Publication Date: 27/07/2023 ISBN: 9781035007752 Category:

Open Throat

Henry Hoke

Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication Date: 27/07/2023 ISBN: 9781035007752 Category:


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Shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize for Fiction

‘An instant classic’ – THE GUARDIAN

‘A bloody masterpiece.’ – MELISSA BRODER, author of THE PISCES

‘Witty, emotional and gripping, Open Throat is a short but savage thrill ride’ – THE INDEPENDENT

‘Open Throat is Bret Easton Ellis meets mountain lion in the Hollywood Hills . . . it already has people talking’ – THE SUNDAY TIMES

I’ve never eaten a person but today I might . . .

A queer and dangerously hungry mountain lion lives in the drought-devastated land under the Hollywood sign. Fascinated by the voices around them, the lion spends their days protecting a nearby homeless encampment, observing hikers complain about their trauma and, in quiet moments, grappling with the complexities of their own identity.

When a man-made fire engulfs the encampment, the lion is forced from the hills down into the city the hikers call ‘ellay’. As they confront a carousel of temptations and threats, the lion takes us on a tour that spans the cruel inequalities of Los Angeles. But even when salvation finally seems within reach, they are forced to face down the ultimate question: do they want to eat a person, or become one?

‘Open Throat is what fiction should be.’ – THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

‘A blinding spotlight beam of a book that I was completely unable and unwilling to put down.’ – Catherine Lacey, author of Pew

Named a Most Anticipated Book by The New York Times, ELLE, Vanity Fair, Buzzfeed, i-D, Boston Globe, Nylon, Alta, Shondaland, Chicago Review of Books, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Literary Hub.

Publisher Review

Open Throat is a blinding spotlight beam of a book that I was completely unable and unwilling to put down. I am not convinced Henry Hoke isn't a mountain lion. -- Catherine Lacey, author of Pew [A] slim jewel of a novel . . . Though many readers will label Open Throat unconventional, this act of ravishing and outlandish imagination should be the norm, not the exception. At its best, fiction can make the familiar strange in order to bring readers and our world into scintillating focus. Open Throat is what fiction should be. * The New York Times Book Review * A propulsive, one-sitting read, if also a somber one . . . Without spoiling the story, it's perhaps enough to say that the climax of Open Throat is a very L.A. one, with spotlights and drama. But it's also a universal one. * Los Angeles Times * I didn't know I would feel such attachment to a mountain lion when I started reading, but in Henry Hoke's talented hands, they become an instantly memorable and endearing protagonist. * Buzzfeed * This lyrical story of loneliness and kinship in Los Angeles is, by turns, delightful and melancholy-and inventive throughout. * Vanity Fair * Henry Hoke's narrator is the most credible animal witness to human behavior since Robert Bresson's Balthazar. Original, fun and completely awakening, Open Throat is a devastating portrait of LA today. -- Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick Open Throat strikes the perfect balance of humor and trauma, creating an encapsulating read that interrogates the complexities of gender identity and a world marked by climate change. -- Michael Welch, Chicago Review of Books Open Throat feels like a comic book and a really good one; it feels the inside of animals, specifically one animal, a mountain lion, and with them we desire blood and I can't tell you how it ends but I love knowing a mountain lion so much. The beauty and tragedy of all of nature is in this character. Open Throat is a fierce writing act. Henry Hoke makes it true. -- Eileen Myles, author of For Now Daring and moving . . . Give this sinewy prose poem a chance and you'll fall under the spell of a forlorn voice trapped in the hellscape of modern America -- Ron Charles * The Washington Post * Strange, unique, and mesmerizing. -- Gabino Iglesias, Boston Globe In this fantastical, deeply moving, and original adventure--also an unforgettable reckoning with contemporary Los Angeles--Henry Hoke introduces an animal whose life is more than just survival: they are full of longing, regret, memory, sadness, and astute observation. -- Brontez Purnell, author of 100 Boyfriends Open Throat is an instant cult classic and a bloody masterpiece. Rhythmically brilliant, heart-wounding, and scathingly funny, I'm in love with a mountain lion and in awe of this book. -- Melissa Broder, author of The Pisces The premise alone makes Henry Hoke's startling achievement worth the purchase . . . Philosophical and heartfelt, Open Throat is the ultimate immersion into the mind of an unlikely protagonist. -- Lauren Puckett-Pope * ELLE * If like many people you are sick of human protagonists that are often nihilistic, self-destructive, fundamentally lonely people, then perhaps you would prefer Open Throat, which is narrated by a similarly lonely mountain lion who lives in the Hollywood Hills. -- i-D, 'fiction to be excited for in 2023' My favorite book of this century so far! I keep putting off writing this blurb because every time I pick up Open Throat I re-read it and fall back in love with this gay-ass big cat and then I have to spend the whole rest of the day thinking about mountain lions and humans and sex and bodies and death and climate change and bad dads and NY v LA and what is even possible in this world. Henry Hoke is a magician. -- Andrea Lawlor, author of Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl Wholly original, inventive, and surprising on every level. It affirms the capaciousness of the novel as a form. I wish more books took the kinds of chances Open Throat does. -- Diane Cook, author of the Booker Prize finalist novel The New Wilderness Brave; moving; excitingly bold. -- Charlotte Mendelson, author of The Exhibitionist Open Throat is a fable for our times that cements Henry Hoke as an essential voice in experimental and deliciously queer fiction. * Electric Literature * A tight, funny book with an alarmingly unique tone * The Brooklyn Rail * Distinctive. Endearing. Poetic. Funny. In Open Throat, Henry Hoke has given voice to something both familiar and strange, that speaks to the conscious and unconscious mind at the same time, deftly revealing the world. -- Octavia Bright, author of This Ragged Grace Compulsively readable -- Megan Milks, 4Columns Read something crazy this summer. * The Philadelphia Inquirer * I defy you to hear the premise of this sophomore novel from the always-interesting Henry Hoke and not immediately smash that preorder button . . . a playful, poignant, tragicomic delight. * Lit Hub * Inspired by a real lion who famously lived in Hollywood, this hilarious and touching tale is blazingly original and really rather brilliant. * The Bookseller, Editor's Choice * Compassionate, fierce, and bittersweet, this is an unforgettable love letter to the wild. * Kirkus * Playful [and] provocative . . . By turns funny and melancholy, this is a thrilling portrait of alienation. * Publisher's Weekly * A mountain cougar's glimpses of LA ('ellay'). Loved this tale of loneliness, longing and gore in the Hills. -- James Cahill, author of Tiepolo Blue

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