In a pre-apocalyptic world not unlike our own, a young Instagram poet starts an affair with a California billionaire who's promised a time machine that will make everything normal again—whatever that means.
A whip-smart, absurdly funny debut novel for fans of Patricia Lockwood and Marlowe Granados.
Everyone knows something’s off, but nobody can agree on just what it is. Maybe it’s the weather; maybe everyone’s just so damn sensitive these days. Or maybe it’s because the animals of the world have finally had enough, besieging towns and cities and terrorizing their human residents.
Jenlena and her best friend Daphne are two humanities grads in their early 20s, trying to find their way in a society that has just eradicated all animals for the safety of humanity. In the post-fauna world, Jenlena transforms from an aspiring poet to a gig worker, capitalizing on other people’s grief by selling house plants that have come to replace pets and cosplaying as dogs for pay. Meanwhile Daphne, a once-promising student, flounders in a deep depression, smoking weed and ditching work to hang out with her once famous, now canceled boyfriend. When Jenlena meets the California billionaire Roderick Maeve, and the two become romantically entangled, she is exposed to a new understanding of wealth, power, and the gender economy—just as the world hurtles toward its alleged salvation.
Marked with Frankie Barnet’s poignant intelligence and sly sense of humor, Mood Swings is a stand-out debut novel that imagines with pitch-perfect absurdity what comes after life as we know it.
About the Author
Frankie Barnet is the author of a story collection, An Indoor Kind of Girl, and the forthcoming graphic literary novel Kim: A Novel Idea, both from Metatron Press in Canada. Her fiction has been published in places such as Joyland, Event Magazine, PRISM International, Washington Square Review, and the Best Canadian Stories anthology of both 2016 and 2019. She has an MFA from Syracuse University and lives in Montréal.
"Frankie Barnet's propulsive, wholly original novel probes our dark preoccupations and our sources of hope in a seemingly hopeless world. Whether digging into the consequences of climate change, the allure of tech billionaires, the repercussions of cancel culture, or the love/hate dynamics of intimate relationships, Barnet's singular voice is dazzling and unexpected. She has that rare ability to be at once poignant and genuinely fun, moving and totally hilarious. This book cracked my brain open in the best way possible—I'm obsessed and want everyone to read it!" —Alexandra Chang, author of Days of Distraction
"What a wild ride—Frankie Barnet has written a fast, funny, witty, chilling first novel that, while ostensibly about a future or alternative reality, summons up the feeling of living in this reality with startling acuity." —George Saunders, Booker Prize-winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo
"Mood Swings is a book of vicious wit and glittering, feral prose that lingers like a strange dream. Frankie Barnet possesses an enviable agility with language, zipping between characters with the jubilant chaos of a tilt-a-whirl and unspooling a deceptively devastating meditation on power, morality, and the end of the world. I couldn't stop reading once I started, and I can't stop talking about it now that I've finished. You'll want to hold its beating heart to yours; you'll want to keep it as a pet." —Aiden Arata, artist and writer