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Ask Me Again

A novel

Author Clare Sestanovich On Tour
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Hardcover
$28.00 US
| $37.99 CAN
On sale Jun 11, 2024 | 320 Pages | 978-0-593-31811-9
| Grades 9-12 + AP/IB
From the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize finalist, whose short stories received instant acclaim (“Sparingly told, evoked with lacerating intimacy . . . Extraordinary”—Esquire), a debut novel about a young woman’s coming of age, and the singular friendship that challenges her values, her beliefs, and the course of her life

At sixteen, Eva meets Jamie by chance. She lives in middle-class south Brooklyn; he comes from the super rich of upper Manhattan. She’s observant, cautious, often insecure; he’s curious, bold, full of mysteries. These two questers are drawn together in a strange and profound friendship, tested by forces larger than themselves. As Eva follows a path of conventional achievement—a prestigious degree, a classic romance, the start of an ambitious career—Jamie seeks out more radical experiments in finding himself: renouncing his family, joining a political movement, and eventually even talking to God.

Carried forcefully along by Clare Sestanovich’s exquisite prose, these two characters are pulled into separate spheres but circle the same questions: how to define their values and find their purpose, how to create a sense of self while discovering what they owe to society and to the cause of justice. These reckonings propel a surprising story of intimacy across time, exploring the alchemy of identity, the mystery of destiny, and the difficult journey of finding faith—in yourself, and in the world.
One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2024 by Literary Hub and Library Journal

“Sestanovich captivates with her distinctive characterizations . . . and insights into the reverberating consequences of a gap between one's intentions and one's actions. The result is an intelligent exploration of lives in the making.” Publishers Weekly

“Rigorous, intensely observed, and brimming with the sort of elusive revelations that form the heartbeat of a life, Sestanovich's novel debut demonstrates a tremendous gift at rendering the texture of love, faith, and heartbreak with both subtlety and force. In her masterful hands, relationships condense, turn acute, and unfurl with symphonic grace across the individual arcs of characters that you can't help but carry with you long afterward.” —Alexandra Kleeman, author of Something New Under the Sun

“Ask Me Again is a beautifully observed and deeply philosophical novel, which surprises and delights at every turn.” —Jenny Offill, author of Weather

“This beautiful debut novel is wise about intellectual and erotic discovery, disenchantment and loneliness. It’s alert to the small moments of awkwardness and grace that make up the texture of common life; its quiet, tectonic power comes from an awareness of how easily common life can tilt toward catastrophe. Clare Sestanovich is a writer of disarming radiance.” —Garth Greenwell, author of Cleanness
© Edward Friedman
CLARE SESTANOVICH, named a “5 Under 35” honoree by the National Book Foundation in 2022, is the author of the story collection Objects of Desire, a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. Her fiction has appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Harpers Magazine. She lives in Brooklyn. View titles by Clare Sestanovich

About

From the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize finalist, whose short stories received instant acclaim (“Sparingly told, evoked with lacerating intimacy . . . Extraordinary”—Esquire), a debut novel about a young woman’s coming of age, and the singular friendship that challenges her values, her beliefs, and the course of her life

At sixteen, Eva meets Jamie by chance. She lives in middle-class south Brooklyn; he comes from the super rich of upper Manhattan. She’s observant, cautious, often insecure; he’s curious, bold, full of mysteries. These two questers are drawn together in a strange and profound friendship, tested by forces larger than themselves. As Eva follows a path of conventional achievement—a prestigious degree, a classic romance, the start of an ambitious career—Jamie seeks out more radical experiments in finding himself: renouncing his family, joining a political movement, and eventually even talking to God.

Carried forcefully along by Clare Sestanovich’s exquisite prose, these two characters are pulled into separate spheres but circle the same questions: how to define their values and find their purpose, how to create a sense of self while discovering what they owe to society and to the cause of justice. These reckonings propel a surprising story of intimacy across time, exploring the alchemy of identity, the mystery of destiny, and the difficult journey of finding faith—in yourself, and in the world.

Reviews

One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2024 by Literary Hub and Library Journal

“Sestanovich captivates with her distinctive characterizations . . . and insights into the reverberating consequences of a gap between one's intentions and one's actions. The result is an intelligent exploration of lives in the making.” Publishers Weekly

“Rigorous, intensely observed, and brimming with the sort of elusive revelations that form the heartbeat of a life, Sestanovich's novel debut demonstrates a tremendous gift at rendering the texture of love, faith, and heartbreak with both subtlety and force. In her masterful hands, relationships condense, turn acute, and unfurl with symphonic grace across the individual arcs of characters that you can't help but carry with you long afterward.” —Alexandra Kleeman, author of Something New Under the Sun

“Ask Me Again is a beautifully observed and deeply philosophical novel, which surprises and delights at every turn.” —Jenny Offill, author of Weather

“This beautiful debut novel is wise about intellectual and erotic discovery, disenchantment and loneliness. It’s alert to the small moments of awkwardness and grace that make up the texture of common life; its quiet, tectonic power comes from an awareness of how easily common life can tilt toward catastrophe. Clare Sestanovich is a writer of disarming radiance.” —Garth Greenwell, author of Cleanness

Author

© Edward Friedman
CLARE SESTANOVICH, named a “5 Under 35” honoree by the National Book Foundation in 2022, is the author of the story collection Objects of Desire, a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. Her fiction has appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Harpers Magazine. She lives in Brooklyn. View titles by Clare Sestanovich