Hap and Hazard and the End of the World

288 pages

Trade Paper

List Price US $16.99
ISBN: 9781942658368


ISBN: 9781942658375

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“Gorgeously written, fiercely observed. . . . A debut that’s clearly the work of a master writer.”

Big Other

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“[DeSanders’] Texan bona fides are on ample display in this charming yet heart-wrenching debut about a single tumultuous, pivotal year in the life of a young girl. . . . This is not a romanticized version of childhood, though the conclusion is pitch-perfect. This is a girl discovering cause and effect, exploring boundaries, feeling for the shape of her life.”

Lone Star Literary Life

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“Paints a vivid picture of childhood in postwar America, replete with all of the joys and sorrows that are part of growing up.”


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“A time capsule of American awakening.”

Kirkus Reviews

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“[A] captivating debut novel. . . . Drawing on her own family letters, diaries, and oral histories, newcomer DeSanders captures the voice and thoughts of a young girl observing her frayed family while questioning the mysterious larger world. A brave and honest work that won’t disappoint.”

Library Journal

“Perfectly captures life near Dallas after World War II, as seen through the eyes of a child. . . . Funny and nostalgic and occasionally unsettling, this child’s view of her own small world also provides a picture of the wider world at that time.”

Shelf Awareness for Readers

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“Smart and subtle. . . . [A] moving example of a family trying to make life work.”

Publishers Weekly

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“DeSanders achieves a heartbreaking, lyrical, and laser-focused evocation of a child’s perception of the mysteries of the adult world; the perfectly rendered setting is 1940s Dallas, just when its harsh rural beauties were becoming sanitized into suburban conformity.”

Historical Novels Review

“A weighty book full of conversations that are still topical.”

IndiePicks Magazine

“Impressive. . . . This deftly crafted and inherently fascinating book is unreservedly recommended.”

Midwest Book Review

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“Diane DeSanders writes the sort of prose that gives that telltale tingle down the spine, prose that paints vivid pictures in the mind and presents an entire, unique world: the Lone Star State, the state of America, the state of childhood, the state of a traumatized father, and the state of being a girl, of being wonderfully and truly alive.”

Sheila Kohler, author of Becoming Jane Eyre and Once We Were Sisters

“DeSanders’s genius lies in her ability to capture the intimate interiority of a very particular childhood while at the same time interrogating larger questions of class, race, and religion. Hap and Hazard and the End of the World is a gorgeous, profoundly original novel.”

Dawn Raffel, author of Carrying the Body and The Secret Life of Objects

“Rollicking, tilted, and transporting. As the young narrator tries to manage her fraying family—war-wounded father, suffering mother, misbehaving relatives galore—DeSanders takes us deeper, always with such tenderness and beautiful observation into the ways we shape a narrative that keeps us whole.”

Victoria Redel, author of Loverboy and Before Everything

“Brilliant and unforgettable, DeSanders’s autobiographical fiction takes us deep within the human psyche and the human heart, and delivers us to a uniquely strange and ambivalent grace.”

Rick Whitaker, author of Assuming the Position and An Honest Ghost

For Dick and Jane, Dallas after World War II is a place of promise and prosperity: the first home air conditioners are making summertime bearable and Dick’s position at his father’s business, the Cadillac dealership, is assured. Jane has help with the house and the children, and garden parties and holiday celebrations are spirited social affairs. For the oldest of their three daughters, however, life is full of frustrating mysteries. The stories the adults tell her don’t make sense. Too curious for comfort, she finds her questions only seem to annoy them. Why won’t they tell the truth about Santa? What is that Holy Spirit business, and what is the difference between an angel and a ghost? Why is her mother often so tense and sad? And why does her father keep flying into violent rages?

Hap and Hazard and the End of the World is an intimate, finely crafted novel about the innocence and vulnerability of childhood and the dangers posed by adults who cannot cope with life’s complexities. It is also about the ingenuity born of loneliness and neglect, and the surprising, strange beauty of the world.

Crook’s Corner Book Prize Longlist

Texas Institute of Letters Sergio Troncoso Award for Best Work of First Fiction Finalist

Lone Star Literary Life “Top Twenty Texas Book of the Year” selection

Excerpt from Hap and Hazard and the End of the World

Tune into a terrific conversation between debut novelist Diane DeSanders, author of Hap and Hazard and the End of the World, and Bellevue Literary Press publisher Erika Goldman in the General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen’s Labor, Literature and Landmark lecture series.

Diane DeSanders discusses the inspirations for her debut novel, Hap and Hazard and the End of the World, with Powell’s BooksVol. 1 Brooklyn, and Lone Star Literary Life, and on KMSU’s Weekly Reader Radio Show.