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The Life of the Mind: A Novel


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About the Author

Christine Smallwood's fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, n+1, and Vice. Her reviews, essays, and cultural reporting have been published in many magazines, including The New Yorker, Bookforum, T, and The New York Times Magazine, where she is a contributing writer. She has also written the "New Books" column for Harper's, where she is a contributing editor, and been an editor at The Nation. She has a PhD in English from Columbia University, is a founding faculty member of the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, and is a fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities.


"One of the wittiest, most deliciously farcical novels I've read in a long time."--NPR, Fresh Air

"Smallwood, on the evidence of this one book--and one can only eagerly await more--is a delightfully stylish rambler; a conjurer of a heightened, carefully choreographed version of consciousness. Reading her is like watching an accomplished figure skater doing a freestyle routine. You're never less than confident in the performance, and often dazzled.... In Smallwood's hands, even twilight is plenty bright."--John Williams, The New York Times "[An] excellent debut . . . Ms. Smallwood's streak of dry, dark humor does much to dispel any restlessness . . . and the vignettes include some superb glancing satires of academia and the psychiatric racket. But it's the miscarriage, treated not as a literary device but as a fact in itself, that occasions the best passages."--Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal "I loved this novel for illuminating how the stories we tell ourselves are such cozy cousins with the clever lies we tell ourselves. But also I loved this novel because it was very, very, very fun to read. The Life of the Mind is hilarious, recognizable, and helplessly wise--a perfect foil for its namesake."--Rivka Galchen, author of Little Labors "The Life of the Mind is brilliant and pleasurable, funny and dark, cerebral and visceral--a must-read for the bleeding human survivors of the modern age."--Melissa Broder, author of The Pisces and Milk Fed "Christine Smallwood's debut novel is that rare thing: an intellectual page-turner that commands one's attention completely from the first sentence to the final line. A worthy heir to contemporary classics like Paula Fox's Desperate Characters and Gary Indiana's Horse Crazy, The Life of the Mind is urgent, essential reading for our troubling times."--Andrew Martin, author of Early Work and Cool for America

The Life of the Mind
is a wonderful novel about a life (and a mind) that refuses to behave novelistically. The book is smart, sharp, often very funny, and, in its commitment to truth over beauty, absolutely fearless."--Christopher Beha, author of The Index of Self-Destructive Acts "Brilliant . . . Dorothy's sharp, witty narration makes this book something special ("In the asymmetrical warfare of therapy, secrets were a guerrilla tactic," she decides, after putting off a session with her primary therapist). The result is like the glorious love child of Ottessa Moshfegh and Sally Rooney."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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