*2018 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist*Longlisted for the 2019 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award*A Best Book of 2018 Kirkus Reviews , BuzzFeed News , Entropy , LitReactor , LitHub * 35 Over 35 Award 2018 *One of the Most Anticipated Books of the Fall Vulture , Harper's BAZAAR , BuzzFeed News , Publishers Weekly , The Millions , Bustle , Fast Company
It’s 16-year-old Edie who finds their mother Marianne dangling in the living room from an old jump rope, puddle of urine on the floor, barely alive. Upstairs, 14-year-old Mae had fallen into one of her trances, often a result of feeling too closely attuned to her mother’s dark moods. After Marianne is unwillingly admitted to a mental hospital, Edie and Mae are forced to move from their childhood home in Louisiana to New York to live with their estranged father, Dennis, a former civil rights activist and literary figure on the other side of success.
The girls, grieving and homesick, are at first wary of their father’s affection, but soon Mae and Edie’s close relationship begins to fall apartEdie remains fiercely loyal to Marianne, convinced that Dennis is responsible for her mother’s downfall, while Mae, suffocated by her striking resemblances to her mother, feels pulled toward their father. The girls move in increasingly opposing and destructive directions as they struggle to cope with outsized pain, and as the history of Dennis and Marianne’s romantic past clicks into focus, the family fractures further.
Moving through a selection of first-person accounts and written with a sinister sense of humor, The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish powerfully captures the quiet torment of two sisters craving the attention of a parent they can’t, and shouldn’t, have to themselves. In this captivating debut, Katya Apekina disquietingly crooks the lines between fact and fantasy, between escape and freedom, and between love and obsession.
"The structure, characters and storyline are all refreshingly original, and the writing is nothing short of gorgeous. It's a stunningly accomplished book, and Apekina isn't afraid to grab her readers by the hand and take them to some very dark and very beautiful places." Michael Schaub, NPR
|Publisher:||Two Dollar Radio|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||17 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Katya Apekina is the author of the novel The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish. She has had stories published in The Iowa Review , Santa Monica Review , West Branch , Joyland , PANK and elsewhere, and has appeared on the Notable List of Best American Nonrequired Reading 2013. She translated poetry and prose for Night Wraps the Sky: Writings by and about Mayakovsky (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2008), which was short-listed for the Best Translated Book Award. She co-wrote the screenplay for the feature film New Orleans, Mon Amour , starring Elisabeth Moss, which premiered at SXSW in 2008. Born in Moscow, she currently lives in Los Angeles.Find out more here: apekina.comTwitter: @katyaapekinaInstagram: @katyaapekina
What People are Saying About This
“The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish is an engrossing debutApekina's brilliant story of a family in crisis is a remarkable feat of empathy and insight, guided by unpredictable, propulsive storytelling. I was increasingly and helplessly hooked. I can't believe this remarkable tour de force is a first novel.”
J. Ryan Stradal, author of the New York Times Bestseller Kitchens of the Great Midwest
"I've come to expect work of a certain psychological depth from scrappy, Ohio-based publisher Two Dollar Radio, and Katya Apekina's The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish delivers the goods... Told polyphonically by an ensemble cast of characters, The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish explores the vast disparities between separate perspectives and the moral implications of the artist/muse relationship. [Bookseller] Katharine was captivated by this accomplished debut."
Unabridged Bookstore, Chicago, 'NEWS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SEPTEMBER 2018'
Reading Group Guide
Book Club and Reader Guide: Questions and Topics for Discussion 1. What was the effect for you of hearing this story from multiple points of view? How was it different than if it was all told by one person? Or by a narrator?
2. Are there any voices you believe more than others? Any voices you distrust? Were there moments when suddenly your allegiance to certain characters shifted? Why?
3. Do you believe that in life there is an objective truth? Or multiple truths? Are some truths more valid than others?
4. Turn to the person on your right and whisper a lie about yourself in their ear, something that isn’t true but maybe you wish was.
5. Is there something universal about the blurry boundaries in mother/daughter relationships? Do you have siblings? If so, are your relationships with your parents different? Do you ever feel like you grew up in different houses?
6. Turn to the person on your left and whisper a family secret in their ear. It should feel true, but it doesn’t have to be factually true.
7. Roadtrip! Have you ever been on one? Did it feel like this one? Did it make you feel free?
8. Do you feel that artists, to make great art, are above the regular moral code? If an artist makes something that will last for centuries is it okay if in their personal life they were a monster? Would you read them anyway? Is art separate from the person who made it? Do the ends justify the means?
9. Do you think Rivka is right when she says: “Art is not a shield. It’s a knife. You have to bleed!”?
10. Draw a picture of your favorite moment in the book. Feel free to email it to the author: katya (dot) apekina (at) gmail (dot) com