We Can Only Save Ourselves

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Product Details

Harper Perennial
Publish Date
5.3 X 8.0 X 0.8 inches | 0.5 pounds

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About the Author

Born, raised, and based in Houston, Texas, Alison Wisdom has an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, received a novel-writing grant from Wedgwood Circle, and was a finalist for this year's Rona Jaffe Award. She has attended Tin House and the Lighthouse Writers Workshop, where she was a finalist for the Emerging Writers Fellowship. Alison's short stories have been published in Ploughshares, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Indiana Review, and more.


Captivating.--Publishers Weekly
"A dreamy debut. . . . Propulsive and haunting. . . . Wisdom hits each note with perfect precision." --Kirkus Reviews
"Eerie and powerful. . . . the hypnotic storytelling and exploration of Alice's character--and the character of Alice's entire town--will draw readers in."--Booklist
Alison Wisdom's clear-eyed debut lulls you into a tenuous comfort, only to jump out when least expected. The collective narration flawlessly juggles youthful idealism and hardened maturity, marking the decisions women make--both deliberate and coerced--and their struggle to break free from societies determined to stifle their freedom to choose. Insidiously haunting, subtly clever, and impossible to put down.--Julia Fine, author of What Should be Wild
This is a melancholy, dreamlike book about group dynamics, power, growing up, and the choices people can't take back. Alison Wisdom gives her haunting story a quiet but inexorable forward momentum--like that of adolescence itself.--Lydia Kiesling, author of Golden State
Alison Wisdom's addictive, down-the-rabbit-hole debut reads like The Girls by way of The Virgin Suicides, with an extra dash of Cheever's unsettling suburbia. The result is sinister and surprising: a novel I couldn't put down, and one that I kept thinking about long after I'd reached its unexpected, chilling end.--Emily Temple, author of The Lightness
In this tense, complicated novel, the loss of a daughter is observed through the singular, haunting voice of the town's mothers as they wage a daily battle for safety under the guise of conformity and belonging. What is the cost of leaving, and what is the cost of staying? There are no easy answers in this thrilling debut novel by Texas writer Alison Wisdom, whose taut, steely prose reveals new complexities, questions, and dangers with each turn of the page.--Elizabeth Wetmore, New York Times bestselling author of Valentine
A haunting, beautifully written story of a girl falling into darkness. Alison Wisdom renders a fascinating portrayal of the subtle shifts in tension, power, and affection among the young women who follow a Manson-esque cult leader. With the propulsion of a page-turner and the detail of a psychological study, We Can Only Save Ourselves is a stark and captivating novel. --Jennie Melamed, author of Gather the Daughters
In her beguiling debut, Alison Wisdom exposes the menace concealed just beneath the surface of the ordinary. When Alice Lange falls off the map, abandoning her status as a beloved it-girl in her suburban enclave to pursue a mysterious stranger, I fell right with her. A story of mothers and daughters, the competing allures of safety and danger, and the volatility of early adulthood, this is a spellbinding novel that followed me into my days.--Alexis Schaitkin, author of Saint X
"Beautiful and wry, We Can Only Save Ourselves is the story of a teenager who breaks free from the confines of her suburban home to try to find a more authentic way of living. I wanted to look away as the novel spun toward an ominous conclusion, but I couldn't stop reading. A haunting and immersive debut with echoes of Tom Perrotta's Little Children and Jeffrey Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides."--Kate Hope Day, author of If, Then and In the Quick