American Follies

288 pages

Trade Paper

List Price US $16.99
ISBN: 9781942658481


ISBN: 9781942658498

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“Provocative, funny and sobering.”

Washington Post

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Ragtime in a fever dream. . . . When you mix 19th-century racists, feminists, misogynists, freaks, and a flim-flam man, the spectacle that results might bear resemblance to the contemporary United States.”

Library Journal (starred review)

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“A thrilling, unnerving portrait of 19th-century America. . . . One part novel of ideas, one part madcap adventure.”

Kirkus Reviews

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“Dark, carnivalesque. . . . American Follies features lavish period details and unsettling alternative world building, warping expectations and standing out for its rapier wit.”

Foreword Reviews

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“Raucous, fantastical. . . . [An] imaginative exploration of late-19th-century America’s cultural tensions.”

Publishers Weekly

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“Lock nimbly explores race, gender, and identity through a historical lens while displaying a joyous love of language.”


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“Superbly crafted. . . . Absorbing and memorable.”

Midwest Book Review

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“Brings to life the two suffragists, Anthony and Stanton. . . . A thoroughly worthwhile read.”

Historical Novels Review

In the seventh stand-alone book of The American Novels series, Ellen Finch, former stenographer to Henry James, recalls her time as an assistant to Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, heroes of America’s woman suffrage movement, and her friendship with the diminutive Margaret, one of P.T. Barnum’s circus “eccentrics.” When her infant son is kidnapped by the Klan, Ellen, Margaret, and the two formidable suffragists travel aboard Barnum’s train from New York to Memphis to rescue the baby from certain death at the fiery cross.

A savage yet farcical tale, American Follies explores the roots of the women’s rights movement, its relationship to the fight for racial justice, and its reverberations in the politics of today.

Joyce Carol Oates Prize Longlist

Big Other Book Award Finalist

Foreword Reviews “Book of the Day” selection

Excerpt from American Follies