Synopses & Reviews
A masterful collection from an important new voice in American fiction, Night Beast is a gorgeously written work of profound originality and vision. These doomed love stories and twisted fairytales explore the lives of women — particularly queer women and mothers — and reveal the monsters lurking in our daily lives: the madness, isolation, betrayals, and regrets that arise as we seek human connection.
Through this collection, readers are taken to places where the sun never sets, where cornfields rustle ominously and sleepwalkers prowl the night. In “Weekend,” the lead actors of an avant-garde television show begin to confuse their characters’ identities with their own; in "Go West, and Grow Up," a young girl living in a car with her mother is forced to shed her innocence too soon; and in “Safekeeping,” a woman trapped inside a futuristic safehouse gradually unravels as she waits for her lover, who may never return.
With exquisite prose and transfixing imagery, Joffre explores worlds both strange and familiar, homing in on the darker side of humanity. Powerful, unsettling, and wildly imaginative, Night Beast is a mind-bending, genre-hopping debut, a provocative and uncommonly raw examination of relationships and sexuality, trauma and redemption, the meaning of family, and coming-of-age — and growing old — as an outsider.
"Captivating...[Joffre’s characters] experience love and loss in a collection that amounts to a cri de coeur for sympathy and understanding. This is an auspicious debut." Publishers Weekly
"Ruth Joffre's stories are composed of equal parts brightness and secrecy. She turns the lights on all around her characters yet still permits them their mystery, so that beneath their sharp lines and vivid colors one senses something considerably darker and more enigmatic. They face you not like constructions on a page but like people in the world." Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Illumination and The Brief History of the Dead
"What pure pleasure to recommend to you the debut collection of Ruth Joffre, whose stories are nimble, audacious, and far seeing." Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble
About the Author
Ruth Joffre is the author of Night Beast. Born and raised in Northern Virginia, she graduated with honors from Cornell University and earned her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has appeared in the Kenyon Review, Mid-American Review, Masters Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Nashville Review, and Prairie Schooner, among others. She lives in Seattle, where she teaches writing and literature at the Hugo House.