Northwood: A Novella

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Publish Date
5.6 X 8.4 X 0.7 inches | 0.75 pounds

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About the Author

Maryse Meijer is the author of Heartbreaker. She lives in Chicago.


Praise for Heartbreaker

Chicago Review of Books Best Fiction Books of 2016
Electric Literature 25 Best Short Story Collections of 2016
Largehearted Boy's Favorite Short Story Collections of 2016

"Meijer's stories are intense and threatening, with language that invigorates the senses. Like the writers of her ilk―[Lindsay] Hunter, Amelia Gray, Laura van den Berg--Meijer makes the dangers of girlhood come alive, crafting characters who flirt with violence." ―Maddie Crum, Huffington Post

"[Meijer] reaches into the darkest parts of the human psyche where sexuality, vulnerability, and violence commingle and simmer . . . Beneath these incendiary premises, the characters' relationships engender genuine empathy; Meijer is extraordinarily adept at tapping into a well of existential loneliness brought on by civilization's tendency and shame."--Publishers Weekly

"Meijer's unerring knack for finding the pure shape of a story--for lining up the component images and complications in the just the right order--marks her as something quite rare. Her stories captivate in the way that urban legends do, splicing the sensational into the fearfully mundane. Even as they subvert the expectations of various relationships, the stories don't feel new. They feel lived in, re-discovered, like old stories being told for the first time in a long time." --Michael Deagler, The Rumpus

"The edgy stories in Meijer's debut collection cut like so many wild teeth: sharp, deep, and unforgiving . . . Meijer breaks open taboos about sex, disability, melancholy, and violence with the careful precision of a teenager egging the house of her mortal enemy. Here is all the raw anger, fear, malice, lust, and confusion of women used to threats, stalking, and ceaseless observation, who live with their lives hanging every day in the balance. In fiction, Meijer seems to say, they have a shot at making their own rules--and the results are strange, unsettling, and addictive . . . In deft, clear prose, Meijer takes everyday moments of loss and loneliness and threads them through with elements of the gothic, fantasy, and fairy tale . . . Taut and ruthless, Meijer's tales somehow manage to be both believable in their strangeness and recognizable in their pointed cruelties. Here are the misfits, the overweight, and the lonely. The obsessives and the broken. Here are the monsters―and they look an awful lot like you. A dark and surprising new voice in short fiction." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"The characters in Meijer's debut collection of short stories are defined by their obsessions and are brought to life in quick, deft strokes. To enter their lives, however briefly, is to enter a warped world in which convention is upended and consequences only implied. Meijer's writing is arresting and disturbing, burning with clarity at even the most complex moments . . . The sharpness with which these people are drawn, largely without context beyond the immediate situation, only reinforces the strangeness of the tales they inhabit, and leaves the reader with burning questions unanswered." --Bridget Thoreson, Booklist

"This blurred line between animal and woman, and the notion that these hybrid women cannot and will not be domesticated, runs through every story in Heartbreaker. Yet each iteration feels freshly uncomfortable, each rabid girl uniquely resistant to laws of man or nature that might bind them. So untethered are these girls and women that the stories more often than not occupy a surreal space between reality and fable. But forget the kind of magical realism that plays heavy with sentimentality or sweetness; any magic in a Meijer story serves only to reveal its raw, ugly underbelly . . . The stories in this collection are as frank and strange and unpredictable as the girls and women they are about. The writing, never indulgent, takes sharp turns and steep drops, with flashes of Joy Williams and Eudora Welty in its unapologetic nakedness." --Aja Gabel, Southern Humanities Review

"The thirteen stories in Maryse Meijer's Heartbreaker are defiant to their type and bold within their bounds. They thrust themselves onto your lap and stay on your mind for days . . . Meijer writes with the controlled restraint of an explosives expert wiring a building for collapse. Reading her work is like taking a seat in that abandoned place and listening to the eerie shifting sounds. Soon enough, the whole thing will come down around you." --Amelia Gray, Electric Literature

"Maryse Meijer has written a scowl of a book, a gleaming hungry mouth, a chomp. You feel lucky to get out alive, and then you just feel lucky. There you are, missing the danger, longing again for its toothed beauty. Heartbreaker is a bright and dark joy."-- Lindsay Hunter, author of Ugly Girls

"The finely etched stories of Heartbreaker are glorious with menace and mystery. Maryse Meijer writes straight into the fire to retrieve the violent ache, the insatiable desire, the trembling love at its hot, hot center. These are terrifying, surprising, beautiful stories, for which I couldn't be more grateful." --Maud Casey, author of The Man Who Walked Away

Praise for Northwood

"In Northwood, Maryse Meijer artfully explores themes of pain, desire, and the meeting place of the two, for a surreal, fairytale-esque accounting of what happens when we go to the darkest places within ourselves, and within others." --NYLON

"In Northwood, Meijer stitches together prose and verse into an unnerving, mesmerizing portrait of a violent relationship. The book borrows imagery and ideas from fairy tales, Greek mythology, and Tarot." --Kate Tuttle, The Boston Globe

"Readers are pulled into a tumultuous relationship with phrases that probe a contained emotional history, to evoke a pathos that lasts the length of the novella . . . The vulnerability, slicing for its exposition and lyricism, sweeps us in; we cannot refuse reading, returning, and reflecting." --Kaitlyn Yates, The Arkansas International

"A gorgeous follow-up to Meijer's devastating debut, this novella follows a young woman into the woods as she flees from violence." --Chicago Review of Books

"Instructions for reading Northwood Clear our an hour or two. Make some tea. Shut the door, and prepare for an emotional and sensory experience. Meijer's stunning novella blends fable with bracing realism, as well as prose with poetry, to create an intoxicating portrait of an intense love affair and its aftermath. Anyone who's lost themselves in love of their art or in love for another person will relate to this narrator's journey." --Refinery29

"Like the best fairy tales, Northwood shows us the clockwork that lies beneath society, but like the best modern fiction it asks us to confront our own acceptance of that society. It nudges us off safe paths and urges us further and further into the woods, and there isn't a breadcrumb in sight."

"Most books are an experience, some books act as precious objects, but occasionally--when many stars and aesthetics align--a book can be both. Maryse Meijer's Northwood enters that slim, murky category of journey and sculpture . . . Perhaps the best part of this book is Meijer's ability to add new dimensions to ancient cliches. She handles 'once upon a time' imagery with a careful eye for cruelty, for weirdness . . . To indulge in a couple cliches in response: This book is a page turner; you won't be able to put it down; you'll read it all in one go." ―Diana Valenzuela, The Millions

"Meijer blends the quotidian with the folkloric, tells much of the story in verse, and utilizes a host of formally inventive page layouts along the way . . . A visceral book . . . In telling this particular story of a life, Meijer takes abundant risks, and in the end the work she's created is a singular and gripping one." --Tobias Carroll, Vol. 1 Brooklyn

"Maryse Meijer's fiction bristles with intensity, ambiguity, and harrowing moments . . . Northwood . . . features a host of bold structural risks, from its use of verse passages to some unorthodox page design. It blends the archetypal with the deeply personal, and creates something new as it goes." --Vol. 1 Brooklyn

"With incredible precision, Meijer takes traditional, known elements and manipulates them into a hybrid fable that possesses all the danger and violence of a classic Grimm narrative, creating a product that defies expectations and denies genre . . . Meijer's deft craftsmanship and clear focus make Northwood a darkly intriguing work that is both frightening and undeniably seductive." --Jen Corrigan, The Coil

"A tale of obsessive love, Northwood interrogates fairy tale and myth, remixing familiar characters in new settings and asking what happens when we follow real-life fairy tales to their logical conclusions. Where some modern stories take a single element or story, Meijer hops from Red Riding Hood to Rapunzel, from Ovid to the Tarot, always bringing everything back to that tender spot where a sense of identity meets raw desire. And her language is simply incandescent." --Leah Schnelbach, Book Marks

"Beautifully and mysteriously told in shards . . . Some entries are poems that skip around the page physically, some read like journal entries as if she woke up halfway through a sentence, struggling to grasp the precious details of a glimpse, a lovesick memory like heroin . . . We will leave no crumbs to mark our trail when we slip into this story." --Newcity Lit

"Meijer's fluid, strange novella is told in brief, poetic bursts . . . Even the formatting of the book belies its arresting nature; published in stark white text on black pages, wrapped in a bright red cover, the poems may stop you in your tracks." --Brit + Co

"This deft synthesis of poetry, prose, horror, and then some, forces us to examine all the little broken pieces of our culture, of ourselves, and to ask what kind of art can be made with these." --Kenyon Review

"Meijer follows an overwhelming affair and its long reach in this evocative work, constructed as a blend of poems and brief, disconnected snippets . . . Passages crackle with breathtakingly fresh images . . . This challenging but beautiful work will compel readers to fit together the pieces of the protagonist's lingering trauma." --Publishers Weekly

"Meijer is an expert at worldbuilding, and the narrative she spins is fractured across fairy tale, mythology, and the occult . . . Like Anne Carson or Maggie Nelson, Meijer creates her own genre, somewhere between poetry and prose, myth and reality . . . Memorable, strange, and haunting. Fans of Kelly Link, Carmen Maria Machado, and Kate Bernheimer will find much to love in Meijer's haunted woods." --Kirkus Reviews

"This strange and beautiful novella has everything I want: formal play, myths and fairy tales, the politics of art-making, the all-obliterating power and complexity of desire, a cabin in the woods. I can't wait to see what Maryse Meijer does next." --Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties

"Northwood's mesmerizing alchemy is this: pain + desire + the deep, dark woods = a book so addictive you will inhale it in one breath. Meijer has made her own form, something new and wide-open, something as blissful and broken as the language of lovesickness itself." --Samantha Hunt, author of The Dark Dark

"With all the precision, concision, and mystery of an essential Grimms' fairy tale, the stunning passages in Mayrse Meijer's Northwood lure us down wooded paths where woodcutter, bear, fox, moth, and lover allure and menace.The woman inside these pages draws a world as inevitable, endangered, and necessary as any Gretel or Snow White. Count me a fan of this original writer." --Victoria Redel, author of Before Everything and Make Me Do Things