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We Were the Universe by Kimberly King Parsons
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We Were the Universe

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We Were the Universe by Kimberly King Parsons
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May 14, 2024 | ISBN 9780593906811 | 590 Minutes

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    May 14, 2024 | ISBN 9780525521853

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  • May 14, 2024 | ISBN 9780593906811

    590 Minutes

    Buy from Other Retailers:

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“Singular… The ride could not be more rewarding; Parsons’s transgressive boldness allows us to feel the soul in places that moderation simply cannot reach… And though the book’s end brings a curtain-drop twist that is the plot-based equivalent of sudden mescaline clarity and awe, equally moving are the moments of joy found in the imagined interiority of Kit’s own fantasies… Parsons has gifted us with a profound, gutsy tale of grief’s dismantling power. The love between Kit and Julie continues to grow despite Julie’s death. They were a universe; by the novel’s end, they feel like a multiverse.”
—Alissa Nutting, The New York Times Book Review

We Were the Universe is a stunning novel, filled with compassion and an understanding of what it means to be a person in the world who wants—needs—to withdraw, but for too many reasons to count, can’t. This is a beautiful book that asks how we move on, or fail to, when our universe implodes.”
—Michael Shaub, Boston Globe

“Hilarious, profane, and profound all at once… Horny and haunted…. [Parsons] has written one of my favorite short story collections ever, and now one of my favorite novels.”
—Ruth Madievsky, Vanity Fair

“Kit is one of the most whip-smart, hilarious, atypical mothers in the history of fiction… A book that astonishes by a writer who possesses the same brilliance as her narrator. One caveat: You must read until the end. The last seven pages will leave you breathless.”
—Leigh Newman, Oprah Daily

“Kimberly King Parsons has written a novel and it’s stunning, a testament to the power of prose, a portal… We Were the Universe is a novel of contradictions and confluences, a novel of language and experience… Reading [Parsons] is like taking a drug that amps you up and calms you down, somehow all at once.”
Allie Rowbottom, Forever Magazine

“Parsons has created a world that feels deeply rooted in Texas culture, but mercifully devoid of any old-school, cliched descriptions of the state… The book’s inclusion of bisexual moms, LGBTQ+ characters, and psychedelic cactus connoisseurs expands the notion of what a modern-day Texan looks and sounds like… The book is about mourning a sibling, but it’s also hilarious at times, especially when it comes to Kit’s hot takes about modern motherhood… Made me laugh out loud. It’s easy to fall in love with the character. She’s a mess, but she’s trying her damnedest… Parsons’s depictions of grief, parenthood, and loving an addict… ring so true.”
—Dina Gachman, Texas Monthly

“A heartrendingly sad and gut-bustingly hilarious novel that gets at the galactic nature of grief… We Were the Universe eschews the conventional grief novel in its horniness, the conventional motherhood novel in its queerness, and even the conventional sex novel in its emphasis on fantasy over reality.”
—Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Autostraddle

“A wrenchingly honest novel, full of dark wit and feral delight, about a new mother navigating the trippy, uncharted wilderness between love and grief.”
—Jenny Offill, New York Times bestselling author of Weather

“With psychological perspicuity and psychedelic inventiveness, Kimberly King Parsons reveals the shapeshifting nature of grief, the wiliness of desire, the fluidity of linear time, and the truth that what begs to be felt will always find a way to be felt.”
—Melissa Broder, author of Death Valley

We Were the Universe is a grief-and-lust-and-breastmilk saturated psychedelic journey, a story told in the eternal present of an acid trip and the spiraling everyday life of a young Texan mother, pushing her daughter’s stroller around an unspeakable loss. This novel is a tonal masterpiece, a record I want to spin forever, and I feel so lucky that I can return to its deep magic.”
—Karen Russell, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Swamplandia!

“Parsons is a remarkable talent. She sees right into the maw of the flawed humans that live in her worlds, which is to say, she spies the humanity in all of us. Plus, she’s a prime prose stylist, one whose language never dips below flat-out amazing.” 
—Mitchell S. Jackson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Residue Years and Survival Math
“To read Kimberly King Parsons is to fall in love with the world and all its absurdities. Much like the psychedelics her narrator adores, Parsons’s prose is mind-altering—she takes the mundane, dust-sized details of daily existence and expands them into sparkling, technicolor constellations of the human condition. We Were the Universe is horny, wickedly funny, brutal in its exploration of motherhood and loss, the difficulty of keeping yourself from living in the past. At its core though, Parsons’s debut is achingly tender, beautiful and comforting in its assertion that coming of age is a lifelong process.”
—Jean Kyoung Frazier, author of Pizza Girl
“Sexy, exuberant, hilarious, and deep, We Were the Universe is a page-turning voyage into the churning waters of early motherhood and lurking grief. This debut novel is a major proclamation by America’s highest caliber fiction stylist; Kimberly King Parsons spares us not a single line, a single word, and beat by beat creates a cosmic music that soars past our expectations of the form, landing us somewhere utterly new. This book is its own trip, one I’d gladly take again and again, finding new meaning and magic each time. Breathtaking to the final moment.”
—Chelsea Bieker, author of Godshot and Madwoman

“Parsons’s debut novel follows 25-year-old Kit’s remarkable and original stream of consciousness as it obsessively circles the loss of her younger sister, Julie, who died four years ago while Kit was pregnant… This book seems suggestive evidence of a New Psychedelia, young women writers updating Carlos Castaneda for the 21st century, filling the eternal trippy desert with love and yearning and laughter. Parsons has created a character so appealing in her cheerful brokenness that you won’t want to leave her side for a minute.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred

“Parsons’s captivating novel is wholly alert to the untidiness of life, and Kit’s stream of thought is sensationally alive, a heart-wrenching foray into the complexity of loss and identity.”

“Parsons’s first book, the wonderful short story collection Black Light… brimmed with world-weary wit, queer yearning, and Hempel-esque sentences so deftly crafted. Her first novel is just as much a marvel, following a horny housewife and young mother who desperately needs time away for and from herself.”
—Michelle Hart, Electric Literature

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