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A “dazzling” (Bryan Washington, author of Lot) and brilliantly satirical debut novel for fans of Women Talking and Red Clocks about two best friends—a disgraced influencer and a struggling actor—who form The Atmosphere, a cult designed to reform problematic men.
Sasha Marcus was once the epitome of contemporary success: an internet sensation, social media darling, and a creator of a high profile wellness brand for women. But a confrontation with an abusive troll has taken a horrifying turn, and now she’s at rock bottom: canceled and doxxed online, fired from her waitress job and fortressed in her apartment while men’s rights protestors rage outside. All that once glittered now condemns.
Sasha confides in her oldest childhood friend, Dyson—a failed actor with a history of body issues—who hatches a plan for Sasha to restore her reputation by becoming the face of his new business venture, The Atmosphere: a rehabilitation community for men. Based in an abandoned summer camp and billed as a workshop for job training, it is actually a rigorous program designed to rid men of their toxic masculinity and heal them physically, emotionally, and socially. Sasha has little choice but to accept. But what horrors await her as the resident female leader of a crew of washed up, desperate men? And what exactly does Dyson want?
Explosive and wickedly funny, this “Fight Club for the millennial generation” (Mat Johnson, author of Pym) peers straight into the dark heart of wellness and woke-ness, self-mythology and self-awareness, by asking what happens when we become addicted to the performance of ourselves.
Alex McElroy (they/them) is a nonbinary writer based in Brooklyn. They received their MFA from Arizona State University and their PhD from the University of Houston. Their writing has been supported by the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Tin House Summer Workshop, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Elizabeth George Foundation. The Atmospherians is their first novel.
Kristen Arnett is the NYT bestselling author of the debut novel Mostly Dead Things (Tin House, 2019) which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in fiction. She is a queer fiction and essay writer. She was awarded Ninth Letter's Literary Award in Fiction and is a columnist for Literary Hub. Her work has appeared at The New York Times, The Cut, North American Review, The Normal School, Gulf Coast, TriQuarterly, Guernica, Buzzfeed, Electric Literature, McSweeneys, PBS Newshour, Bennington Review, The Guardian, Salon, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Her story collection, Felt in the Jaw, was published by Split Lip Press and was awarded the 2017 Coil Book Award. She was a Spring 2020 Shearing Fellow at Black Mountain Institute. Her next two books (With Teeth: A Novel and an untitled collection of short stories) will be published by Riverhead Books (Penguin Random House). She has a Masters in Library and Information Science from Florida State University and currently lives in Miami, Florida.