WAYS TO DISAPPEAR

US: Little, Brown & Company
UK: Daunt Books
Italy: Garzanti Editions
Germany: Berlin Verlag
France: Feux Croises
Brazil: Editora 34

Winner of the 2016 Eagles Prize for Fiction
NPR Best of 2016
Buzzfeed Best Debut of 2016
BUST Best of 2016

Brooklyn Library Best Fiction of 2016

New York Times Editors’ Choice

Discover Great New Writers Pick at BN
Paris Review Staff Pick

Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Q&A about Ways to Disappear


“Novey has wholly eluded the hazards of writing about writers. Instead, this lush and tightly woven novel manages to be a meditation on all forms of translation while still charging forward with the momentum of a bullet.”—Catherine Lacey, New York Times Book Review

“Novey, an accomplished poet and translator, sustains suspense throughout with beautifully restrained prose. Yet her narrative is more than a mystery — it’s about language itself, both the yearning for comprehension and the desire to feel understood.”—Carmela Ciuraru, The New York Times

“Ways to Disappear is concerned not just with truth and the risks of its misplacement and misinterpretation, but with the importance of close reading. It’s a delightful, inventive paean to writing that generates “real emotion” and “genuine unease.” At one point Beatriz’s publisher likens literature to steaks on a grill, testing both “for density” as well as “for something tender in the middle yet still heavy enough to blacken the air.” This book is seared to perfection, medium rare.”—Heller McAlpin, NPR

“Novey — poet, translator, and now novelist — has created something special with the brisk, beautiful Ways to Disappear, a book that blooms in the spaces between languages, between continents, between selves past and present.”—Dustin Illingworth, Los Angeles Times

“[A] seductive mystery . . . Novey, a poet and translator, brings to her first novel a zesty comic touch and refreshing insights into the delicate processes of writing and translation.”—Jane Ciabattari, BBC

“I spent this week madly reading Idra Novey’s Ways to Disappear, not wanting to put it down until I’d finished.”—Nicole Rudick; Staff Pick, The Paris Review

“Ways to Disappear will no doubt be labelled one of the oddest novels of 2016. It’s also one of the subtlest and therefore the best.”— Julienne Isaacs, The Winnipeg Free Press

“Reminiscent of a Coen brothers movie….[a] spare, witty riddle of a novel.”—Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal

“Exhilarating . . . Sly, lovely writing . . . In Raquel, Beatriz’s hard-bitten daughter, [Novey] has created a heart-rending portrait of the price someone always ends up paying for genius. A writer to watch.”—Charles Finch, USA Today

Bewitching….A tale of playful suspense that ingeniously transmutes into a profound meditation on language and love.”
—Elliott Holt, O, The Oprah Magazine

“A novel that will leave you in a glow….Novey’s debut has a warmth and humor all her own.”—Lauren Goldenberg, Music & Literature

“A supercharged and perfectly-timed novel.”—Jeva Lange, Electric Literature

“Idra Novey’s elegant, comic debut novel gracefully bend[s] genres of mystery, romance, and noir, while considering philosophical ideas and telling a fun, entertaining story besides….Novey uses a light, sensitive touch and a giddy sense of play to explore weighty concepts….[There is] heady, lush pleasure found in Ways to Disappear, a novel whose powers of enchantment rival those of its fictional author.”
—Anita Felicelli, San Francisco Chronicle

“Uniquely captivating….an immensely entertaining read.”—Margie Romero, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Ways to Disappear goes from translator story to adventure story to allegorical tale-spinning… These detours, as well as the Bolañoesque off-stage author taking on celebrity significance (as in 2666’s Archimboldi), show that Novey’s capacious skills go far beyond translating. She is both a moving poet and a successful novelist.”-John Washington, Public Books

“Novey’s fascination with language and writing allows her to draw multiple meanings from every turn…in a novel of ideas”—Katherine Hill, Philadelphia Inquirer

“It’s more than just adventure and romance; it’s Novey’s story of a character who tries ‘to push everything. … To take all of it too far’ told by a writer, who, like the publisher Rocha, trims ‘each passage down to its intrinsic perfection.'”—Joseph Peschel, St.Louis Post-Dispatch

“Poet and translator Idra Novey brings a considerable imagination to her first work of fiction . . . Stylish and funny, romantic and surreal…as profound as it is playful.”—Lauren Bufferd, BookPage (Top Pick)

“…One of the most anticipated debuts of the year…Novey has a knack for engaging, humorous prose and audacious plotting the likes of which are rarely seen in a first novel.”—Jonathan Sturgeon, Flavorwire

“Novey has a style all her own….She is a singular voice who impressively has spun a story into a thrilling ride for her characters and readers alike.”—Paul LaRosa, New York Journal of Books

“A gorgeously written, truly fun literary mystery….with madcap humor and keen insights into the craziness of family dynamics.”—National Book Review

“With lean, incisive prose Novey delivers a bright, unpredictable novel that is both playful and vulnerable. It is an adventurous mystery set in a tropical paradise that is sure to leave you breathless.”—Dave Wheeler, Shelf Awareness (Starred Review)

“Humor, poignancy, passion, and a bit of magic are all elements of this delightful debut novel. Novey’s tightly drawn, superbly funny tale offers not only glimpses into modern Brazilian life and culture but also insights into the creative process of authors and translators. A quick read, largely because it is hard to put down.”—Faye Chadwell, Library Journal (Starred Review)

“a hot pursuit that mimics pulp fiction on its caperish exterior, but literary fiction in its deep center. “Ways to Disappear” is a gem.”—Jeffrey Ann Goudie, Kansas City Star

“Novey is astute, funny, and cunning in this story, which even in its brevity covers so much lush ground.”—Meredith Turits, Elle.com

“Ways to Disappear is far more than the story of any one woman’s quest for artistic or individual fulfillment…It’s a celebration of the possibilities fiction offers us to translate our own lives into things greater, more surreal than we could’ve imagined.”-Joanna Novack, Bustle

“Sleek.”—Megan O’Grady, Vogue.com, Best Books of February

“Poet and translator Novey’s briskly paced first novel is a clever literary mystery and a playful portrait of the artist as a young translator…it reads like an Ali Smith novel with a fun Brazilian noir vibe. But underlying these comic noir elements is an eloquent meditation on the art and anxiety of translation, as well as a story about literature as a means of revelation and concealment.”—starred and boxed review in Publishers Weekly

“Fast-paced and colorful…100% delight.”—Jarry Lee, BuzzFeed

“…a tour de force. Delightful and original.”Kirkus

“…a dazzling, truly memorable work of humor and heart.”Booklist

“…a surprisingly powerful novel that explores how the ties the bind us to what we hold most dear – our families, our identities – are not fixed but malleable. How well do we know our mothers? Ourselves? Our countries? Our languages? Being open to reevaluation, Novey seems to say, can bring us closer together – and set us free.”-Laura Farmer, Cedar Rapids Gazette

“a fever dream set in the tropics of Brazil, a man hunt in which each member of the rescue party is in search of the Beatriz Yagoda they knew–a Beatriz who may have never existed at all…”—Amy Jo Burns, Ploughshares

Ways to Disappear defies categorization and genre. It is like nothing else I’ve read, an un-doing of form, a translation of emotion and relationship.”—Charlie Smith, on www.hereweargoing.com

“Lit by luminous moments and humming with snatches of fever dream, Idra Novey’s WAYS TO DISAPPEAR offers an acute and surprising exploration of the ways in which we do appear to one another: the strange tributaries that lead us toward intimacy alongside the sacrifices that this intimacy compels. It’s a novel that questions what constitutes us: Is it what we do or what we imagine doing? The things we have or the things we long for? In its treatment of translation as a necessary deformation and an act of unexpected love, it translates these abstract questions into a narrative at once playful and chilling. It’s impossible to put this book down, or to shake its residue once you’ve finished it.”

—LESLIE JAMISON, author of The Empathy Exams

“If this novel were two hundred times longer, I’d happily read nothing else for the next year.  But in this reading, I so dreaded the end I doled out its last pages nearly one sentence at a time for days. Idra Novey’s novel is itself partly about the way that sentences and words can utterly fill us.  Her sentences do to us what the sentences of Beatriz Yagoda do to her devoted American translator, smitten, awkward, often painfully hilarious and brainy Emma.  With all its shimmering brilliance and insight, vividly drawn, beguiling characters, a knowing, unexoticized Brazil, and unabashed story-telling, Ways to Disappear is the most sublime novel I’ve read in a long time.”

—FRANCISCO GOLDMAN, author of Say Her Name

“Ways to Disappear is unlike any novel you’ve ever read. It’s a lush page-turner, a journey into the unique madness of modern Brazil, and a joyful ride into the crazed passion of literary creation itself. Idra Novey is a wonder of a writer. She’s supremely erudite and funny, and in this amazing first novel she takes on subjects as diverse as sex, publishing and butterflies with equal brio and wit.”

—HECTOR TOBAR, author of Deep Down Dark

“Exceptionally witty and heartfelt is not the usual combination. Nothing about this novel is usual. Every sentence surprises. Every character intrigues. I read this book with joy and serious admiration.”

—AMY BLOOM, author of Lucky Us

“I fell immediately under the spell of this short, strange, glorious novel. When Beatriz Yagoda, famous writer, international treasure, and mother of two, disappears into a tree in Copacabana and takes an arboreal leave of absence from the world, her worried translator, Emma, takes it upon herself to track Beatriz down. In addition to being a sui generis detective story, Emma’s quest to find her author is also a metaphysical journey along the fluid coastlines of life and art. Novey gives us a kaleidoscopic vision of a full universe and of her character’s devious hearts.”

—KAREN RUSSELL author of Vampires in the Lemon Grove

“With tremendous intelligence and wit, Ways to Disappear up-ends all the misleading memes about magical realism and in the process makes its own very real and unprecedented magic; this is a fantastic book.”

—RIVKA GALCHEN, author of Atmospheric Disturbances

“Ways to Disappear centers on the complicated and mysterious relationship between author and text and reader and writer.  Idra Novey has given us a first rate novel of ideas, a book that is also funny, poignant, and profound.”

—DARCEY STEINKE, author of Sister Golden Hair

“It’s not often you encounter a novel that’s unlike anything you’ve read, but Idra Novey’s spare, funny, and moving Ways to Disappear is just that. I loved this novel and would have gulped it down in a single afternoon if I hadn’t also wanted to stop and savor each sentence. Equal parts detective story, madcap comedy, and exploration of art and identity, it drew me in, charmed me, made me laugh and made me think. While under its spell, I just kept wondering how something so elegant and blazingly smart could be so much fun.”

—TED THOMPSON, author of The Land of Steady Habits