LONGLISTED FOR THE PEN/HEMINGWAY AWARD FOR DEBUT NOVEL
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY AV CLUB, VULTURE, ESQUIRE AND LITERARY HUB
One day, the mother was a mother, but then one night, she was quite suddenly something else...
In this blazingly smart and voracious debut, an artist turned stay-at-home mom becomes convinced she's turning into a dog.
An ambitious mother puts her art career on hold to stay at home with her newborn son, but the experience does not match her imagination. Two years later, she steps into the bathroom for a break from her toddler's demands, only to discover a dense patch of hair on the back of her neck. In the mirror, her canines suddenly look sharper than she remembers. Her husband, who travels for work five days a week, casually dismisses her fears from faraway hotel rooms.
As the mother's symptoms intensify, and her temptation to give into her new dog impulses peak, she struggles to keep her alter-canine-identity secret. Seeking a cure at the library, she discovers the mysterious academic tome which becomes her bible, "A Field Guide to Magical Women: A Mythical Ethnography," and meets a group of mommies involved in a multi-level-marketing scheme who may also be more than what they seem.
An outrageously original novel of ideas about art, power and womanhood wrapped in a satirical fairy tale, Nightbitch will make you want to howl in laughter and recognition. And you should. You should howl as much as you want.
Yoder's guttural and luminous debut blends absurdism, humor, and myth to lay bare the feral, violent realities underlying a new mother's existence. An unnamed stay-at-home mother lives through a monotonous routine with her two-year-old son, while her kind yet mostly uninterested husband leaves for weeklong work trips each Monday. Things begin to change when the mother notices a patch of hair growing on the back of her neck; spots her new, curiously sharp canines in the mirror; and begins to feel a tail emerging from her lower back. Bewildered by her metamorphosis, the mother searches online for explanations with terms such as "looks like I was punched hard in both eyes." Horrified by the dizzying results, she treks to the library, a zone that promises the comfort of knowledge but is colonized by other mothers ("She actively resisted making friends in a mom context and objected to the sort of clapping and cooing that went on in the library room... the happiness and positivity that would also be mandatory," Yoder writes). She checks out a book titled A Field Guide to Magical Women, which validates her experience and encourages her to embrace the freedom of her new animal nature. Bursting with fury, loneliness, and vulgarity, Yoder's narrative revels in its deconstruction of the social script women and mothers are taught to follow, painstakingly reading between the lines to expose the cruel and downright ludicrous ways in which women are denied their personhood. An electric work by an ingenious new voice, this is one to devour.