Set in the Pacific Northwest in the jittery, jacked-up early 90s, from one of America's most thrillingly defiant contemporary storytellers, Shelter in Place is a stylish literary novel about the hereditary nature of mental illness, the fleeting intensity of youth, the obligations of family, and the consequences of all-consuming love.
Joseph March, a twenty-one-year-old working class kid from Seattle, is on top of the world. He has just graduated college, his future beckons, unencumbered. Joe's life implodes when he starts to suffer the symptoms of severe bipolar disorder, and, shortly after, his mother kills a man she's never met with a hammer. Joe moves to White Pine, Oregon, where his mother is in jail and his father has set up house to be near her. He is joined by Tess Wolff, a fiercely independent woman with whom he has fallen passionately in love. The lives of Joe, Tess, and Joe's father fall into the slow rhythm of daily prison visits and beer and pizza at a local bar. Meanwhile, Anne-Marie March, Joe's mother, is gradually becoming a local heroine as many begin to see her crime as a furious, exasperated act of righteous rebellion. Tess, too, has fallen under her spell. Spurred on by Anne-Marie's example, Tess enlists Joe in a secret, violent plan that will forever change their lives.
"Shelter in Place is a magnificent novel. Alexander Maksik charts the legacy of violence and the limits of justice with grace, power, and clarity."—Anthony Marra, author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and The Tsar of Love and Techno
"An unsettling and beautiful exploration of mental illness, love, violence, family and sexual politics. Maksik s artful story outruns all sorts of received ideas and cliched narratives, and slips into deeply original territory. You ll be haunted by it in the best possible way."—Katie Roiphe, author of The Violet Hour and In Praise of Messy Lives
"Unsettling and honest, a remarkably insightful portrait of mental illness, Shelter in Place is elegiac, savage and mournful, a beautifully written novel about the echoes of our actions, of love and its consequences."—Aminatta Forna, author of The Hired Man and The Memory of Love
Alexander Maksik is the author of the novels You Deserve Nothing and A Marker to Measure Drift, which was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2013, as well as finalist for both the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and Le Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger. His writing has appeared in The Pushcart Prize Anthology, Harper's, Tin House, The New York Times Magazine, and The Atlantic. He is a contributing editor at Condé Nast Traveler.