Mesha Maren, Shae

When sixteen-year-old Shae meets Cam, who is new to their small town in West Virginia, she thinks she has found someone who is everything she has ever wanted in a companion. The two become fast friends, and then more. And when Shae ends up pregnant, Cam begins a different transition—trying on clothes that Shae can no longer fit into and using female pronouns. Shae tries to be fully supportive as Cam becomes the person she wants and needs to be. 
 
After a traumatic C-section and the birth of their daughter, Eva, Shae is given opioids to manage the intense pain. During the first year of Eva’s life, Shae’s dependence shifts from pain management to addiction, and her days begin to revolve around getting more pills. In the heart of West Virginia, opioids are dispensed as freely as candy, and Shae is just one of many to fall victim to addiction. Meanwhile, as Cam continues to transition, she embraces new relationships and faces the reality of being a trans woman in rural America.
 
Shae is as much about these two young women as it is about the home they both love despite its limitations. Following the acclaimed Sugar Run and Perpetual West, this is Mesha Maren’s most intense and intimate novel yet. 

 

“Mesha Maren paints a vivid, unforgettable portrait of two young women—one cis and one trans—living in West Virginia and trying to break free from the confinements of gender, class, and sexuality. Mesha Maren is a visionary storyteller and her prose is incandescent. The sentences shimmer with precision, elegance, and grit. It’s the kind of book that gets under your skin. I couldn't put it down. Shae is a beautiful, big-hearted novel about love, desire, and daring to be one’s self. I will be thinking about the characters for a long time.”―Carter Sickels, author of The Prettiest Star

“Maren brilliantly gives voice to a New South, introducing us to two unforgettable characters whose journeys echo the struggles of queer people across the country. This book is essential for the new queer canon emerging from Southern writers. I can’t wait to put this in the hands of so many people who need it and will no doubt see themselves in this beautiful narrative.”―Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased and All the World Beside

 

Sex Romp Gone Wrong is a dazzlingly inventive collection, and Julia Ridley Smith writes so beautifully about the intensity of being alive, of wanting more than you can have, of navigating the absurdity of the world with various degrees of success. You'd be hard pressed to find a writer who is so genuinely funny and yet knows the exact moment to turn that humor towards a moment of realization so deeply felt that you have to read the line again. I can't think of a better compliment for Smith's stories than the simple fact that you will want to read them over and over.”—Kevin Wilson, Now Is Not the Time to Panic and Nothing to See Here


MESHA MAREN is the author of the novels Sugar Run and Perpetual West (Algonquin Books). Her short stories and essays can be read in Tin House, The Oxford American, The Guardian, Crazyhorse, Triquarterly, The Southern Review, Ecotone, Sou’wester, Hobart, Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial, and elsewhere. She was the recipient of the 2015 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, a 2014 Elizabeth George Foundation grant, an Appalachian Writing Fellowship from Lincoln Memorial University, and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Ucross Foundation. She was the 2018-2019 Kenan Visiting Writer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is an Associate Professor of the Practice of English at Duke University.

Sex Romp Gone Wrong is JULIA RIDLEY SMITH’s first story collection. Her first book, The Sum of Trifles, is a memoir published by the University of Georgia Press (2021) as a title in their Crux literary nonfiction series. Julia’s short stories and essays have appeared in the Alaska Quarterly Review, American Literary Review, Arts and Letters, the Carolina Quarterly, Chelsea, Ecotone, Electric Literature, the Greensboro Review, the New England Review, Southern Cultures, and The Southern Review, among other places. Julia teaches creative writing at UNC Chapel Hill.
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$28.00
ISBN: 9781643755663
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Published: Algonquin Books - May 21st, 2024

Sex Romp Gone Wrong By Julia Ridley Smith Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781958888117
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Published: Blair - February 6th, 2024

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