An atmospheric debut novel about one lost young woman's search for another
"Spellbinding. . . . Wholly engrossing." --Washington Post
Elena, struggling with memory loss due to a trauma that has unmoored her sense of self, deserts graduate school and a long-term relationship to accept a bizarre proposition from an estranged family friend in Paris: she will search for a young woman, Ella, who went missing six years earlier in Thailand, by rewriting her journals. As she delves deeper into Ella's story, Elena begins to lose sight of her own identity and drift dangerously toward self-annihilation.
Her Here is an existential detective story with a shocking denouement that plumbs the creative and destructive powers of narrative itself.
An Iowa Writers' Workshop graduate and Cambridge Gates Scholar, Amanda Dennis teaches at the American University of Paris. Her Here is her first novel.
Earn by promoting books
Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.Become an affiliate
About the Author
Buzz Books by Publishers Lunch selection
Library Journal "Best Debut Novels" selection
"Spellbinding. . . . Wholly engrossing. . . . This hypnotic and deeply cerebral exploration is a seductive escape. Through Ella and Elena's efforts to reconstruct a sense of self--outside family, beyond academia and expectation--through language, Dennis confronts the various ways we try to understand ourselves and others." --Washington Post
"A young woman has disappeared, and her mother asks a dead friend's daughter to reconstruct the young woman's life from her diaries, in the hopes of stumbling on clues to where she may be. It's a premise that would be a stretch for any novelist, but in her experimental debut Amanda Dennis wields that stretch the way a candymaker pulls and thickens ropes of sugar on hooks." --Literary Hub
"Dennis's elegant yet propulsive debut becomes much more than a missing-persons search. . . . Elena's narrative-within-a-narrative nicely reveals the creative process, while Dennis's larger story confirms the value of living boldly." --Library Journal (starred review)
"Wrenching and revelatory." --Foreword Reviews (starred review)
"Dennis' sensory prose leads to a fascinating exploration of identity, grief, and time." --Kirkus Reviews
"Evocative and meditative, Her Here is a ghost story without a ghost, a marvel of incantatory wit. Dennis weaves a mesmerizing web around her subject, drawing the reader into an intricate, volatile mystery whose end is always and never within reach." --Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine and Intimations
"In Her Here, Dennis has written a metaphysical investigation that is also a wonderfully personal account of a daughter coming to terms with the loss of her mother, and a mother coming to terms with the loss of her daughter. As Elena conjures Ella's last days, the richly imagined narrative moves back and forth between Paris and Thailand, carrying both characters and readers to a vivid and suspenseful conclusion." --Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy and The Boy in the Field
"Dennis is in possession of hypnotic narrative gifts and a ferocious intellect. With Her Here, she has claimed her place in the literary world." --Rebecca Makkai, author of Music for Wartime and The Great Believers
"Dazzling. Dennis is a writer that awakens the senses. From the first page, this gorgeous, haunting story about two lost girls ensnares the reader with such expertise, such intelligence and heart, that before long you're lost inside the eerie sensuality of youthful dreams, witnessing obsession unravel identity." --Dina Nayeri, author of Refuge and The Ungrateful Refugee