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Golden Hour Books

People Collide: A Novel by Isle McElroy (9/26/23)

People Collide: A Novel by Isle McElroy (9/26/23)

Regular price $28.99 USD
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From the acclaimed author of The Atmospherians—“a Fight Club for the Millennial Generation” (Mat Johnson)—a gender-bending, body-switching novel that explores marriage, identity, and sex, and raises profound questions about the nature of true partnership.

When Eli leaves the cramped Bulgarian apartment he shares with Elizabeth, his more organized and successful wife, he discovers that he now inhabits her body. Not only have he and his wife traded bodies but Elizabeth, living as Eli, has disappeared without a trace. What follows is Eli’s search across Europe to America for his missing wife—and a roving, no-holds-barred exploration of gender and embodied experience. 

As Eli comes closer to finding Elizabeth—while learning to exist in her body—he begins to wonder what effect this metamorphosis will have on their relationship and how long he can maintain the illusion of living as someone he isn’t. Will their new marriage wither completely in each other's bodies? Or is this transformation the very thing Eli and Elizabeth need for their marriage to thrive? 

A rich, rewarding exploration of ambition and sacrifice, desire and loss, People Collide is a portrait of shared lives that shines a refreshing light on everything we thought we knew about love, sexuality, and the truth of who we are.

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About the Author

Isle McElroy (they/them) is a non-binary author based in New York. Their writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, New York Times Magazine, The CutGQThe Guardian, Vogue, Bon Appétit, and other publications. They have received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Tin House Summer Workshop, the Sewanee Writers Conference, and they were named one of The Strand's 30 Writers to Watch. In May 2021, Isle founded Debuts & Redos, a reading series for authors who published books during the pandemic. Their first novel, The Atmospherians, was named an Editor's Choice by the New York Times and a book of the year by Esquire, Electric Literature, Debutiful, and many other outlets.

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"McElroy is sharp on the collaborative failures endemic to love, and the kind of oneness that creates separation. In People Collide, that separation is explored through the body with wonder and frankness." -Raven Leilani, author of Luster
"A profound and moving meditation on love and commitment swapped into the body of a gripping literary thriller—I predict Isle McElroy’s People Collide will inaugurate an entire genre." -Torrey Peters, author of Detransition, Baby
"People Collide is spectacular. McElroy has given us a work of art that's original, stylish, and frequently masterly in the ways it explores the porous and mutable nature of bodies, selves, partnerships, and what we call love. Bravo." -Sarah Thankam Mathews, author of All This Could Be Different
"People Collide asks how the ambition, power, sweetness, and deep-feeling of our bodies gets policed by those who perceive us, and how we sometimes wind up hurting each other as a result. McElroy writes their characters with compassion for human pain and bumbling, but makes room for all our complexity and occasional grace too. This is the queer novel I didn’t know I so badly needed." -CJ Hauser, author of The Crane Wife
"Engrossing . . . an impressive twist on the familiar trope of marital ennui." -Publishers Weekly
"Compelling, hilarious, and thought-provoking, this is a fascinating Freaky Friday-like thought-experiment that questions the performance and expectations of gender roles, the body-mind puzzle, how class can define a person’s perspective, and the definition of identity." -Booklist
"Beyond the gender binary and the public's assumptions based upon appearances, McElroy's insightful novel also examines class, privilege, the art world, and family relationships....People Collide is sly, clever, funny, provocative, and compelling. It offers a world and a story to get lost in." -Shelf Awareness
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