cover image Exes


Max Winter. Catapult, $16.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-936787-40-1

The immersive and accomplished debut novel by Winter is haunted as much by the city of Providence, R.I., as it is by the suicide of Eli, brother of Clay Blackall, one of several narrators in this novel in fragments who each provide insight into why Eli might have ended his life. Providence serves as the backdrop for Clay’s doomed search for answers, and the novel is peppered with local lore that subtly intersects Clay and Eli’s family history. Both an appreciation and evisceration of Providence and its residents, the novel straddles the line between humor and tragedy in each of its disparate parts. The voice of each narrator—whether an ex and former student of Eli’s, Alix; Eli’s former cell mate and also Alix’s other doomed ex, Rob; fallen hockey hero and Rob’s estranged father, Hank LaChance; Mark, Alix’s high school classmate, who narrates the novel’s most beautiful and heartbreaking chapter; or any of several others—is brilliantly unique and incisive. Each character navigates the complex territories of family, grief, and human attachment with sharp intelligence and wit. Agent: Shaun Dolan, Union Literary. (Apr.)