Eleutheria (Paperback)

Eleutheria By Allegra Hyde Cover Image
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Description


A New Yorker Best Book of the Year

“Allegra Hyde’s seductive first novel tackles the big stuff of climate change and the more intimate matter of heartbreak with grace. Indeed, Eleutheria bravely braids these together, the story of a lost soul moving through the world we’re rapidly losing.” —Rumaan Alam, author of Leave the World Behind


Willa Marks has spent her whole life choosing hope. She chooses hope over her parents’ paranoid conspiracy theories, over her dead-end job, over the rising ocean levels. And when she meets Sylvia Gill, renowned Harvard professor, she feels she’s found the justification of that hope. Sylvia is the woman-in-black: the only person smart and sharp enough to compel the world to action. But when Sylvia betrays her, Willa fears she has lost hope forever.

And then she finds a book in Sylvia's library: a guide to fighting climate change called Living the Solution. Inspired by its message and with nothing to lose, Willa flies to the island of Eleutheria in the Bahamas to join the author and his group of ecowarriors at Camp Hope. Upon arrival, things are not what she expected. The group’s leader, author Roy Adams, is missing, and the compound’s public launch is delayed. With time running out, Willa will stop at nothing to realize Camp Hope's mission—but at what cost?

A VINTAGE ORIGINAL

About the Author


Allegra Hyde’s debut story collection, Of This New World, won the John Simmons Short Fiction Award through the Iowa Short Fiction Award Series. Her stories and essays have appeared in The Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, The Best Small Fictions, and The Best American Travel Writing. Originally from New Hampshire, she currently lives in Ohio and teaches at Oberlin College.
 

Praise For…


A New Yorker Best Book of the Year

“Partly satirical, the book is also an urgent, absorbing story that asks how we are meant to live.”
The New Yorker

“The narrative toggles back and forth between the tropical island and Willa’s relationship with a Harvard professor. It’s a weird, melancholic adventure novel — not a genre specimen you come across every day.”
The New York Times

“In an absorbing narrative, advanced with memorable characters and scenes, Hyde thinks about the foibles of activists and even the perversity of hope, but never consigns it to the dustbin – as our ancestors were tempted to do so often in the 20th century. We will need that kind of subtlety as our ecological and other crises mount.”
The New Statesman

“Allegra Hyde’s climate-fiction narrator is the post-cynical heroine we need. . . . Hyde plants all sorts of IEDs in her first novel, shattering her protagonist’s heart, the streets of a decidedly un-United States and, especially, our fragile planetary ecosystem. This is cli-fi even when it turns intimate, with the first kiss between lovers or the failures of addict parents. Individual tensions generate unexpected crackle, but everyone’s caught in the same toxic knots, their environment collapsing around them. The upshot is a first novel way outside the norms: a work of imagination rather than autobiography. . . . Eleutheria achieves a remarkable humanity for a work that sets off global alarms. Hyde knows her title comes from the Greek word for “freedom,” and knows as well that few concepts have been so perverted, so polluted. That maddening paradox enlivens everything here, ‘caught in the slipstream of idealism and exploitation, the secret crux of the Americas.’”
Los Angeles Times

“Allegra Hyde has a sharp eye for the culture-war chaos and breezy narcissism of modern American life. And enough hope to hint that the youth might (might!) save us from ourselves.”
 —Entertainment Weekly

“Eleutheria is a stylish, moving entry in the cli-fi canon, thrilling and thoughtful at once.”
—Wired

“There’s lots to love about Willa Marks, the self-styled environmentalist who, at the start of Allegra Hyde’s debut novel, buys a one-way ticket to the Bahamas to join an eco commune, uninvited. She is impulsive, she’s proactive, she’s a believer. But her brand of Ted Lasso can-do damaged idealism, well, it’s a lot. Come to think of it, just about everybody in this swift, slippery novel is kinda sus: Willa’s wannabe influencer cousins, the aloof environmentalists whose party she crashes, their secretive guru leader who — well, nobody trusts a guru. But there’s an infectious strain of hope inside our heroine and throughout this book, that delights even when things get dire.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer

“A climate change novel, yes, but also a tale of searching for hope in dark times.”
Town & Country
 
“[A] seductive and propulsive first novel that seeks to challenge our ideas of activism and mobilization in the face of climate change through the story of one woman whose quest for utopia leads to loss and danger, but also an audacious hope for the future.”
 —Chicago Review of Books

“A classic story of utopian yearning and collapse, affectingly updated to incorporate present-day concerns about climate change and the erosion of democracy. . . . Willa is a live wire, hurting and causing pain as young people often do. But in an apocalyptic era, her actions have outsized consequences, and the novel finds its most effective theme in portraying utopian idealists like Willa as both dangerous and perhaps essential to begin to address problems so large that they seem unfixable. . . . Eleutheria is a moving meditation on the promise and dangers of utopianism in a potential future plagued by climate change and authoritarianism.”
 —Shelf Awareness

“Eleutheria—a word that stems from an ancient Greek term for liberty—is a solid page-turner, made more compelling because the environmental disasters it describes may not be so fictional. . . . Author Allegra Hyde, an award-winning short story writer, can be wonderfully creative with her language.”
New York Journal of Books
 
“Exquisite prose and keen insights into the limits of idealism and activism add to the propulsive narrative. This is a worthy entry into the growing field of environmental fiction.”
Publishers Weekly

Eleutheria is propulsive, lyrical, and intimate—a book that's deeply invigorating and endlessly thrilling. In a novel that confronts utopias and dystopias, alongside their promises and burdens and the human lives caught in between, Allegra Hyde's prose is both majestic and precise, building a world that's both audaciously complex and wholly inviting. Broaching the question of hope is one of fiction's highest bars, but Hyde's writing deftly navigates this with ease, dazzling and devastating. Eleutheria is an actual light. Allegra Hyde astounds.”
—Bryan Washington, author of Memorial

“I was deeply moved, provoked, inspired, and challenged by Eleutheria, an astonishing debut from a truly visionary writer. Willa Marks' audacious hope, and her courageous efforts to unseal the fate of our only home touched me deeply, as did this story's ability to hold so many contradictions within its pages--love and betrayal, dream and nightmare, selfish manipulation and collective action. A book that never gives up on the possibility of kindness and justice without denying the challenges we live with every day, including inside our own hearts and heads.”
—Karen Russell, author of Orange World and Other Stories

Eleutheria is a gorgeous, tender book. What a treat to sit with such beautiful work; to be allowed such an intimate look into how loss can impact not only the human body but also the physical world around us. Allegra Hyde is a dynamic, powerful writer and her first novel is truly something special.”
Kristen Arnett, author of With Teeth

“There is a heartbreaking negative space to Eleutheria—shades of the world we are in the middle of losing, the world as it will exist only in some future generation’s history books. Extrapolating from our present climate calamity, Allegra Hyde has written something spellbinding at the intersection of arrival and departure, hope and delusion. The complexity of Hyde’s narrator—the warring currents of expectation and abandonment that move her—is a wonderous thing to read.”
 —Omar El Akkad, Giller Prize-winning author of What Strange Paradise

“In this superb debut novel, Allegra Hyde creates a singular character in Willa Marks, a troubled young woman whose quest is both hers and ours as she seeks answers to save a dying world. Eleutheria’s timeliness alone is enough to justify a wide and appreciative audience, yet Hyde’s exceptional artistic gifts—especially the complex characters and charged language—make this novel’s urgent concerns all the more powerful.” 
—Ron Rash, author of In the Valley

Eleutheria
is gripping, surprising, and full of the poetry of planet Earth. Even as the world seems to be collapsing around Willa Marks, even as she seems to be the only one trying to do anything about it, and even as it becomes clear that even Willa is not to be trusted, the reader thrills to her as a narrator. This book is a marvel. Hyde offers us a perfect terrarium world in which the world's dramas play out so that we might inspect close-up our biggest fears about cycles of hope and violence and progress. So that we might ask ourselves: what is the cost of believing in something, and to whom?” 
—CJ Hauser, author of The Crane Wife: A Memoir in Essays

“My god, can Allegra Hyde write! Eleutheria is a thrilling and utterly transporting novel about survival and hope and the tenacity of love in a dying world. Hyde’s characters are unforgettable, her sentences crystalline. I was surprised and delighted and moved at every turn.”
—Kirstin Valdez Quade, author of The Five Wounds

“Allegra Hyde’s visionary first novel is like a terrarium, a small new world made by someone who cares deeply about our survival. To enter it is to glimpse the future and to recognize its layers of dirt and history as our own. But far from being a closed system, everything inside this book—both the ecological disasters and their elegant solutions—is an invitation, radiant with possibility, asking us with love and urgency to change.”
—Jennifer Tseng, author of Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness

“Incisive, darkly funny and far-seeing, Allegra Hyde’s Eleutheria interrogates paradise, past and present, communal and individual. Idealistic and yearning, Willa Marks is an unforgettable heroine. A stunning debut.”
—Vanessa Hua, author of Forbidden City and A River of Stars

“Eleutheria is a twisty, startling tale of climate change and utopia more than worthy of all its ambition. I wept when it was over, for Willa, but also for this mess we’re in—a mess Hyde illuminates with beautiful, affecting prose, bizarre characters that are so completely themselves, and plot twists that shock even as their root is in the inevitability of generations of selfishness. This is a haunting book about reckless, heartbreaking hope.”  
—Lydia Conklin, author of Rainbow Rainbow

“Vivid. Wry. Exceptionally clear-sighted. Allegra Hyde’s compelling and timely novel traces the many sides—idealistic, colonial, determined, hopeful—of the eco-utopic compound Camp Hope on Eleutheria.”
—Morgan Thomas, author of Manywhere
 
“Clear-eyed, buoyant, and far-reaching, Eleutheria is a story about the tremulous balance between honesty and pleasure in human life. At once a canny climate novel and a heartbreaking story of love and loss, Hyde's book playfully dodges between the personal and the political while giving full attention to both. I read Eleutheria in one breathless day, and was sorry to leave this world, where our mistakes and tragedies are shown to be as fully human as our most generous dreams.”
—Adrienne Celt, author of End of the World House
 
“With her captivating novel, Allegra Hyde leads us on a willful, sinuous search for answers in an upended world. Eleutheria is a rallying cry for our collective change of direction.”
—Pitchaya Sudbanthad, author of Bangkok Wakes to Rain

Eleutheria is utopian writing at its best and boldest, unflinching in its ideals and unafraid to depict the complexities of people seeking real solutions and taking real actions in the face of the climate crisis. Willa Marks's journey is a powerful, moving tale, told by a master stylist: every sentence Allegra Hyde writes is alive with grace and power and enviable moral clarity."
—Matt Bell, author of Appleseed
Product Details
ISBN: 9780593315248
ISBN-10: 0593315243
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: March 8th, 2022
Pages: 336
Language: English