A novel that celebrates radical queer survival and gleefully takes a hammer to false notions of success.
“The pure fun and sheer weirdness of Isabel Waidner’s mind cannot be matched; with each book, they get better and better. . . . This is that rare thing: An authentically radical novel that is joyful and hilarious.”—Merve Emre
This is the story of Corey Fah, a writer who has hit the literary jackpot: their novel has just won the prize for the Fictionalization of Social Evils. But the actual trophy, and with it the funds, hovers peskily out of reach.
Neon-beige, with UFO-like qualities, the elusive trophy leads Corey, with their partner Drew and eight-legged companion Bambi Pavok, on a spectacular quest through their childhood in the Forest and an unlikely stint on reality TV. Navigating those twin horrors, along with wormholes and time loops, Corey learns—the hard way—the difference between a prize and a gift.
Following the Goldsmiths Prize–winning Sterling Karat Gold, Isabel Waidner’s bold and buoyant new novel is about coming into one’s own, the labor of love, the tendency of history to repeat itself, and what ensues when a large amount of cultural capital is suddenly deposited in a place it has never been before.
"A quick read and a real mind-bender, Corey Fah Does Social Mobility is inspired satirical lunacy that delves deeply into social class, how marginalized creators are made to chase after cultural capital with no hope of catching it, queer and nonbinary visibility, capitalism, meat production, and the nature of love. If it doesn't become a cult classic, there's no justice in this—or any other—reality."—Rufus Hickok, Bust Magazine
"Rare . . . a novel with real stylistic and political ambition"—Zadie Smith, The Guardian
“This is a deeply funny and unrelentingly bizarre look at the vagaries of literary success, and although Waidner loads it with their trademark absurdity, it’s still grounded by the author’s straight-faced (but lively) prose. It’s beginning to look like there’s nothing the immensely talented Waidner can’t do. Another smart, entertaining dispatch from Waidner's bizarro world.”—Kirkus (starred review)
Merve Emre is the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing and Criticism at Wesleyan University, and a contributing writer at the New Yorker. Her books include Paraliterary: The Making of Bad Readers in Postwar America, The Personality Brokers, The Ferrante Letters, and The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway. She has been awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize, the Robert B. Silvers Prize for Literary Criticism, and the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing by the National Book Critics Circle.