GalleyCrush: Why Visit America


Today’s GalleyCrush is Matthew Baker’s Why Visit America, forthcoming from Henry Holt and Company on August 4, 2020.

Perfect pitch: “In the fiercely original Why Visit America, Matthew Baker captures all that is exasperating, absurd, tragic, and nonetheless compelling about life in our contemporary United States.”

First lines: “A sudden reversal. In seventh grade this ‘Nate Vanderveen’ chose to lavish our niece with flowering weeds, with vending-machine jewelry, with convenience-store chocolates, with love notes written on the back of homework he hadn’t done, but now in ninth grade this ‘Nate’ chooses to lavish her with curses (‘Go fuck a dog you freak’), ridicule (‘My tits are bigger than that bitch’s’), and slander (‘Emma sucked me off once too’).”

Big blurb: “These are high-concept narratives that somehow gain depth and clarity as Baker finds the heart of the story. It’s both a love letter and a critique of the world we live in and the world that awaits us.” —Kevin Wilson

Book notes: Hardcover, fiction, 368 pages.

Author bio: Named one of Variety’s “10 Storytellers to Watch,” Matthew Baker is the author of the story collection Hybrid Creatures and the Edgar Award–nominated children’s novel If You Find This. His fiction has appeared in publications including the Paris Review, American Short Fiction, One Story, Electric Literature, Conjunctions, and Best of the Net. Born in the Great Lakes region of the United States, he currently lives in New York City.