RICHARD CHIEM reads from his new novel KING OF JOY with AMINA CAIN

King of Joy (Soft Skull Press)

Corvus has always had an overactive imagination. Growing up, she develops a unique coping mechanism: she can imagine herself out of any situation, no matter how terrible. To get through each day, Corvus escapes into scenes from fantasy novels, pop songs, and action/adventure movies, and survives by turning the everyday into just another role to play in the movie of her life.

After a tragic loss, Corvus finds a sadness so great she cannot imagine it away. Instead, she finds Tim, a pornographer with unconventional methods, who offers her a new way to escape into movies. But when a sinister plot of greed and betrayal is revealed, Corvus must fight to reclaim her independence, and discovers she is stronger than even she could have imagined.

Written in Richard Chiem’s singular style, this debut novel is equal parts sledgehammer and sweet song, a neon, pulsing portrait of grief. King of Joy tells the triumphant, electrifying story of one woman’s quest for survival against all odds, and serves as a reminder that resilience can be found even in our most hopeless moments.

Praise for King of Joy

“This novel is transfixing: an imaginative meditation on emotional survival, isolation, and the beauty and limitations of human connection. I love Chiem’s writing.”—Melissa Broder, author of The Pisces

“What a funny, fresh, bittersweet masterpiece—there is no one else in the world writing like Richard Chiem. From the sentence-level wizardry to the racing plot, I feel smarter just having read this. Every page brings a new set of wonders.”—Alissa Nutting, author of Made for Love

Richard Chiem is the author of You Private Person, which was named one of Publishers Weekly’s 10 Essential Books of the American West. His work has been published in City ArtsVol. 1 BrooklynFanzine3:AM Magazine, and Moss, among many other venues. He has taught at Hugo House and at the University of Washington Bothell. He lives in Seattle.

Photo by Brooks Calison

Amina Cain is the author of Creature, out with Dorothy, a Publishing Project, and Indelicacy, which is forthcoming from FSG in winter 2020. Her short stories and essays have appeared in n+1, BOMB, The Paris Review Daily, Full Stop, and other places. She lives in Los Angeles.

Event date: 
Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
King of Joy Cover Image
ISBN: 9781593763091
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soft Skull Press - March 5th, 2019

Creature Cover Image
ISBN: 9780984469383
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dorothy a Publishing Project - November 1st, 2013