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One of Refinery29's Best Books of the Summer
One of Lit Hub's Best New Books of the Summer
“If Ottessa Moshfegh and Phoebe Waller-Bridge painted the town red together." ―Courtney Maum
In HYSTERIA, we meet a young woman an hour into yet another alcohol-fueled, masochistic, sexual bender at her local bar. There is a new bartender working this time, one she hasn't seen before, but who can properly make a drink. He looks familiar, and as she is consumed by shame from her behavior the previous week― hooking up with her parents' colleague and her roommate's brother― she also becomes convinced that her Brooklyn bartender is actually Sigmund Freud. They embark on a relationship, and she is forced to confront her past through the prism of their complex, revealing, and sometimes shocking meetings. With the help of Freud―or whoever he is―she begins to untangle her Oedipal leanings, her upbringing, and her desires. Jessica Gross's debut is unflinchingly perceptive and honest, darkly funny, and unafraid of mining the deepest fears of contemporary lives.
“Jessica Gross’s riveting tale of sexual adventure and misadventure is at once a scrupulous analysis of the way desire and shame fuel each other in the human psyche, and a dark, fantastical comedy of breakdown and self-discovery in contemporary New York. I loved its bracing candor, its bold resurrection of Freud for the twenty-first century, its bright sketches of city sidewalks and bars, above all its tender intelligence and good humor. Hysteria seems to me the work of a true original.” ― James Lasdun, author of The Fall Guy
"Hysteria tells the truth about the counterintuitive logic of desire and daughterhood as its perfectly flawed heroine tries to obliterate herself one Daddy at a time. So intimate I felt like I was eavesdropping, a debut that is from page one as compelling and breathless as the sex bender it details. A lusty feat. Hysteria is a thrilling, sexy tear."
―Marie-Helene Bertino, author of Parakeet
“Who better to confront parental wrongs and sexual acting out than the master himself? In Hysteria, Gross has created what many of us dream of―a direct relationship with the enigmatic Freud. In a story that is both delightfully deluded and emotionally raw, Hysteria is true to its name, you want to look away but you can't―this book grips you!"
―Darcey Steinke, author of Flash Count Diary
“If Ottessa Moshfegh and Phoebe Waller-Bridge painted the town red together, this could be the fictive product of their evening out. Nervy, candid, wet with ink-black humor, Hysteria champions female sexual appetites while also exploring the emotional hunger that leads to self sabotage.”
―Courtney Maum, author of Costalegre
Jessica Gross's writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, and The Paris Review Daily, among other places. She holds an MFA in fiction from The New School, a Master's degree in cultural reporting and criticism from New York University and a Bachelor's in anthropology from Princeton University. She has received fellowships in fiction from the Yiddish Book Center (2017) and the 14th Street Y (2015-16), where she also served as editor of the LABA Journal. She currently teaches writing at Eugene Lang College at The New School. Hysteria is her first novel.
Marie-Helene Bertino is the author of 2 A.M. at the Cat's Pajamas and the story collection Safe as Houses. She was the 2017 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Fellow in Cork, Ireland. Her work has received The O. Henry Prize, The Pushcart Prize, The Iowa Short Fiction Award, The Mississippi Review Story Prize, fellowships from MacDowell, Sewannee, and NYC's The Center for Fiction, and has twice been featured on NPR's Selected Shorts. Formerly the associate editor of One Story and Catapult, she now teaches at NYU, The New School, and Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe.