Island City

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UPC: 9780374282271
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Authors: Laura Adamczyk
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ FSG Originals (March 14, 2023)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0374282277
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0374282271
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 7.2 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5 x 0.7 x 7.4 inches


A woman spills the story of her life to a bar full of strangers, in the acerbic first novel from Laura Adamczyk.

Anything can become the story of your life if you let it, and I suppose this became mine.

Island City, a wry, wistful woman, estranged from her family, sells her belongings and moves back to her hometown in the Midwest. To her, it’s the “perfect place to give up.” She wants to get rid of everything―her stuff, her ambitions. Before making a “messy exit,” she holes up in a dark bar and tells her stories to an audience of indifferent strangers. There’s the time the river dried up and you could walk across its bed; the day her sister got clobbered at the nursing home; when her dad got cancer, then Alzheimer’s, then cancer again. Now she’s forgetting things the way he did, words slipping away. That third drink isn’t helping.

Laura Adamczyk, whose writing is “super weird” and “super unsettling” (Eugenia Williamson, 
The Boston Globe), creates a full portrait of a person, even as the image blurs and fades. Delivered as a booze-soaked monologue, Island City is a funny, devastating first novel, one that bristles and burns with true feeling.



"Adamczyk knows how to destabilize the reader while holding their attention and intrigue, which makes for a devastating first novel that you won’t soon forget." ―Michael Welch, Chicago Review of Books

Utterly immersive, Island City is like an intimate conversation with a stranger at 1 am. It’s laced with stinging humor, clarifying wisdom, and the grainy detail of lived experience. This is a novel that seeps into your bones.” ―Ling Ma, author of Bliss Montage and Severance

Island City’s protagonist gets us wondering how long a person can crack jokes about her life before its tragedy catches up to her. She speaks with the intensity of those who have nothing to lose, and we have no choice but to listen, riveted.” ―Camille Bordas, author of How to Behave in a Crowd

“You think you're reading Island City for the laughs, but pull up your chair and hold on tight because you're in for so much more. 
A deeply perceptive novel that is also a dark soliloquy, a return, a life.” ―Amina Cain, author of Indelicacy

I ached for this narrator―self-aware, hilarious, guarded. As a reader, I sat on the barstool next to her and kept ordering. This is a heartbreaker of a book, and the longer it lingers, the more rewards it serves up, like a buyback at your local haunt.” ―Jac Jemc , author of Empty Theater and The Grip of It

Haunting, wry, and acutely observantIsland City is a perfectly layered assemblage of one young woman’s life. Laura Adamczyk is a riveting prose stylist with a voice I’d follow anywhere.” ―Kimberly King Parsons, author of Black Light

"Adamczyk is that 
special blend of mordant and deeply human, a writer who makes you feel like you’re in on something important, strange, and dear. Her debut novel is not to be missed.” ―Lindsay Hunter, author of Eat Only When You’re Hungry

About the Author

Laura Adamczyk has won awards from the Union League Civic & Arts Foundation of Chicago and the Dzanc/DISQUIET International Literary Program. Her work has appeared the Chicago Reader, Guernica, McSweeney’s, Ninth Letter, Salt Hill, and more. Her short story collection, Hardly Children, was published by FSG in 2018. She lives in Chicago.