terrifying, and masterful—this pitch-perfect, timely novel reflects the horror and absurdity of our political landscape with a brilliance that ensures the book’s timelessness. It’s as riotously fun as it is chilling. Zumas has produced a poignant, wickedly sharp classic.”—Alissa Nutting, author of Made for Love and Tampa

“In bristling sentences that strike with stunning efficiency, Leni Zumas shows girls and women defying the excruciating restrictions imposed by both law and culture. This is not only timely but necessary fiction—uncannily prescient, unabashedly political, and fiercely humane. We so desperately need books like this.”—Emily Fridlund, author of History of Wolves

“Leni Zumas has written a prescient novel for these times. The women in this suspenseful book resist. They will not be circumscribed. The effect on the reader is cathartic.”—Christine Schutt, author of Prosperous Friends

“Leni Zumas’s writing is fearless and swift, sassy and sensational.”—Joy Williams, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction finalist for The Quick and the Dead

“I have never read stories like Leni Zumas’s before and I can’t get them out of my head. Her language is real sorcery—it dismantles the world you think you know and takes you to strange, fecund territories of the imagination. Sentence by sentence, Leni creates worlds so vivid and fever-bright that you forget you’re reading words on a page and begin to see real plums, scars, black stars lashed to the bottom of canoes. Her characters are girls and boys in bad trouble, who feel as close to you and as far from you as the black sheep in your own family.”—Karen Russell, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction finalist for Swamplandia!

Leni Zumas is the author of the story collection Farewell Navigator and the novel The Listeners, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. She is an associate professor in the MFA program in creative writing at Portland State University.

Photo by Luca Dipierro

Porochista Khakpour is the author of the memoir Sick (Harper Perennial, June 2018), and the novels The Last Illusion (Bloomsbury, 2014)—a 2014 "Best Book of the Year" according to NPR, Kirkus, Buzzfeed, Popmatters, Electric Literature, and more — and Sons and Other Flammable Objects (Grove, 2007)—the 2007 California Book Award winner in “First Fiction,” a Chicago Tribune’s “Fall’s Best,” and a New York Times “Editor’s Choice.” Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera America, BookforumSlate, Salon, Spin,CNN,The Daily Beast, Elle, and many other publications around the world.  She’s had fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the University of Leipzig (Picador Guest Professorship), Yaddo, Ucross, and Northwestern University’s Academy for Alternative Journalism, among others. She is currently guest faculty at VCFA and Stonecoast's MFA programs. Born in Tehran and raised in the Los Angeles area, she lives in New York City’s Harlem. 

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Red Clocks: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316434812
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Little, Brown and Company - January 16th, 2018

The Listeners Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781935639299
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Published: Tin House Books - May 15th, 2012

Farewell Navigator: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9781890447496
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Published: Open City Books - May 1st, 2008

Sons and Other Flammable Objects Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802143860
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Published: Grove Press - September 1st, 2008