An unexpected horror story, tension bleeds off the page as we follow Cassie through the life she's cobbled together, a miniature black hole her only companion. The true horror, though, comes not from fear of the unknown, but upon realizing the circumstances of Cassie's personal hellscape (a toxic workplace, meditations on motherhood in a world in decline) are only all too familiar.
Sarah Rose Etter at her most poetic — each page calls to your soul in ways that you’ve wanted to do on your own but couldn’t quite find the words or narrative for! Behold, modern life when it’s mirrored right back at you in this book. Recognize all the feelings that comes with making a living & the relief that you’re not alone in trying your best. You just know this book will outlast us all.
July 2023 Indie Next List
“Ripe is a delicious book — the Persephone myth retold amidst swirling anxieties in a Silicon Valley tech startup. Our lonely narrator is accompanied by a black hole. A literal one. Visceral and smart, Etter carefully chose every word.”
— Skylar Miklus, Still North Books & Bar, Hanover, NH
NATIONAL BESTSELLER * A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice * A Roxane Gay Audacious Book Club Selection * A Marie Claire Book Club Pick
A surreal novel with “a dark, delicious edge” (Time) about a woman in Silicon Valley who must decide how much she’s willing to give up for success—from an award-winning writer whose work Roxane Gay calls “utterly unique and remarkable.”
A year into her dream job at a cutthroat Silicon Valley start-up, Cassie finds herself trapped in a corporate nightmare. Between the long hours, toxic bosses, and unethical projects, she also struggles to reconcile the glittering promise of a city where obscene wealth lives alongside abject poverty and suffering. Ivy League grads complain about the snack selection from a conference room with a view of unhoused people bathing in the bay. Start-up burnouts leap into the paths of commuter trains, and men literally set themselves on fire in the streets.
Though isolated, Cassie is never alone. From her earliest memory, a miniature black hole has been her constant companion. It feeds on her depression and anxiety, growing or shrinking in relation to her distress. The black hole watches, but it also waits. Its relentless pull draws Cassie ever closer as the world around her unravels.
When she ends up unexpectedly pregnant at the same time her CEO’s demands cross into illegal territory, Cassie must decide whether the tempting fruits of Silicon Valley are really worth it. Sharp but vulnerable, unsettling yet darkly comic, Ripeportrays one millennial woman’s journey through our late-capitalist hellscape and offers a brilliantly incisive look at the absurdities of modern life.
About the Author
Sarah Rose Etter is the author of the chapbook Tongue Party and The Book of X, winner of a Shirley Jackson Award for best novel. Her work has appeared in Time, Guernica, BOMB, the Bennington Review, The Cut, VICE, and elsewhere. She has been awarded residences at the Jack Kerouac House, the Disquiet International program in Portugal, and the Gullkistan in Iceland. She earned her BA in English from Pennsylvania State University and her MFA in fiction from Rosemont College. She lives in Los Angeles. For more info, visit SarahRoseEtter.com.
"Ripe has a dark, delicious edge." —TIME
“Sharp . . . absorbing . . . unforgettable . . . Etter’s exquisite prose powers the book. . . . [She] expertly diverts the novel from neat or didactic tropes. . . . [and] accomplishes what we seek in fiction: a deeply human connection.” —New York Times Book Review
"A dark look at the underbelly of capitalism. . . . Sarah Rose Etter is a prophet for the sad girls." —NYLON
“A novel like no other. . . . Etter’s work is undoubtedly surreal, but then so is American life today. She knows how to channel its contradictions because she lives them. . . . Ripe hits very close to home.” —Los Angeles Times
"A masterclass in creating tension. . . . This is the kind of novel that reminds us that the apocalypse is now. Dystopia is here." —Roxane Gay
"An explosive narrative of a woman coming undone as the world burns. . . . A deliciously bitter irony pervades. . . . A scathing look at corporate greed and its many dire consequences, this is deeply felt and cathartic.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"At once grim and playful, Ripe succeeds where other dystopian novels sometimes fail, by emphasizing the personal and particular agony of a single frazzled rat in the capitalist maze." —Philadelphia Inquirer
“An existential page-turner . . . super dark and very funny . . . Etter yanks you into Cassie’s deep, meaningless void, and I’ve never had a more enjoyable time wading through this specific level of hell.” —Jezebel
“Etter opens Ripe with an onslaught of visceral imagery that stays at a fever pitch all the way through. . . . In a weird way, reading Ripe feels like being hit over the head with a cast-iron frying pan, then willingly going back for more. . . . clear-eyed . . . harrowing . . . powerful." —San Francisco Chronicle
"Etter tells this gothic tale of twenty-first-century anomie, isolation, and despair in potent, fast-paced passages that are rich with fairytale-esque drama and sharp with parable-esque restraint. . . . cathartic, addictive, delicious." —Chicago Review of Books
“A poignantly tragic, absurdist view of the 'late-capitalist hellscape' that is grind culture. . . . [A] glorious sucker punch of a second novel. . . . It’s a razor-sharp commentary on the relentlessness of tech culture and millennial striver conditioning.” —Shondaland
“[An] astonishing tour de force. . . . Masterfully juxtaposing 'wild amounts of wealth' with 'extreme poverty and displacement,' Etter examines deep inequities in an image obsessed, capitalist society. Her biting social commentary layers horror with dark comedy, using vivid imagery and striking language to great effect." —Booklist (starred review)
“A fresh voice, Etter, winner of the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel for The Book of X, will undoubtedly cement her place in the literary scene with this one.” —Zibby Owens, Good Morning America
“HOLY SHIT, this book wrecked me!” —Samantha Irby, New York Times bestselling author of Quietly Hostile
"A lurid, tense, and compelling novel. . . . Etter builds a lush and decaying landscape around a woman with an impossible affliction." —Kirkus (starred review)
"Sarah Rose Etter is a wonder, and this novel is a knife to the heart." —Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties
"An absolute must read if you love an unravelling main protagonist. . . . Unsettling, tense, and funny . . . we think you’ll love this one." —Glamour (UK)
"One of the best novels of the year. . . . Etter is proving to be one of the most talented novelists of her generation." —Colorado Sun