From the author of the TikTok phenomenon BUNNY
*FINALIST FOR A GOODREADS CHOICE AWARD FOR BEST HORROR*
*LONGLISTED FOR THE 2023 INTERNATIONAL DUBLIN AWARD*
“Dear Readers: This is one wild book! . . . No holds barred.” —Margaret Atwood via Twitter
“Mind-blowing. Equal parts brilliant and hilarious.” —Heather O’Neill, bestselling author of The Lonely Hearts Hotel and Lullabies for Little Criminals
From the critically acclaimed author of Bunny, a darkly funny novel about a theatre professor suffering chronic pain who, in the process of staging a troubled production of Shakespeare’s most maligned play, suddenly and miraculously recovers.
Miranda Fitch’s life is a waking nightmare. The accident that ended her burgeoning acting career left her with excruciating, chronic pain, a failed marriage, and a deepening dependence on painkillers. And now she’s on the verge of losing her job as a college theatre director. Determined to put on Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, the play that promised—and cost—her everything, she faces a mutinous cast hell-bent on staging Macbeth instead. Miranda sees her chance at redemption slip through her fingers.
That’s when she meets three strange benefactors who have an eerie knowledge of Miranda’s past and a tantalizing promise for her future: one where the show goes on, her rebellious students get what’s coming to them, and the invisible, doubted pain that’s kept her from the spotlight is made known.
With prose Margaret Atwood has described via Twitter as “no punches pulled, no hilarities dodged . . . genius,” Mona Awad has concocted her most potent, subversive novel yet. All’s Well is the story of a woman at her breaking point and a formidable, piercingly funny indictment of our collective refusal to witness and believe female pain.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In Mona Awad’s wicked smart psychological thriller, we’re invited into the hilarious and deeply cynical mind of theater professor Miranda Fitch. A former actress who took a debilitating tumble off the stage during a performance of Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well just as her career was hitting its stride, Miranda still dreams of redemption. So she decides to stage All’s Well instead of the student favorite Macbeth, in the face of some alarming hostility—even by drama-kid standards. Awad had us totally fascinated by Miranda as she starts to hit rock bottom—because that’s when the mysterious men in dark suits show up. With reality itself making a dramatic exit, we loved the experience of never quite being sure what was real and what was just in the theater of Miranda’s mind. A high-wire act with hints of Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, All’s Well is a tale that Shakespeare himself would applaud.
The pill-addled theater professor at the center of Awad's scathing if underwhelming latest (after Bunny) is nearing the end of her rope. Miranda Fitch passes her days in a self-medicated haze, numbing the debilitating pain she's felt since falling off the stage in a production of Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well. Worse still, no one seems to believe the severity of her condition. After the cast of her student production insists on putting on Macbeth rather than All's Well, Miranda is approached at a bar by three mysterious men who give her the ability to transfer her pain to others. In the first instance, she wrests a script from a mutinous student, who then clutches her wrist in pain where Miranda touched her. Eventually, Miranda's elation at escaping her pain gives way to a dangerously vindictive, manic spiral. Awad's novel is, like Miranda says about Shakespeare's All's Well, "neither a tragedy nor a comedy, something in between." Unfortunately, it falls short on both counts: Miranda's acerbic inner monologue reaches for humor but mostly misses, and the overwrought tone undermines the story's tragedy (when asked why she wanted to teach at the college: "I thought: Because my dreams have been killed. Because this is the beginning of my end"). It's an ambitious effort, but not one that pays off.