LIFE IS EVERYWHERE: A Novel
A New Yorker Best Book of 2022
A Seattle Times Best Book of 2022
A virtuosic, radical reimagining of the systems novel by a “rampaging, mirthful genius” (Elizabeth McKenzie).
Everything that happened was repetition. But it was repetition with a difference. So she dragged along in a spiral, trusting to this form.
Manhattan, 2014. It’s an unseasonably warm Thursday in November and Erin Adamo is locked out of her apartment. Her husband has just left her and meanwhile her keys are in her coat, which she abandoned at her parents’ apartment when she exited mid-dinner after her father—once again—lost control.
Erin takes refuge in the library of the university where she is a grad student. Her bag contains two manuscripts she’s written, along with a monograph by a faculty member who’s recently become embroiled in a bizarre scandal. Erin isn’t sure what she’s doing, but a small, mostly unconscious part of her knows: within these documents is a key she’s needed all along.
With unflinching precision, Life Is Everywhere captures emotional events that hover fitfully at the borders of visibility and intelligibility, showing how the past lives on, often secretly and at the expense of the present. It’s about one person on one evening, reckoning with heartbreak—a story that, to be fully told, unexpectedly requires many others, from the history of botulism to an enigmatic surrealist prank. Multifarious, mischievous, and deeply humane, Lucy Ives’s latest masterpiece rejoices in what a novel, and a self, can carry.
“Brilliantly berserk. . . . Ives is capable of virtuosic control — there are at least 10 different kinds of writing in this book, and all are carried off so masterfully it’s almost frightening. . . . This is a work of art that feels like a barely contained explosion.”—Nina Renata Aron, Los Angeles Times
"There’s an encouraging, matter-of-fact drumbeat to Ives’s prose. It’s a style that, much like Erin’s coping mechanism, keeps emotional profundity carefully taxonomized, and therefore at bay, producing for the reader instead a mesmeric hunger for the text itself. . . . [H]aunting.”—Hannah Gold, The New Yorker
“Ives possesses an enthralling emotional and psychological acuity, a seemingly bottomless store of knowledge and a thrilling wit, all of which she applies to the systems under which we live — and how we manage to live within or outside them.”—Lynn Steger Strong, Los Angeles Times
“Life Is Everywhere shatters any kind of straightforward narrative arc in favor of a collage of shards that emphasizes the tone, atmosphere, and the general experience of life in the world at a particular moment. And it wouldn’t work were Ives not a Big Ideas writer on the level of Gaddis, or DeLillo, or Wallace. Fortunately for all of us, she is. . . . Lucy Ives has proven herself to be one of our greatest under-the-radar geniuses, but an achievement like Life Is Everywhere demands attention.”—James Webster, The Rumpus
“This pastiche novel boldly explores what drives the creative mind: genius, vanity, grief, love, and mental chaos. Ives is a brilliant, one-of-a-kind maestro, leading this complex orchestra with great aplomb.”—Booklist
“The novel we thought we’d been reading—#MeToo scandal rocks university!—disassembles itself, becomes something else, and something else again. When we return at the novel’s close to The Incident, it is complicated further, left insistently, uncannily unknowable. . . . Life Is Everywhere reminds us that institutions have the advantages of accumulated power and the time to wait us out. But the rupture has happened. The cracks in the system are exposed, opening opportunities—we just have to take them.”—Jamie Hood, Bookforum
"If Lucy Ives is as smart as her novel Life Is Everywhere, then I am in complete awe. The novel is challenging in all the best ways and an absolute joy to read. How many books in one and yet one book. This is great writing.”―Percival Everett, author of The Trees
“Writing novels is the way Lucy Ives discovers her thoughts about the at once disheartening and marvelous fact of being alive right here, right now. This brilliant and playful novel brims with wisdom.”―Alejandro Zambra, author of Chilean Poet
Date: October 4, 2022
Publisher: Graywolf Press