Join us on Monday, April 25 at 7pm PT when Melissa Chadburn celebrates her debut novel, A Tiny Upward Shove, with Jonathan Escoffery at 9th Ave!
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About A Tiny Upward Shove
“Melissa Chadburn writes with tenderness and grit, and A Tiny Upward Shove is a beautiful and brave novel about powerlessness, longing, and that universal, unavoidable desire to be loved. Let this book happen to you.” —Edan Lepucki, author of California
This “addictive and headlong” (Lauren Groff) debut novel traces the too-short life of a woman cast out by society and transformed by death into an agent of justice—or mercy.
Marina Salles’s life does not end the day she wakes up dead.
Instead, in the course of a moment, she is transformed into the stuff of myth, the stuff of her grandmother’s old Filipino stories—an aswang, a creature of mystery and vengeance. She spent her time on earth on the margins; shot like a pinball through a childhood of loss, she was a veteran of Child Protective Services and a survivor, but always reacting, watching from a distance, understanding very little of her own life, let alone the lives of others. Death brings her into the hearts and minds of those she has known—even her killer—as she accesses their memories and sees anew the meaning of her own. In her nine days as an aswang, while she considers whether to exact vengeance on her killer, she also traces back, finally able to see what led these two lost souls to a crushingly inevitable conclusion.
In A Tiny Upward Shove, the debut novelist Melissa Chadburn charts the heartbreaking journeys of two of society’s castoffs as they make their way to each other and their roles as criminal and victim. What does it mean to be on the brink? When are those moments that change not only our lives but our very selves? And how, in this impossible world, full of cruelty and negligence, can we rouse ourselves toward mercy?
About Melissa Chadburn
Melissa Chadburn’s writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Review of Books, The Paris Review Daily, The Best American Food Writing, and many other publications. Her extensive reporting on the child welfare system appears in the Netflix docuseries The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez. Chadburn is a worker lover and through her own labor and literary citizenship strives to upend economic violence. Her mother taught her how to sharpen a pencil with a knife, and she's basically been doing that ever since. She is a PhD candidate in creative writing at the University of Southern California and lives in greater Los Angeles.
About Jonathan Escoffery
Jonathan Escoffery is the recipient of the 2020 Plimpton Prize for Fiction, a 2020 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, and the 2020 ASME Award for Fiction. His fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, American Short Fiction, Prairie Schooner, AGNI, Zyzzyva, and more, and has been anthologized in The Best American Magazine Writing. He received his MFA from the University of Minnesota, is a PhD fellow in the University of Southern California’s PhD in Creative Writing and Literature Program, and in 2021 was awarded a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in the Creative Writing Program at Stanford. His debut book, If I Survive You, will be published in September, 2022.
“Wild and ambitious . . . [with] something ablaze at its core. It burns.” —The New York Times Book Review
A Tiny Upward Shove is inspired by Melissa Chadburn's Filipino heritage and its folklore, as it traces the too-short life of a young, cast-off woman transformed by death into an agent of justice—or mercy.
LONG-LISTED FOR THE 2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION, THE PEN/JEAN STEIN OPEN BOOK AWARD, THE PEN/BINGHAM PRIZE, THE 2023 CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN FICTION, AND THE 2023 ASPEN WORDS LITERARY PRIZE