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Christina Stead's "The Man Who Loved Children"

Celebrated by writers including Jonathan Franzen, who said that "[t]his crazy, gorgeous family novel is one of the great literary achievements of the twentieth century," The Man Who Loved Children is a 1940 novel by Australian writer Christina Stead. The harrowing portrait of a dysfunctional family, the novel focuses on the relationship between the father, Sam, a tyrannical crank far removed from the civilized man he thinks himself to be, his bitter wife, Henny, and their six children, particularly eldest daughter, Louie.


"Lucy Ferriss brings her signature honesty, clarity, and grace to bear on Christina Stead's famously challenging and rewarding novel about the frightening misuses of paternal power. I happily followed her into such literary byways as what to do with "impossible" characters (in books and in life), the virtues and pitfalls of excess in fiction, and how writing can sometimes save our souls. Through it all, Ferriss reckons with her own late father and his influence on her emerging artist's vision. This is a beautiful blend of memoir and deep reading."—Pamela Erens

Meditations for a New Century

As a fiction writer, my urge has always been toward the narrative arc, which pushes character and event toward their inevitable if unforeseen conclusion. In nonfiction, this impulse yields the persuasive or autobiographical essay – a span of prose meant either to change the reader's mind or create a story out of life materials. In these essays, which won the Wandering Aengus Prize for 2021, I resist this impulse. I shape the prose to do what I do in sitting: to dwell on the thing, to find what happens when that stone drops into the pond of my writing and expands.


"These splendid and wide-ranging essays are filled with moments of hard-earned wisdom and deep realization; with each of Lucy Ferriss's experiences, I found myself admiring the thoughts and questions from where her writing so intelligently take us." --Allen Gee, author of My Chinese America

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The Misconceiver

This fresh release of an epochal novel unlocks the dystopic world of the United States circa 2026, when Roe v. Wade has been overturned and abortion banned. Following in the steps of her dead sister and mother, narrator Phoebe Masters works in the computer industry by day and at night restores to desperate women some measure of control over their own bodies. While The Misconceiver initially presents its characters' repression matter-of-factly, the accretion of physical and emotional detail makes this far more than a merely political novel. Phoebe is fiercely loyal but anxious for her own freedom. Haunted by memory and hunted by the law, she begins to find her true self even as she sheds her old identity. Set in a future that is not far-fetched but well within the range of our imagination, The Misconceiver brings to life characters and relationships that could well be ours, just over the horizon of time.


The Misconceiver is primarily a powerful novel of dystopia. . . . But it is also a very tense thriller. . . . And then it is a novel about sisterhood, in both senses of the word. . . . Ferriss is a fine writer, and in this dark and starkly realistic tale, she answer all her own questions, pulling no punches. -- The Times, London

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Foreign Climes

Winner of the 2020 Brighthorse Books Award in Short Fiction, Foreign Climes is now available from your independent bookstore and wherever books are sold. The stories in the collection are linked by the strangeness of new places, territories both geographical and psychological. They proceed from a young person's sense of boundaries to an older person's breaking through boundaries-and then beyond, to a voice that constructs the world by way of possibilities. In the end, they reveal the heart and the potential of the people within them by thrusting them into those places of discomfort and exhilaration that leave us all naked before the world.


"A dazzling new collection. . . . Lucy Ferriss is marvelously skilled, a true master of the craft." -- Lynne Sharon Schwartz, author of Truthtelling


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A Sister to Honor

Afia Satar is studious, modest, and devout. The young daughter of a landholding family in northern Pakistan, Afia has enrolled in an American college with the dream of returning to her country as a doctor. But when a photo surfaces online of Afia holding hands with an American boy, she is suddenly no longer safe—even from the family that cherishes her.


"Afia and Shahid's painful struggle is intricately crafted and the cultural nuances evocatively depicted. A thought-provoking novel." -- Publishers Weekly


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The Lost Daughter

Brooke O'Connor has a happy marriage and a beloved daughter. But when her high school boyfriend resurfaces, her past returns. With her marriage and equilibrium at stake, Brooke must confront what she has been unwilling to face for so long. But the truth is not what Brooke believes it to be. In chartin her journey, The Lost Daughter explores the cost of guilt and the tantalizing possibility of redemption.


"This achingly beautiful novel is the work of a master American realist." -- Francisco Goldman, author of Monkey Boy


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Unveiling the Prophet

A memoir blending regional, national, and personal history to creative a fast-paced narrative with two timelines. One tells the dramatic, often funny story of the 1972 Veiled Prophet Ball, the largest cotillion in the country and the center of Midwestern WASP aristocracy in the heat of the civil rights era. The other takes place thirty years later, as Lucy returns to St. Louis from the East Coast to track down key figures from the moment when the Prophet was unveiled and the course of history changed forever.


From Lucy: This memoir began with an incident in St. Louis, my hometown, which changed the course of history and marked the end of an era. I waited 30 years for someone to write about the intersections of race, class, and gender that led up to that event . . . until I realized that that someone was me. Since the publication of Unveiling the Prophet and the tragic death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, the world's attention has turned to St. Louis and made "the unveiling" a harbinger of what was to come.


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The following titles are available from Amazon, or contact Lucy directly.

The twelve stories in the award-winning collection Leaving the Neighborhood are variously concerned with departures -- physical, emotional, even philosophical. Yet few things in life are ever completely left behind. That which is unresolved remains. In each of these stories, men and women find themselves drawn into confrontations without knowing quite how they got there. As the consequences suddenly awaken their moral self-awareness, they face the task of recapturing and redefining the past in order to shape the future.


Available on Amazon, or contact Lucy directly.


Nine-year-old Toby Ames is desperately in need of a heart transplant. His salvation comes in the form of Brooke Hunter, a young girl who died with her father in a motorcycle accident. But Toby's new heart bring with it the demands of family, passion, and loss. Recognized by the Peter Taylor Prize in the Novel, Nerves of the Heart is the story of adults nursing old and new loves, and of the child who must shoulder the weight of their hurts and hopes.


Nerves of the Heart is available; contact Lucy for details.


Growing up along the Hudson River, Gwyn Stickley, nicknamed Stick, is eager to escape a hamlet full of secrets. Her flight and return, haunted by the image of the Challenger flight and explosion, become a journey through the uncontrollable, exhilarating worlds of love and pain.


Against Gravity is available on Amazon, or contact Lucy directly.