"Texas is shaken by an apocalyptic flood in Kern's tense, entrancing debut novella. Noah, a trans man, takes refuge in a Dallas basketball arena-turned-relief shelter, rubbing shoulders with the full spectrum of Texas society, from members of the Austin queer community to conservative good ol' boys. Noah finds his place with Elena, a trans woman, and nonbinary Malone as the shelter residents band together in small groups to help one another. Noah is also visited by a ghostly boy, Abe, who he believes to be the spirit of his great grandfather, who delivers warnings and doles out advice. Noah struggles in a world without privacy, grapples with his complex relationship with his Jewish identity, and, as tensions rise between factions and conditions in the arena deteriorate, his loyalty to his newfound friends is tested. Noah faces the same choice his great-grandfather once wrestled with: to save himself or die helping his friends. With high stakes and a solid emotional core, and a perfect balance of speculation and an all-too-real vision of climate apocalypse, Kern shows the necessity of compassion, empathy, and community in the face of crisis."
★Publishers Weekly starred review
"Depart, Depart! grabbed me from its first, tense page. Noah's story of losing and finding community amid disaster, guided by the unreliable ghost of a traumatized ancestor, is too compelling to put down. Kern's writing is fierce and fearless, equally dextrous with portraying apocalyptic climate change or the joy of a queer dance floor when a DJ starts spinning Beyoncé. I'd say this novella isn't for the faint of heart, but it's for all of us trapped in unraveling situations, facing the seemingly intractable binary of being safe and alone, or vulnerable but together."
Nino Cipri, World Fantasy Award Finalist, and author of Homesick and Finna
"Sim Kern is a talented author whose ability to imagine frightening but credible futures highlights issues we face here and now."
Morris Allen, editor of Metaphorosis Magazine
"Depart, Depart! is a prescient and thoughtfully intelligent novel about a world in crisis. This is an important debut, and Sim Kern is a writer to watch."
Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will
"Sim Kern's debut Depart, Depart! is a brilliant gem of a book, a simultaneously frightening and humane vision of an all-too-plausible future of catastrophe, bigotry, and hope. Kern's deep understanding of queer and Jewish experiences crafts a remarkable journey of a unique hero, Noah, who confronts a world in crisis armed only with the ambiguous assistance of the ghosts of his ancestry-both figurative and literal. With a delicate touch and an artist's gift for ambiguity, Kern carries us deftly through the death throes of a nation and the birth of a new community, a new family, onto greater things beyond. Likewise, this debut promises an enthralling future from this promising new author."
Louis Evans, author
"Sim Kern's Depart, Depart! beautifully weaves together a ghost story about disaster, ancestry, trauma, found family, and ultimately what it means to survive with a whole soul. I couldn't put it down."
Maxine Kaplan, author