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We Were the Universe

A novel

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A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2024

A young mother, in denial after the death of her sister, navigates the dizzying landscapes of desire, guilt, and grief in this darkly comic, highly anticipated debut novel from Kimberly King Parsons, author of the story collection, Black Light (long-listed for the National Book Award).

"Kimberly King Parsons sings the lushest, cruelest, kindest, weirdest, darkest and most hilarious songs on paper; I want to hang these sentences in my house and admire them like the interdimensional multisensory illuminated artworks they truly are."
—Karen Russell, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Swamplandia!


The trip was supposed to be fun. When Kit’s best friend gets dumped by his boyfriend, he begs her to ditch her family responsibilities for an idyllic weekend in the Montana mountains. They’ll soak in hot springs, then sneak a vape into a dive bar and drink too much, like old times. Instead, their getaway only reminds Kit of everything she’s lost lately: her wildness, her independence, and—most heartbreaking of all—her sister, Julie, who died a few years ago.

When she returns home to the Dallas suburbs, Kit tries to settle in to her routine—long afternoons spent caring for her irrepressible daughter, going on therapist-advised dates with her concerned husband, and reluctantly taking her mother’s phone calls. But in the secret recesses of Kit’s mind, she’s reminiscing about the band she used to be in—and how they’d go out to the desert after shows and drop acid. She’s imagining an impossible threesome with her kid’s pretty gymnastics teacher and the cool playground mom. Keyed into everything that might distract from her surfacing pain, Kit spirals. As her already thin boundaries between reality and fantasy blur, she begins to wonder: Is Julie really gone?

Neon bright in its insight, both devastating and laugh-out-loud funny, We Were the Universe is an ambitious, inventive novel from a revelatory new voice in American fiction—a fearless exploration of sisterhood, motherhood, friendship, marriage, psychedelics, and the many strange, transcendent shapes love can take.
© Evelynne Gomes Greenberg
Kimberly King Parsons is the author of Black Light, a collection of stories that was long-listed for the National Book Award and the Story Prize. In 2020, she received the National Magazine Award for fiction. Born in Lubbock, Texas, she lives in Portland, Oregon, with her partner and children. We Were the Universe is her first novel. View titles by Kimberly King Parsons

About

A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2024

A young mother, in denial after the death of her sister, navigates the dizzying landscapes of desire, guilt, and grief in this darkly comic, highly anticipated debut novel from Kimberly King Parsons, author of the story collection, Black Light (long-listed for the National Book Award).

"Kimberly King Parsons sings the lushest, cruelest, kindest, weirdest, darkest and most hilarious songs on paper; I want to hang these sentences in my house and admire them like the interdimensional multisensory illuminated artworks they truly are."
—Karen Russell, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Swamplandia!


The trip was supposed to be fun. When Kit’s best friend gets dumped by his boyfriend, he begs her to ditch her family responsibilities for an idyllic weekend in the Montana mountains. They’ll soak in hot springs, then sneak a vape into a dive bar and drink too much, like old times. Instead, their getaway only reminds Kit of everything she’s lost lately: her wildness, her independence, and—most heartbreaking of all—her sister, Julie, who died a few years ago.

When she returns home to the Dallas suburbs, Kit tries to settle in to her routine—long afternoons spent caring for her irrepressible daughter, going on therapist-advised dates with her concerned husband, and reluctantly taking her mother’s phone calls. But in the secret recesses of Kit’s mind, she’s reminiscing about the band she used to be in—and how they’d go out to the desert after shows and drop acid. She’s imagining an impossible threesome with her kid’s pretty gymnastics teacher and the cool playground mom. Keyed into everything that might distract from her surfacing pain, Kit spirals. As her already thin boundaries between reality and fantasy blur, she begins to wonder: Is Julie really gone?

Neon bright in its insight, both devastating and laugh-out-loud funny, We Were the Universe is an ambitious, inventive novel from a revelatory new voice in American fiction—a fearless exploration of sisterhood, motherhood, friendship, marriage, psychedelics, and the many strange, transcendent shapes love can take.

Author

© Evelynne Gomes Greenberg
Kimberly King Parsons is the author of Black Light, a collection of stories that was long-listed for the National Book Award and the Story Prize. In 2020, she received the National Magazine Award for fiction. Born in Lubbock, Texas, she lives in Portland, Oregon, with her partner and children. We Were the Universe is her first novel. View titles by Kimberly King Parsons