A love story and a paean to untrammeled freedom, presented in dual free-verse narratives spoken by Sam and Hailey, two 16-year-old vagabonds.
Set in Nebraska during the Platte River’s massive spring migrations, this novel explores the power and limits of human intelligence.
From the publisher:
The acclaimed debut short story collection that introduced the world to an arresting and unforgettable new voice in fiction, from multi-award winning author ZZ Packer
ZZ Packer’s impressive range and talent are abundantly evident: Packer dazzles with her command of language, surprising and delighting us with unexpected turns and indelible images, as she takes us into the lives of characters on the periphery, unsure of where they belong. We meet a Brownie troop of black girls who are confronted with a troop of white girls; a young man who goes with his father to the Million Man March and must decide where his allegiance lies; an international group of drifters in Japan, who are starving, unable to find work; a girl in a Baltimore ghetto who has dreams of the larger world she has seen only on the screens in the television store nearby, where the Lithuanian shopkeeper holds out hope for attaining his own American Dream.
In 2006, the National Book Foundation established the 5 Under 35 prize to recognize young, debut fiction writers whose work promised to leave a lasting impression on the literary landscape. 5 Under 35 has identified some of the most celebrated young writers working today. Honorees include Brit Bennett, Angela Flournoy, Phil Klay, Nam Le, Valeria Luiselli, C.E. Morgan, Téa Obreht, ZZ Packer, Karen Russell, Justin Torres, Claire Vaye Watkins, Tiphanie Yanique, and Charles Yu.
5 Under 35 Honorees are writers from around the world, under the age of 35, who have published their first and only book of fiction—either a short story collection or a novel—within the last five years. In addition to being recognized at an invite-only ceremony in November, the honorees are presented with a $1,000 prize. Championing young authors at the beginning of their careers is part of the Foundation’s efforts to celebrate books, promote inclusivity, and engage more readers.
5 Under 35 Honorees are selected by authors previously recognized by the National Book Foundation—either by National Book Awards or 5 Under 35 itself. Selectors maintain confidentiality until the Honorees are announced in mid-September. As Honorees are selected at the discretion of the selection committee, publisher cannot nominate an honoree or submit a book for consideration.