VIRTUAL - Alison Wisdom - WE CAN ONLY SAVE OURSELVES

Start: 
Tuesday, February 2, 2021 - 7:00pm
Location: 

This event will be hosted on Zoom Webinar. Click here to register.

Alison Wisdom will be in conversation with Elizabeth Wetmore.


With echoes of The Virgin Suicides and The Fates Will Find Their Way, Alison Wisdom’s debut novel is the story of one teenage girl’s unlikely indoctrination and the reverberations in the tight-knit community she leaves behind.

Alice Lange’s neighbors are proud to know her—a high-achieving student, cheerleader, and all-around good citizen, she’s a perfect emblem of their sunny neighborhood. The night before she’s expected to be crowned Homecoming Queen, though, she commits an act of vandalism, then disappears, following a magnetic stranger named Wesley to a bungalow in another part of the state. There, he promises, Alice can be her true self, shedding the shackles of conformity.

At the bungalow, however, she learns that four other young women seeking enlightenment and adventure have already followed him there. Her new lifestyle is intoxicating at first, but as Wesley’s demands on all of them increase, the house becomes a pressure cooker—until one day they reach the point of no return.

Back home, the story of Alice’s disappearance and radicalization is framed by the first-person plural chorus of the mothers who knew her before, who worry about her, but also resent the tear she made in the fabric of their perfect world, one that exposes the question: Isn’t suburbia a kind of cult unto itself?

Combining the sharp social critique of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere with the elegiac beauty of Emma Cline’s The Girls, this is a fierce literary debut from a writer to watch.


Born, raised, and based in Houston, Texas, Alison Wisdom has an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, received a novel-writing grant from Wedgwood Circle, and was a finalist for this year’s Rona Jaffe Award. She has attended Tin House and the Lighthouse Writers Workshop, where she was a finalist for the Emerging Writers Fellowship. Alison’s short stories have been published in Ploughshares, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Indiana Review, and more.

Elizabeth Wetmore is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her fiction has appeared in Epoch, Kenyon Review, Colorado Review, Baltimore Review, Crab Orchard Review, Iowa Review, and other literary journals. She is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and two fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, as well as a grant from the Barbara Deming Foundation. She was also a Rona Jaffe Scholar in Fiction at Bread Loaf and a Fellow at the MacDowell Colony, and one of six Writers in Residence at Hedgebrook. A native of West Texas, she lives and works in Chicago.

We Can Only Save Ourselves: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780063048171
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Harper - February 2nd, 2021

We Can Only Save Ourselves: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062996145
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - February 2nd, 2021