Hobart and William Smith Colleges - Vanity Fair Spotlights Conroy-Goldman Novel
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The Likely World

Vanity Fair Spotlights Conroy-Goldman Novel

The Likely World, the first novel by Professor of English Melanie Conroy-Goldman, is featured in the July/August 2020 issue of Vanity Fair magazine. In the magazine, Lysley Tenorio, author of the novel The Son of Good Fortune, recommends The Likely World, writing: “A woman’s addiction to a short-term-memory-erasing drug is at the center of Conroy-Goldman’s debut. Present and past collide, themes of motherhood and sex clash — a mesmerizing novel unlike anything I’ve read.”

Conroy-Goldman will appear on WSYR-TV’s “Bridge Street” in Syracuse on Tuesday, Aug. 4 at the beginning of the 10 a.m. show.

The novel, which will be published in August by Red Hen Press, follows single mom Mellie, who has just emerged from a shattering 20-year addiction to the memory drug, cloud, when a stranger who may be her baby’s father appears with a dangerous agenda. When her pursuit of this man and the past they may share threatens her sponsor, Mellie will have to put her tiny family and her recovery at risk in hopes of saving the woman who saved her first.

The publication launch, adjusted in light of the pandemic, will take place at the Finger Lakes Drive-In in Auburn, N.Y., beginning at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 4.

Learn more about the book.

Pen-Faulkner and National Book Award nominee Mary Gaitskill calls The Likely World a “bizarre and beautiful” book, “equal parts brainy lit and gut-bucket pulp. Its heroine is unlike any female character I’ve ever encountered and I love her.”

Guggenheim recipient and New York Times notable book author Peter Ho Davies says, “Conroy-Goldman’s gritty street postmodernism will rewire your brain in ways that recall David Foster Wallace or Philip K. Dick. But it’s the depth of feeling here, about love, about motherhood, reminiscent of Rachel Kushner or Claire Vaye Watkins, that will break your heart.”

Listen to Conroy-Goldman’s Friday, July 31 appearance on NPR-affiliate WXXI’s “Connections” here.

National best-selling novelist Lidia Yuknavitch writes: “To be sober in The Likely World is to risk having heart again; to be fully alive is to risk having your heart broken open. I love this mother. I love this daughter. I love this revision of what we mean when we say family….”

Pulitzer Prize finalist and Pen-Hemingway winner Chang-Rae Lee says: “I don’t know if you’ll ever read a literary novel like The Likely World this or any other year. It’s groovy, badass smart, and totally trippy, but also full of heartache and longing and the woundings of love. This novel absolutely sparkles with brightness and life.”

In “Conroy-Goldman’s propulsive debut…the prose is exquisite …This skillful twist on the addiction narrative is worth a look,” Publishers Weekly notes.

The August 4 launch, highlighted in a July article in Publishers Weekly, will include a live reading and a conversation between Conroy-Goldman and author Bob Proehl, followed by a screening of the classic 1980s movie Say Anything.

The launch, which will be PG-13, will include free giveaways and free popcorn and soda to all attendees. The event itself is free, though guests can opt for admission that includes a signed copy of the book, which is being sold at list price $18.95.

Learn more about the launch here.

Conroy-Goldman is a founding director of the HWS Trias Residency for Writers. Her fiction has been published in journals such as Southern Review and StoryQuarterly, in anthologies from Morrow and St. Martin’s, and online at venues such as McSweeney’s. In addition to her teaching duties at HWS, she volunteers at a maximum security men’s prison with the Cornell Prison Education Program. Her work is represented by Bill Clegg at the Clegg Agency. She lives in Ithaca, N.Y. with her husband, daughter and step-daughters.