Famous Men Who Never Lived

K. Chess (Author)


For readers of Station Eleven and Exit West, Famous Men Who Never Lived explores the effects of displacement on our identities, the communities that come together through circumstance, and the power of art to save us.

Product Details

$24.95  $22.95
Tin House Books
Publish Date
March 05, 2019
5.6 X 1.2 X 8.6 inches | 1.1 pounds

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About the Author

K Chess was a W.K. Rose Fellow and her short stories have been honored by the Nelson Algren Award and the Pushcart Prize. She earned an MFA from Southern Illinois University and currently teaches at GrubStreet. She lives with her wife in Boston, MA.


With an eerie and ingenious premise, K Chess explores in a fresh way the most universal of human experiences: loss, regret, and the longing for what might have been. With its refugees from a parallel universe, this inventive book does what only fiction can do: describes an impossible world in order to more clearly show us our own.--Karen Thompson Walker, author of THE AGE OF MIRACLES
Fantastic world-building . . . Chess is a writer to watch.--Kirkus
Famous Men Who Never Lived is a fascinating novel: complex, uncanny, powerful. K Chess adroitly enacts Joyce's 'cracked looking glass' and gives us an off-kilter reflection that allows us to really see who we are. The wit, elaboration, and detail of her invention are spectacular.--Dana Spiotta, author of INNOCENTS AND OTHERS
This novel is beautiful, thoughtful, and impossible to forget. . . . I've already recommended it to everyone I know.--Book Riot
Chess' debut novel offers an intriguing and fresh spin on the parallel-worlds theme with its timely emphasis on the challenges facing migrants in hostile, unfamiliar surroundings, marking her as a promising new voice in speculative fiction.--Booklist
[A] beautifully-written and conceived novel, and one whose message of empathy across lines of difference is much-needed.--Tor.com