Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls: A Memoir

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UPC: 9781635571851
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Author: T Kira Madden
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (March 5, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1635571855
  • ISBN-13: 978-1635571851
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.4 x 8.3 inches

Acclaimed literary essayist T Kira Madden's raw and redemptive debut memoir is about coming of age and reckoning with desire as a queer, biracial teenager amidst the fierce contradictions of Boca Raton, Florida, a place where she found cult-like privilege, shocking racial disparities, rampant white-collar crime, and powerfully destructive standards of beauty hiding in plain sight.

As a child, Madden lived a life of extravagance, from her exclusive private school to her equestrian trophies and designer shoe-brand name. But under the surface was a wild instability. The only child of parents continually battling drug and alcohol addictions, Madden confronted her environment alone. Facing a culture of assault and objectification, she found lifelines in the desperately loving friendships of fatherless girls.

With unflinching honesty and lyrical prose, spanning from 1960s Hawai'i to the present-day struggle of a young woman mourning the loss of a father while unearthing truths that reframe her reality, Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls is equal parts eulogy and love letter. It’s a story about trauma and forgiveness, about families of blood and affinity, both lost and found, unmade and rebuilt, crooked and beautiful.


“One of the best, most evocative titles of the release season.” ―The Millions

“Gorgeous . . . [Madden's] story is filled with desire and loss, love and forgiveness, and it's an utterly unforgettable debut.” ―NYLON

“Harrowing and sad and funny and beautifully written. [Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls] inspires rage and also care. I keep stopping to admire sentences, word choices, deft slips in time.” ―Emily Temple, Lit Hub, "Lit Hub Recommends"

“An artist's journey that showcases the coexistence of familial love and complication with such shattering grace, understatement, and openness, Madden's wholly original first book joins unforgettable memoirs like Alison Bechdel's Fun Home (2006), Melissa Febos' Abandon Me (2017), and Kiese Laymon's Heavy (2018).” ―Booklist, starred review

“A deeply courageous work that chronicles one artist's jagged-and surprisingly beautiful-path to wholeness. Affecting, fearless, and unsparingly honest.” ―Kirkus

“Madden brings her sharply funny voice to her new book, which humanely explores her coming of age as a biracial queer teenager in Boca Raton, Florida, and the climate of abuse and addiction that surrounded her.” ―Entertainment Weekly, "Most Anticipated Books of 2019"

“A riveting and deeply personal work that captures the loneliness and desperation of a girl coming to terms with her individuality and the shortcomings of her own family.” ―The Advocate

“One of my favorite reads in recent years. Madden's prose is sharp, lyrical, and gut-hitting, made up of sentences I want to read over and over again.” ―Hyphen Magazine

“Madden writes about the dangers of growing up in a toxically wealthy environment with such clarity and lyricism.” ―Books Are Magic, “Most Anticipated Books of 2019”

“Haunting and profound” ―Arianna Rebolini, BuzzFeed

“Very much looking forward to everyone getting to read T Kira Madden's Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls this March (it's a stunner).” ―Kristen Arnett, Refinery29

“I've been excited to read T. Kira Madden's Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls ever since I first heard her read last spring.” ―R.O. Kwon, Electric Literature

“Harrowing and beautiful. What seems most miraculous about Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls is the way T Kira Madden forges out of such achingly difficult material a memoir as frank and funny and powerful and surprising as this, her utterly gorgeous debut.” ―Lauren Groff, author of FLORIDA and FATES AND FURIES

Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls is sad, funny, juicy and prickly with deep and secret thoughtful places. It is raucous and poignant at once and I recommend it highly.” ―Mary Gaitskill, author of THE MARE and SOMEBODY WITH A LITTLE HAMMER

“Madden has come to break your heart open: to crack your heart wide, to spill out the heart's grief and pain so she can fill it back up with joy and beauty and love.” ―Matt Bell, author of SCRAPPER

“I've never read such a gorgeous and raw depiction of girlhood, the terrible vulnerability of adolescence, and the humiliation that often goes hand in hand with desire. Madden is fearless about diving deep into the darkest aspects of herself and her past, and that's what makes her work riveting and urgent. An absolutely necessary book.” ―Julie Buntin, author of MARLENA

“This open, defiant memoir is the long-awaited daughter of Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina. Madden captures the dangers and longings of a perilous girlhood with prose so vivid and sensuous we feel her past in our bodies. A mesmerizing piece of art I won't soon forget.” ―Claire Vaye Watkins, author of GOLD FAME CITRUS AND BATTLEBORN

“T Kira Madden is an acute observer of her family, her environment, and her own mind, and is generous despite--or perhaps because of--what she's endured. Her bleeding, gorgeous prose will get under your skin and leave you aching in love. Her first book is a triumph.” ―Sarah Gerard, author of SUNSHINE STATE

Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls reminds us beautifully that we are unshielded, that we are blessed with life only by a narrow and undecipherable margin. This book has grit and a feisty elegance I love, and I love the mess and tenderness here of being and having been a girl.” ―Noy Holland, author of I WAS TRYING TO DESCRIBE WHAT IT FEELS LIKE

“Madden's prose will hypnotize you as it wrings every drop of beauty out of her story. If you've ever known the predicament of having a magical and messy family, a female body, or the mixed blessing of a big heart and a keen mind in a troubled world, then you need this book as much as I did.” ―Melissa Febos, author of WHIP SMART AND ABANDON ME

“What are the ties that bind us, the events that shape us? In this beautiful memoir T Kira Madden confronts these questions, unflinchingly, with breath-taking honesty. Reminiscent of The Glass Castle, her unique vision and voice take us into the depths of her astonishing experience.” ―Mary Morris, author of THE JAZZ PALACE and GATEWAY TO THE MOON

Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls is a wrenching story of longing, loss, and extraordinary coincidence-a debut act of courage and ferocious beauty from a formidable new talent.” ―Kimberly King Parsons, author of BLACK LIGHT

“Madden perfectly captures the ache of a child trying to find her place. You may not be a competitive equestrian, a Floridian, or the mixed race child of two parents who struggle with addiction; you may have never fallen in love with another woman; but everyone who has ever longed for more love will understand.” ―Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of HARMLESS LIKE YOU

Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls is a triumph. It's for anyone reading late into the night wondering, will I survive this? T Kira Madden tells us, as only she can, that the answer is yes. It's a journey through the dark heart of family love and the cosmic mystery of queer youth and you don't want to miss it.” ―Genevieve Hudson, author of A LITTLE IN LOVE WITH EVERYONE

“This book is a dark powerhouse of yearning and reckoning that reminds us all of the girl we've spent our lives trying to grow out of--and all the ways we punish her for sticking around.” ―Tatiana Ryckman, author of I DON'T THINK OF YOU (UNTIL I DO)

“I loved this book for its big-hearted, aching renderings of sexuality, addiction, and family, for its exquisite attentiveness, and in the end for its hope that a family can grow to embrace all it's been and might become.” ―Kristin Dombek, author of THE SELFISHNESS OF OTHERS

“A vivid portrait of queer awakening set against the devastating backdrop of addiction, loss, and, ultimately, triumphant reclamation. I finished this book blinded by tears and a deep appreciation for Madden's undeniable talent. She is a force to be braced for, and heralded.” ―Allie Rowbottom, author of JELL-O GIRLS


T Kira Madden is an APIA writer, photographer, and amateur magician. She is the founding editor-in-chief of No Tokens, and facilitates writing workshops for homeless and formerly incarcerated individuals. A 2017 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in nonfiction literature, she has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Hedgebrook, Tin House, DISQUIET, Summer Literary Seminars, and Yaddo, where she was selected for the 2017 Linda Collins Endowed Residency Award. She lives in New York City and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.