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With Teeth (Riverhead)
Named a Most Anticipated Book of the Year by Elle, BuzzFeed, Good Housekeeping, Thrillist, The Advocate, Lit Hub, and Paperback Paris
From the author of the New York Times–bestselling sensation Mostly Dead Things: a surprising and moving story of two mothers, one difficult son, and the limitations of marriage, parenthood, and love
If she’s being honest, Sammie Lucas is scared of her son. Working from home in the close quarters of their Florida house, she lives with one wary eye peeled on Samson, a sullen, unknowable boy who resists her every attempt to bond with him. Uncertain in her own feelings about motherhood, she tries her best—driving, cleaning, cooking, prodding him to finish projects for school—while growing increasingly resentful of Monika, her confident but absent wife. As Samson grows from feral toddler to surly teenager, Sammie’s life begins to deteriorate into a mess of unruly behavior, and her struggle to create a picture-perfect queer family unravels. When her son’s hostility finally spills over into physical aggression, Sammie must confront her role in the mess—and the possibility that it will never be clean again.
Blending the warmth and wit of Arnett’s breakout hit, Mostly Dead Things, with a candid take on queer family dynamics, With Teeth is a thought-provoking portrait of the delicate fabric of family—and the many ways it can be torn apart.
Kristen Arnett is the author of the New York Times-bestselling novel Mostly Dead Things and the award-winning collection Felt in the Jaw. A queer writer based in Florida, she has written for The New York Times, Guernica,McSweeney’s, The Guardian, and elsewhere. She has been a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and a winner of the Ninth Letter Literary Award in Fiction and the Coil Book Award.
Esmé Weijun Wang is the New York Times bestselling author of The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays and the novel The Border of Paradise. She received the Whiting Award in 2018 and was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists of 2017; she has also received fellowships to Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. She holds an MFA from the University of Michigan and lives in San Francisco.
Praise for With Teeth:
“Arnett [is] adept at staging sensuous tragicomedies against the often-freakish backdrop of Florida. . . . Come for the wackiness and wonder of queer family dynamics, stay for the poignant portrait of motherhood on the brink.” —O: The Oprah Magazine
“Candid, gorgeous, and written in Arnett’s signature style, this is a must-read.” —Real Simple
“Explosive.” —The Inquirer (Philadelphia)
“Complicated, fearless and confidently messy, With Teeth should resonate with any reader who has ever felt like a stranger in their own life.” —Shelf Awareness
“Arnett paints a complex picture of a queer family in this well-sculpted drama. . . . prismlike prose [and] vividly rendered characters.” —Publishers Weekly
“Arnett continues to create needed space for a genre one might call ‘queer unromance.’ . . . This book is equal parts Florida queer and fascinating.” —Booklist
“Arnett writes movingly . . . . [She] deftly examines the psychological dynamics of a family, raising complicated questions about whether mothers can ever truly understand how to raise sons and whether our children, too often, are mirrors of our own worst tendencies.” —Kirkus Reviews
“With Teeth is a wonderfully sticky novel about motherhood, partnership, sex, and love. Kristen Arnett lets her characters have the run of the place, and it’s delicious fun to watch them do, say, and think things they’ll regret.” —Emma Straub, author of All Adults Here
“A darkly funny, brutally honest story about a woman undone by motherhood. Kristen Arnett grapples with the big questions: Is any child essentially unlovable? What does a happy ending look like? With Teeth digs in deep and doesn’t let go. I truly loved it.” —Jennifer Weiner, bestselling author of Mrs. Everything and That Summer
“From the very wise, very funny Kristen Arnett, With Teeth is as exhilaratingly candid as it is morally complex. Three cheers for this enthralling new book, which affirms my status as a card-carrying, rip-roaring, lifelong admirer of Arnett’s writing.” — R.O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries
“With Teeth took me to a seedy Florida lesbian bar, handed me a flat beer with lipstick on the rim, and told me a story I couldn’t walk away from even if I tried. An exquisitely unsettling, brilliantly layered, darkly funny novel that’ll make you question your own perceptions.” —Casey McQuiston, author of Red, White & Royal Blue