The Gone Dead


Product Details

Ecco Press
Publish Date
5.3 X 8.0 X 0.7 inches | 0.4 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Chanelle Benz has published work in Guernica,, The New York Times, Electric Literature, The American Reader, Fence and others, and is the recipient of an O. Henry Prize. Her story collection The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead was published in 2017 by Ecco/HarperCollins. It was named a Best Book of 2017 by The San Francisco Chronicle and one of Electric Literature's 15 Best Short Story Collections of 2017. It was also shortlisted for the 2018 Saroyan Prize and longlisted for the 2018 PEN/Robert Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the 2017 Story Prize. Her novel The Gone Dead was published by Ecco/HarperCollins in June 2019 and was a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice and a Tonight Show Summer Reads Finalist. It was named a best new book of the summer by O, The Oprah Magazine, Time, Southern Living, and Nylon. She currently lives in Memphis where she teaches at Rhodes College.


"Every chapter in The Gone Dead yields a surprise.... Benz's Delta is portrayed with care and depth.... Her attention to the recurring nature of racism in this country, and her gift for weaving these insights into a gripping narrative, establish Benz as an adept critic and storyteller." -- New York Times Book Review

"A powerful look at a region constantly haunted by its past.... Benz proved herself to be a master storyteller with her short story collection, and that talent is on full display.... An excellent novel from an author who writes with real grace and a wisdom beyond her years." -- NPR

"[Benz] captures human interaction with the polish of a seasoned dramatist, armed with a bevy of tools -- a feel for smooth dialogue; a rich sense of place; a knowledge of history and its impact on individuals, families, and communities -- that charge her words with authenticity.... Note-perfect." -- Entertainment Weekly

"The past shadows Billie when she goes back to Mississippi after 30 years to extract the truth from the riddle of her father's death.... A taut, voltaic novel." -- O, the Oprah Magazine

"[An] extraordinary new novel. " -- Southern Living

"Transports readers to the mucky Mississippi delta, where rising humidity and a few probing questions unearth a long-buried crime.... An examination of racial justice and history-- and whose versions are accepted as truth." -- Elle

"Haunting.... The first line of this impressive novel sets the stage for what follows: 'It is not exactly as she was picturing'.... What follows is an interrogation of memory, race, and the way that stories define our lives.... The novel retains this tension right up to its final pages." -- Ploughshares

"You can easily read The Gone Dead in a weekend, and you likely will. It grabs hold early with truly compelling characters and a central mystery.... An arresting whodunit, a portrait of an American family, and a Southern narrative that won't let the past go." -- Chapter 16

"A rich, arresting exploration of racial injustice and the long shadows cast by family legacy.... Propulsive from the outset, culminating in a wrenching final scene.... A beautiful and devastating portrait of the modern South." -- Publishers Weekly

"Beautifully written throughout.... Enthralling.... Recalling Lalita Tademy's Cane River, this work will appeal to lovers of African American, Southern, and historical fiction." -- Library Journal (starred review)

"Combines brisk plotting and striking characterization to provide a compelling read. . . . Benz proves her virtuosity as a writer. . . . Gripping." -- Booklist

"The southern novel will never be the same after this book. Billie James, the protagonist of The Gone Dead, holds more mystery, lyricism, tragedy, nuance than most characters I've read in recent years.... Writers were not supposed to be able to do what Benz does in The Gone Dead." -- Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy

"Chanelle Benz's prose is remarkable for its acute intelligence, flawless precision, and startling beauty. This wry, soulful novel reads like a thriller but an intimate one; it becomes both a genuine page turner and a deep character study." -- Dana Spiotta, author of Innocents and Others

"Chanelle Benz has the power and grace to make the quiet stunning and the explosive beautiful. The Gone Dead is a wonderous exploration of pain and confrontation of its sources."
-- Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of Friday Black

"Wise and assured, Chanelle Benz's The Gone Dead plunges the reader into a fraught and complicated homecoming of sorts, the South you return to after a life away, a place you never really knew.... Benz's prose is insightful and surprising, chock-full of beautiful sentences that demand re-reading." -- James McLaughlin, author of Bearskin

"I love this novel for many reasons, its fresh look at the hardscrabble Mississippi Delta, its varied voices that form a chorus around its main voice, Billie, and the mystery at its heart.... [The Gone Dead] feels as old and rich as the delta soil on which it happens." -- Tom Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter