Night Beast

Ruth Joffre (Author)


A masterful collection from an important new voice in American fiction, Night Beast is a gorgeously written work of profound originality and vision. These doomed love stories and twisted fairytales explore the lives of women--particularly queer women and mothers--and reveal the monsters lurking in our daily lives: the madness, isolation, betrayals, and regrets that arise as we seek human connection.

Through this collection, readers are taken to places where the sun never sets, where cornfields rustle ominously and sleepwalkers prowl the night. In "Weekend," the lead actors of an avant-garde television show begin to confuse their characters' identities with their own; in "Go West, and Grow Up," a young girl living in a car with her mother is forced to shed her innocence too soon; and in "Safekeeping," a woman trapped inside a futuristic safehouse gradually unravels as she waits for her lover, who may never return.

With exquisite prose and transfixing imagery, Joffre explores worlds both strange and familiar, homing in on the darker side of humanity. Powerful, unsettling, and wildly imaginative, Night Beast is a mind-bending, genre-hopping debut, a provocative and uncommonly raw examination of relationships and sexuality, trauma and redemption, the meaning of family, and coming-of-age--and growing old--as an outsider.

Product Details

$16.00  $14.72
Grove Press, Black Cat
Publish Date
May 08, 2018
5.4 X 0.7 X 8.2 inches | 0.55 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Ruth Joffre is the author of Night Beast. Born and raised in Northern Virginia, she graduated with honors from Cornell University and earned her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her work has appeared in the Kenyon Review, Mid-American Review, Masters Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Nashville Review, and Prairie Schooner, among others. She lives in Seattle, where she teaches writing and literature at the Hugo House.


Praise for Night Beast

"What pure pleasure to recommend to you the debut collection of Ruth Joffre, whose stories are nimble, audacious, and far seeing." --Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble

"Captivating . . . A cri de coeur for sympathy and understanding. This is an auspicious debut."--Publishers Weekly

"Lyrical . . . [and] masterful . . . Perfect for fans of Kelly Link and of Carmen Maria Machado's Her Body and Other Parties, Joffre's debut collection heralds the arrival of a new, exciting voice in fiction."--Booklist

"Ruth Joffre's stories are composed of equal parts brightness and secrecy. She turns the lights on all around her characters yet still permits them their mystery, so that beneath their sharp lines and vivid colors one senses something considerably darker and more enigmatic. They face you not like constructions on a page but like people in the world."--Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead

"Ruth Joffre is a fearless and startlingly talented writer. In these stories you'll find the quiet horror of Mary Gaitskill and the reality-bending mischievousness of David Lynch and Kelly Link. You will leave this book gratefully unsettled."--Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon

"So many of the characters in Ruth Joffre's stories are, literally and figuratively, sleepwalking through 'some dark and frightful dream that our minds had conjured, ' and it's a testament to Joffre's meticulous and abundant talent that she can guide the reader through these constrained and inhospitable spaces. No matter how dark the stories become, her language, so precise and beautiful, shines a light so that you can go deeper into these worlds, where no one else has ever been. A wonderful debut."--Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang

"Hypnotic and elegant, Night Beast built to a resonance that resounds in me still. These stories are unforgettable, full of longing and hunger and alert tenderness. Finishing the collection was like waking from a night of disquieting and luminous dreams. I did not want this book to end."--Anna Noyes, author of Goodnight, Beautiful Women

"The force of Night Beast is seismic; I was startled to read a first book so daringly original. Ruth Joffre's dissident, imperiled characters are intricately drawn and deeply surprising. While working in the tradition of Djuna Barnes, Isak Dinesen, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Mary Gaitskill, Ruth Joffre manages to be sui generis, a singular young writer reconfiguring the possibilities of fiction at the dawn of --please gods--a dazzling career. There is nothing like her. And there never was." --Alice Fulton, author of Barely Composed