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Richard Chiem discusses his debut novel, King of Joy with Sarah Etter.
Praise for King of Joy
"What a funny, fresh, bittersweet masterpiece—there is no one else in the world writing like Richard Chiem. From the sentence-level wizardry to the racing plot, I feel smarter just having read this. Every page brings a new set of wonders." —Alissa Nutting, author of Made for Love
"This novel is transfixing: an imaginative meditation on emotional survival, isolation, and the beauty and limitations of human connection. I love Chiem’s writing." —Melissa Broder, author of The Pisces
About King of Joy
From one of the most exciting and risk-taking new literary voices, Richard Chiem's debut novel King of Joy is the triumphant, electrifying story of one woman's quest for survival against all odds, told in the author's inimitable prose style.
Corvus has always had an overactive imagination. Growing up, she develops a unique coping mechanism: she can imagine herself out of any situation, no matter how terrible. To get through each day, Corvus escapes into scenes from fantasy novels, pop songs, and action/adventure movies, and survives by turning the everyday into just another role to play in the movie of her life.
After a tragic loss, Corvus finds a sadness so great she cannot imagine it away. Instead, she finds Tim, a pornographer with unconventional methods, who offers her a new way to escape into movies. But when a sinister plot of greed and betrayal is revealed, Corvus must fight to reclaim her independence, and discovers she is stronger than even she could have imagined.
Written in Richard Chiem's singular style, this debut novel is equal parts sledgehammer and sweet song, a neon, pulsing portrait of grief. King of Joy tells the triumphant, electrifying story of one woman's quest for survival against all odds, and serves as a reminder that resilience can be found even in our most hopeless moments.
Named a 2019 Writer to Watch by the Los Angeles Times, Richard Chiem has written a new novel that is equal parts sledgehammer and sweet song. King of Joy is a neon, pulsing portrait of grief, and an electrifying story of one woman's survival against all odds.