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Threats

by

Threats Cover

 

Awards

Staff Pick

Threats presents a world thrown off-kilter by a mysterious death. David, the bewildered widower, struggles to uncover the source of his wife's undoing while simultaneously shielding himself from the truth. In a book filled with decay and self-destruction, Amelia Gray manages to make the grotesque endearing. Threats is sad, surreal, and strangely beautiful.
Recommended by Renee Pemberton, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A blazingly original electrifying mystery of love and loss from the haunted imagination of Amelia Gray

In the dead of winter, David, a retired dentist in an unnamed town in Ohio, is pretty sure his wife, Franny, is dead. But he can't quite figure out what killed her or why she had to die. Disoriented by grief, David struggles to unravel these mysteries which become increasingly baffling when he starts finding a series of elaborate and escalating threats hidden around his home.

I will gather your oldest friends at my home and we will have a conversation. You will hear us talking but when you come into the room we will stop talking.

Who left these notes? Was someone out to get Franny? Are they coming for him?

I will staple my address to your winter coat, little one. They will send you to me no matter what you claim.

Unfortunately for David, Detective Chico is also on the case and is intent on asking him questions that he doesn't know the answers to and introducing him to people — including a therapist who is practicing dream analysis in David's garage without his knowledge or consent — who don't appear to have David's best interests in mind. With no one to trust, David is forced to rely on his own memories and faculties, but they, too, are proving unreliable.

Curl up on my lap. Let me brush your hair with my fingers. I am singing you a lullaby. I am testing for structural weakness in your skull.

Full of psychological twists and turns, Threats beautifully balances moments of utter bewilderment and perfect clarity. Amelia Gray builds a world around the reader that is eerie yet familiar, violent yet tender. With ability and precision far beyond her years, Gray grabs you on the first page and never loosens her grip.

Review:

"David, a former dentist, receives a package containing the ashes of an unknown individual; later in the book, he encounters his wife, Franny, covered in blood, and he passes out. Thinking Franny has been murdered, afraid to leave his house and unable to piece together what is happening in his ruined life, David begins to lose his mind, a deterioration helped along by mysterious scraps of paper found throughout his house and the neighborhood bearing bizarre messages ('MY TRUTH WILL CAUSE ATOMIC SNOW UPON YOUR SWEET-SMELLING LAMBS AND CHILDREN'). In time, friends and strangers arrive, at random, with what David presumes to be nefarious intentions, and the unannounced comings and goings of ominous Det. Reginald Chico further unsettle David. David's life becomes increasingly weird as he wanders his now unfamiliar home, struggling to tease out the details of his past life and whether his wife is dead with what little is left of his fractured mind. The book is a series of short, disjointed, and unchronological chapters. The story can seem labyrinthine at times, but the narrative arc acts as a clever reflection of David's own developing mental illness. Gradually, as with any good detective novel, the pieces come together. What would have seemed gimmicky in the hands of a less skilled writer becomes a cunning whodunit with Gray (Museum of the Weird) at the reins. This is an innovative debut novel featuring a most unreliable (and compelling) narrator. Agent: Claudia Ballard, WME Entertainment." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"Amelia Gray is a sharpshooter, precise and deadly. Threats lures the reader with its poetic sensibilities and then subverts every expectation. Before long, there will be statues of Gray in various corners of the literary world." Emma Straub, author of Other People We Married

Review:

"Reading Amelia Gray is like a pyramid of rocks being built on a cloud. That's to say, its something fantastical, dreamlike, playful, and very dangerous. You will be amazed at what this writer can do." Shane Jones, author of Light Boxes

Review:

"The first time I encountered Amelia Gray's fiction, it slugged me in the jaw. The second time too, and the third. Said jaw-slugging has ensued nearly every time I've read something of hers, except for when instead it whispered sad and surprising but undeniable truths about the difficulty of intimacy and sense in the wretched blastoscape of modern life. And then it made me a grilled cheese sandwich to prove that the world can be a kind place, and it waited until I had sated myself and wiped away the crumbs before slugging me in the jaw again." Doug Dorst, author of The Surf Guru and Alive in Necropolis

Review:

"Arresting....Powerful....Brave." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Prickly....Surprising....Delectable." Publishers Weekly

Synopsis:

David's wife is dead. At least, he thinks she's dead. But he can't figure out what killed her or why she had to die, and his efforts to sort out whats happened have been interrupted by his discovery of a series of elaborate and escalating threats hidden in strange places around his home — one buried in the sugar bag, another carved into the side of his television. These disturbing threats may be the best clues to his wife's death:

CURL UP ON MY LAP. LET ME BRUSH YOUR HAIR WITH MY FINGERS. I AM SINGING YOU A LULLABY. I AM TESTING FOR STRUCTURAL WEAKNESS IN YOUR SKULL.

Detective Chico is also on the case, and is intent on asking David questions he doesn't know the answers to and introducing him to people who don't appear to have David's or his wife's best interests in mind. With no one to trust, David is forced to rely on his own memories and faculties — but they too are proving unreliable.

In Threats, Amelia Gray builds a world that is bizarre yet familiar, violent yet tender. It is an electrifying story of love and loss that grabs you on the first page and never loosens its grip.

Synopsis:

Davids wife is dead. At least, he thinks shes dead. But he cant figure out what killed her or why she had to die, and his efforts to sort out whats happened have been interrupted by his discovery of a series of elaborate and escalating threats hidden in strange places around his home—one buried in the sugar bag, another carved into the side of his television. These disturbing threats may be the best clues to his wifes death:

CURL UP ON MY LAP. LET ME BRUSH YOUR HAIR WITH MY FINGERS. I AM SINGING YOU A LULLABY. I AM TESTING FOR STRUCTURAL WEAKNESS IN YOUR SKULL.

Detective Chico is also on the case, and is intent on asking David questions he doesnt know the answers to and introducing him to people who dont appear to have Davids or his wifes best interests in mind. With no one to trust, David is forced to rely on his own memories and faculties—but they too are proving unreliable.

In THREATS, Amelia Gray builds a world that is bizarre yet familiar, violent yet tender. It is an electrifying story of love and loss that grabs you on the first page and never loosens its grip.

About the Author

Amelia Gray grew up in Tucson, Arizona. Her first collection of stories, AM/PM, was published in 2009. Her second collection, Museum of the Weird, was awarded the Ronald Sukenick/American Book Review Innovative Fiction Prize. She lives in Los Angeles. Threats is her first novel.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374533076
Author:
Gray, Amelia
Publisher:
Farrar Straus Giroux
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Psychological
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20120231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
7.5 x 5 in

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Threats Sale Trade Paper
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Product details 288 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374533076 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Threats presents a world thrown off-kilter by a mysterious death. David, the bewildered widower, struggles to uncover the source of his wife's undoing while simultaneously shielding himself from the truth. In a book filled with decay and self-destruction, Amelia Gray manages to make the grotesque endearing. Threats is sad, surreal, and strangely beautiful.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "David, a former dentist, receives a package containing the ashes of an unknown individual; later in the book, he encounters his wife, Franny, covered in blood, and he passes out. Thinking Franny has been murdered, afraid to leave his house and unable to piece together what is happening in his ruined life, David begins to lose his mind, a deterioration helped along by mysterious scraps of paper found throughout his house and the neighborhood bearing bizarre messages ('MY TRUTH WILL CAUSE ATOMIC SNOW UPON YOUR SWEET-SMELLING LAMBS AND CHILDREN'). In time, friends and strangers arrive, at random, with what David presumes to be nefarious intentions, and the unannounced comings and goings of ominous Det. Reginald Chico further unsettle David. David's life becomes increasingly weird as he wanders his now unfamiliar home, struggling to tease out the details of his past life and whether his wife is dead with what little is left of his fractured mind. The book is a series of short, disjointed, and unchronological chapters. The story can seem labyrinthine at times, but the narrative arc acts as a clever reflection of David's own developing mental illness. Gradually, as with any good detective novel, the pieces come together. What would have seemed gimmicky in the hands of a less skilled writer becomes a cunning whodunit with Gray (Museum of the Weird) at the reins. This is an innovative debut novel featuring a most unreliable (and compelling) narrator. Agent: Claudia Ballard, WME Entertainment." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Amelia Gray is a sharpshooter, precise and deadly. Threats lures the reader with its poetic sensibilities and then subverts every expectation. Before long, there will be statues of Gray in various corners of the literary world."
"Review" by , "Reading Amelia Gray is like a pyramid of rocks being built on a cloud. That's to say, its something fantastical, dreamlike, playful, and very dangerous. You will be amazed at what this writer can do."
"Review" by , "The first time I encountered Amelia Gray's fiction, it slugged me in the jaw. The second time too, and the third. Said jaw-slugging has ensued nearly every time I've read something of hers, except for when instead it whispered sad and surprising but undeniable truths about the difficulty of intimacy and sense in the wretched blastoscape of modern life. And then it made me a grilled cheese sandwich to prove that the world can be a kind place, and it waited until I had sated myself and wiped away the crumbs before slugging me in the jaw again."
"Review" by , "Arresting....Powerful....Brave."
"Review" by , "Prickly....Surprising....Delectable."
"Synopsis" by , David's wife is dead. At least, he thinks she's dead. But he can't figure out what killed her or why she had to die, and his efforts to sort out whats happened have been interrupted by his discovery of a series of elaborate and escalating threats hidden in strange places around his home — one buried in the sugar bag, another carved into the side of his television. These disturbing threats may be the best clues to his wife's death:

CURL UP ON MY LAP. LET ME BRUSH YOUR HAIR WITH MY FINGERS. I AM SINGING YOU A LULLABY. I AM TESTING FOR STRUCTURAL WEAKNESS IN YOUR SKULL.

Detective Chico is also on the case, and is intent on asking David questions he doesn't know the answers to and introducing him to people who don't appear to have David's or his wife's best interests in mind. With no one to trust, David is forced to rely on his own memories and faculties — but they too are proving unreliable.

In Threats, Amelia Gray builds a world that is bizarre yet familiar, violent yet tender. It is an electrifying story of love and loss that grabs you on the first page and never loosens its grip.

"Synopsis" by ,

Davids wife is dead. At least, he thinks shes dead. But he cant figure out what killed her or why she had to die, and his efforts to sort out whats happened have been interrupted by his discovery of a series of elaborate and escalating threats hidden in strange places around his home—one buried in the sugar bag, another carved into the side of his television. These disturbing threats may be the best clues to his wifes death:

CURL UP ON MY LAP. LET ME BRUSH YOUR HAIR WITH MY FINGERS. I AM SINGING YOU A LULLABY. I AM TESTING FOR STRUCTURAL WEAKNESS IN YOUR SKULL.

Detective Chico is also on the case, and is intent on asking David questions he doesnt know the answers to and introducing him to people who dont appear to have Davids or his wifes best interests in mind. With no one to trust, David is forced to rely on his own memories and faculties—but they too are proving unreliable.

In THREATS, Amelia Gray builds a world that is bizarre yet familiar, violent yet tender. It is an electrifying story of love and loss that grabs you on the first page and never loosens its grip.

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