The Recent East

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Product Details

$27.00  $25.11
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.2 X 1.5 inches | 1.05 pounds
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About the Author

Thomas Grattan is the author of the novel The Recent East, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, longlisted for the 2021 PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel, and named a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. His writing has appeared in several publications, including The New York Times Book Review, One Story, Slice, and The Colorado Review, and was listed as a notable story in Best American Short Stories. He has an MFA in Fiction Writing from Brooklyn College and has taught middle school English for more than a decade. He lives in upstate New York.


A sprawling, captivating story of identity, displacement, family, and belonging, Thomas Grattan's debut novel is at turns heart-breaking and life-affirming, a necessary reminder of the different ways we can find, or create, a home for ourselves . . . The novel goes back and forth in time, offering a fascinating, clear-eyed view of the quickly changing landscape of Germany in the late 20th century, but what it does best of all is show the ways in which we are all of us, always, searching to better understand who we are, and how we fit into an ever-changing world. --Kristen Iversen, Refinery29

Thomas Grattan's written one of my favorite debuts of the year. It's a queer coming-of-age (and beyond) story that manages to avoid all of the usual cliches typically associated with the genre . . . The Recent East is one of those books that I couldn't put down. --Jeffrey Masters, The Advocate

[A] striking and surprising debut . . . At turns funny and frightening, this is a moving, memorable portrait of a family and town in turmoil. --Publishers Weekly

Grattan is a graceful writer and keen observer of family dynamics; the domestic themes, realist style, and emphasis on German culture can't help but recall Jonathan Franzen . . . An ambitious, artful, and winding tale of a family in search of its moorings. --Kirkus

I fell in love with The Recent East, which is absolutely spellbinding. Thomas Grattan's writing on family, displacement, and queerness is so well wrought, intimate, and mesmerizing. This is an exquisite and profound novel. I will be pushing it in the hands of everyone I know. --Etaf Rum, author of A Woman is No Man

Between life and death, as The Recent East would have it, we move 'from place to memory.' This remarkably humane first novel manages the quantum feat of restoring Cold War-era Germany to both categories at once. Its powerful intelligence and crystalline observations revive a set of memories - the late '60s, the early '90s - touched with a bygone world's Ostalgie. Yet in his enormous sensitivity, his feel for character, and his wry humor, Thomas Grattan also pins down precisely our own contentious place in history - our own riven and intimate selves. All in all: Ein Wunder! --Garth Risk Hallberg, author of City on Fire

Thomas Grattan explores the complex forces at work within families, forces that can both impede and facilitate the formation of individual identity. In this multi-generational, multi-continent journey, the threads of a family fray and interweave against the backdrop of immigration and political change, yielding moments of profound isolation and profound intimacy. Grattan has an enthralling voice and a deep understanding of the subtleties of human relationships. The Recent East is a bold and tender debut. --Helen Phillips, author of The Need

An epic that blossoms more than sprawls, The Recent East is capacious in its scope and generously, exquisitely controlled in its pacing and language. This is not a novel that falls through on its promises; every sentence renews the possibility of entering the world of this book, every page offers a new seduction. --Jordy Rosenberg, author of Confessions of the Fox