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Early Sobrieties: A Novel (Hardcover)

Early Sobrieties: A Novel By Michael Deagler Cover Image
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"Michael Deagler is the real deal."
—Percival Everett, 2023 Windham Campbell Prize recipient and author of Dr. No

Don’t worry about what Dennis Monk did when he was drinking. He’s sober now, ready to rejoin the world of leases and paychecks, reciprocal friendships and healthy romances—if only the world would agree to take him back. When his working-stiff parents kick him out of their suburban home, mere months into his frangible sobriety, the 26-year-old spends his first dry summer couch surfing through South Philadelphia, struggling to find a place for himself in the throng of adulthood.

Monk’s haphazard pilgrimage leads him through a city in flux: growing, gentrifying, haunted by its history and its unrealized potential. Everyone he knew from college seems to be doing better than him—and most of them aren’t even doing that well. His run-ins with former classmates, estranged drinking buddies, and prospective lovers challenge his version of events past and present, revealing that recovery is not the happy ending he’d expected, only a fraught next chapter.

Like a sober, millennial Jesus’ Son, Michael Deagler’s debut novel is the poignant confession of a recovering addict adrift in the fragmenting landscape of America’s middle class. Shot through with humor, hubris, and hard-earned insight, Early Sobrieties charts the limbos that exist between our better and worst selves, offering a portrait of a stifled generation collectively slouching towards grace.

About the Author

Michael Deagler’s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Harper’s, McSweeneys’ Quarterly Concern, Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, and elsewhere. He has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska City.

Praise For…

★ “A young man surfaces from the depths of alcoholism in Deagler’s pitch-perfect debut novel . . . This is a standout.”
Publishers Weekly (Starred review)

"Sharp and self-aware, with deep insight packed into no-fuss prose: a quarter-life-crisis tale for the ages."
Bustle, "Most Anticipated Book" of Spring 2024

"Michael Deagler is the real deal. This novel is surprising in all the best ways. The actions of the complex and complicated people in this world are not predictable, but always, frighteningly, believable. Deagler writes with great control and understatement. This is a truly intelligent work from a clearly intelligent writer."
—Percival Everett, 2023 Windham Campbell Prize recipient and author of Dr. No

"Illuminating and moving—Deagler's debut pulls in a reader with such an inviting clarity. There's something about the honesty in this voice that creates a lot of room for the reader to connect, imagine, and feel."
—Aimee Bender, author of The Butterfly Lampshade

"A luminous and observant debut about all the strangeness of returning to the places that formed you. The prose is spectacular."
—Akil Kumarasamy, author of Meet Us by the Roaring Sea

"Emotionally raw, often jaded, but still full of wonder, Early Sobrieties is an incredibly funny and tender story. Michael Deagler does a fantastic job of bringing into relief the absurdities of being a young adult and trying to find your place in a changing world."
—Craig Finn, songwriter and frontman of The Hold Steady

"Early Sobrieties is a miracle, a debut of startling beauty, grit, and grace. Cutting into the glow of its lyricism and humor, the awesome glare of undeceived vision illuminates every page."
—Greg Jackson, author of The Dimensions of a Cave

"Funny, insightful, and, above all, well-written, Early Sobrieties is a pleasure to read. Deagler manages to tell the story of his bewildered and rudderless protagonist in a way that is not rudderless at all, but rather precise and meaningful."
—David Sanchez, author of All Day is a Long Time

Product Details
ISBN: 9781662602245
ISBN-10: 1662602243
Publisher: Astra House
Publication Date: May 7th, 2024
Pages: 272
Language: English