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Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date
5.2 X 7.6 X 0.7 inches | 0.5 pounds
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About the Author

Amina Cain is the author of a novel, Indelicacy, and the short story collections Creature and I Go To Some Hollow. Her essays and short stories have appeared in The Paris Review Daily, BOMB, Granta, n+1, the Believer Logger, and other places. She lives in Los Angeles.


Indelicacy is a short book but it feels brilliantly expansive to read. Cain writes beautiful precise sentences about what it means to wander through this luminous world. --Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation and Weather

Eyebrow raising, tantalizing, and unforgettable . . . Indelicacy makes you think about creativity, friendship, and the nature of time . . . It transported me to a different part of my life. --Elisabeth Egan, The New York Times Book Review

Cain's small but mighty novel reads like a ghost story and packs the punch of a feminist classic. --The New York Times Book Review (11 New Books We Recommend This Week)

This novel is a celebration of writing, and women's writing in particular . . . Cain makes a compelling argument for the spiritual necessity of creative freedom. --Rhian Sasseen, The Paris Review (Staff Pick)

Indelicacy . . . is a work of feminist existentialism, or existentialist feminism--searching, like Lispector, and lucid, like Camus. --Martin Riker, The Paris Review Daily

This sparse, elliptical novel finds new complexities in the familiar conflict between creative independence and the lures of traditional domesticity . . . stripped of all inessential details, the narrative has the simplicity of a parable--one whose images lodge themselves uneasily in the mind. --The New Yorker

The experience of reading Amina Cain's novel Indelicacy is kind of like that of meditating on a painting. Like a painting, the world . . . is stripped down . . . Cain has made a new thing with Indelicacy. --Kate Durbin, Los Angeles Review of Books

Cain's writing feels otherworldly . . . Indelicacy is stripped down like the chalk-lined set of the Lars von Trier movie Dogville. . . This is all in keeping with the world of Indelicacy, where wonder and fear vibrate alongside each other. --Nathan Scott McNamara, Los Angeles Review of Books

While the book features vulgarities . . . its language and fragmented structure are gauzy and fine . . . The real magic of Cain's slim novel lies in its restraint and precision . . . with its soft atmosphere and appreciation of the unspoken, the book evokes the filmmaking of Sofia Coppola, Joanna Hogg or Claire Denis. --Alina Cohen, The Observer

Indelicacy is a quiet stalking of inspiration, a very delicate approach. --Abby Walthausen, The Believer

This beautiful volume presents a compelling and unexpected take on women's fulfillment in love, work and the world. Feminist and meticulous, Indelicacy is fresh, graceful, and gratifyingly daring. --Karla Strand, Ms. Magazine

I read [Indelicacy] slowly, in a kind of reverie, wanting to savour every page. It is so exquisite and precise that I felt I wanted to read it constantly, to live inside it . . . A completely absorbing, luminous account of a woman inhabiting her life and creativity. --Megan Hunter, author of The End We Start From

Amina Cain's slim, precisely wrought debut novel reads as a fresh consideration of what it means to be a female artist. --AVClub

The story of a marriage is generally meant to impose order on the novel, to subordinate each moment to a larger design. In Indelicacy, this story finds itself subordinate to other forms of female pleasure and desire: friendship, sex, dancing, writing, daydreaming. --Sarah Resnick, Bookforum

Bewitching . . . Cain's concentrated, subtle, and intriguing portrait of an evolving artist resolutely rejecting gender and class roles, with its subtle nods to Jean Rhys, Clarice Lispector, and Octavia Butler, explores the risks and rewards of a call to create and self-liberate. --Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)

Cain upends fairy tale endings in . . . this incisive tale . . .[Indelicacy] disquiets with its potent, swift human dramas. --Publishers Weekly

A sort of ghostly arthouse Cinderella . . . Cain's prose vibrates with fear and wonder. This is a novel I read three times slowly, basking in each phrase. --Nate McNamara, Literary Hub

Deeply rooted in the literary tradition, [Indelicacy] inconspicuously references works like Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea and Octavia Butler's Kindred and explores themes like class and gender. With its short, spare sentences, Cain's writing seems simple on the surface--but it is deeply observant of the human condition, female friendships, and art. A short, elegant tale about female desire and societal expectations. --Kirkus Reviews

To read Amina Cain is to enter tide pools of the mind. On its surface, her fiction is quiet, lovely, contained, but sit with any passage and that which seems still uncoils and comes alive. The reach of her fiction is an invitation to peer deep into our inner worlds. --Alissa Hattman, The Rumpus

Cain . . . works with insight and finely crafted writing, making Indelicacy perfect for fans of Virginia Woolf and Michael Cunningham. --Cindy Pauldine, Shelf Awareness (starred)

I developed a kind of synesthesia when considering Cain's writing . . . Indelicacy is graceful and incisive. --Anne K. Yoder, The Millions

Though Indelicacy does not announce itself as autofiction, it shares with autofiction what I find to be the most fundamental aspects of the genre: the act of writing becomes inextricable from the story being told. --Natalie Bakopoulos, Fiction Writers Review

What would a Vermeer look like painted by its subject? Measured, intense, precise, explosive, sensual, violent, mesmerising. --Joanna Walsh, author of Break.up

In Indelicacy we meet a woman who spends time studying landscape paintings and then walking inside the landscapes where she lives. She looks at a landscape then moves inside another, and as we read it begins to seem that the landscapes in paintings and in fiction are eerily the same. In a deeply pleasing way, reading this novel is a bit like standing in a painting, a masterful study of light and dark, inside and out, freedom and desire. Amina Cain is one of my favorite writers. I loved reading this book. --Danielle Dutton, author of Margaret the First

To read Amina Cain's Indelicacy is akin to donning magnifying spectacles that distill a woman's past into modern reality, these lucid and uncanny lenses remaining on the eye far beyond her pages. --Josephine Foster, musical artist

With simplicity and wisdom, Amina Cain's Indelicacy strips away the clutter of the modern novel, leaving only her narrator's concentrated attention and yearning. As a tribute to the history of its own form, Indelicacy manages to expand our ideas of both the classic and the contemporary. --Tim Kinsella, music-maker and author of Sunshine on an Open Tomb

Acutely observed, Indelicacy is an exquisite jewel box of a novel with the passion and vitality found only in such rare and necessary works as The Hour of the Star and The Days of Abandonment. Through this timeless examination of solitude, art, and friendship, Amina Cain announces herself as one of the most intriguing writers of our time. --Patty Yumi Cottrell, author of Sorry to Disrupt the Peace

Amina Cain's diligence, patience, and clarity of vision are unparalleled. This is a writer profoundly aware of the impact and import of silence. Her sentences echo long after they've landed on the page. Keep your eyes peeled for Indelicacy. --Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, author of Call Me Zebra

Amina Cain redefines strangeness and freedom in this beautiful and unusual novel that resembles fairy tales and ghost stories but feels intensely contemporary. --Alejandro Zambra, author of Multiple Choice

Indelicacy is a novel like the tolling of a great bell. It will move your heart. Amina Cain's writing is the rarest kind: it creates not only new scenes and characters, but new feelings. --Sofia Samatar, author of Winged Histories

I was spellbound by Amina Cain's Indelicacy, partly because it is a lucid novel about human relationships, the soul, art, and change; partly because it is an intelligent yet raw tale about what ruptures are required to grow room for oneself; partly because of its witty juxtaposition of good and bad; but mostly because it is deeply original, like nothing I've ever read before. --Gunnhild Øyehaug, author of Wait, Blink