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Of This New World

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  140 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Winner of the 2016 John Simmons Short Fiction Award

Allegra Hyde’s dazzling debut story collection, OF THIS NEW WORLD, offers a menagerie of utopias: real, imagined, and lost. Starting with the Garden of Eden and ending in a Mars colony, the stories wrestle with conflicts of idealism and practicality, communal ambition and individual kink. Stories jump between genres—from h
Paperback, 124 pages
Published October 1st 2016 by University Of Iowa Press
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Jennifer (Insert Lit Pun)
I loooved this collection, and wish more people would read it. Hyde’s stories are connected by the idea of “utopia” (which, as she explains in the acknowledgments, paradoxically means both “good place” and “no place”) – all of these characters are looking to create better worlds, either by embarking on a new beginning or consciously choosing an ending. The stories jump from Adam and Eve to a 19th-century Shaker settlement to a futuristic community of Americans on Mars. Hyde avoids the possible t ...more
Rachel León
(4 stars, rounded up for small press) Allegra Hyde is a beautiful writer and I really enjoyed this collection. There were a few I didn't love quite as much, while others I absolutely adored. Overall it's a solid collection and I'm glad I finally got around to reading it.
Vincent Scarpa
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Interview forthcoming with Allegra for Electric Lit, but until then: a whip-smart, masterful collection of stories that examine the chasm between idealism and practicality in the lives of characters ostensibly trying to better themselves, the world. Standouts here include "Shark Fishing," "Free Love," "Bury Me," and, my personal favorite, "Ephemera."
Book Riot Community
Winner of the John Simmons Short Fiction Prize, Allegra Hyde’s debut collection is a gorgeous examination of paradise in all its shapes and forms. Over a dozen stories, Hyde focuses on characters in geographical and spiritual transition, all the while exploring wild frontiers and sullied dwellings. The prose is striking and memorable, stamping peculiar places across an interstellar map from Eden to Mars. It is a truly wonderful reading experience.

-Aram Mrjoian

from The Best Books We Read In Sept
Jun 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
A collection of short stories with the concept of utopia at the heart of each. I'm a sucker for a good utopia, so this was a no-brainer for me. The concept is taken more broadly in this collection than I often think of it, which was suprising in a good way. There's a little something for everyone in this collection - from a colony on Mars to survivalists, Garden of Eden to hippie communes, momentary accidental families to almost deserted tropical islands. Read it! It's short and sweet and you wo ...more
Sara Cutaia
Sep 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I keep reading short story collections that Blow My Head Off (TM). A lot of people have been saying these stories by Allegra Hyde revolve around the theme of "utopias," and I guess that could be said, but I think it's closer to the theme of "new beginnings." Many stories, yes, deal with the idea of paradise, whether trying to create it or watching it crumble, but some of my favorite stories dealt with an entirely different type of struggle. A few didn't capture my attention fully, and others had ...more
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a great collection of stories. I love utopian themes, and these stories are clever and engaging. They range from a Shaker community, spare and straight-forward, to a steamy Mars colony, and elusive Eleutheran hope. They reflect complexity, the lack of easy answers, the consequences of actions, and connections. Highly recommended for thoughtful readers.
Mrs. Elaine
Jul 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
3.5 stars

I liked most of them but a few weren't my cup of tea. The author has a great imagination and is a skillful writer. I will definitely look for more of her work.
Superstition Review
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Of This New World is a collection of stories that introduces the idea of “utopia” in an interesting variety of ways. Each story brings up a unique perspective about humanity’s ideal world, and Allegra Hyde crafts well thought-out narratives while accomplishing this. Characters struggle with their own demons in a quest to reach their own paradise. Hyde compacts a recurrent theme into each story, and also manages to capture the desolation behind some characters as they realize their utopia is unat ...more
Bethany Johnsen
I just never became engaged in this book. None of the characters captured my interest or engaged my sympathy, none of the ideas or situations were very intriguing. There were times, mostly in the first story, when I thought I might be captured by beautiful writing, but no, it feels like some kind of formula for cutting-edge literary fiction these days: here's your present tense, your second person, your story with all the nouns capitalized with registered trademark symbols. Gimmicks. I only fini ...more
Kyle Callert
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Incredible collection of short stories. I tore through the book--after each story I hungrily started the next one. Each of the stories deliver the satisfying emotional and narrative tug you crave, yet they also subtly prod toward something bigger and unnameable. The result is a collection with an aura about it. Not only will I be returning to this book again, but the many fantastic others that are sure to come from this author.
Dennis Sweeney
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm awed at how this book manages to live in so many different worlds (Eden, the Bahamas, Mars) while maintaining its single, obsessive focus (utopia). The lesson is inevitable--utopias fail. What's beautiful in this book is that in failing they become human, in so many different ways.
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a really enjoyable collection of stories that also, somehow, seems perfectly representative of its time, for good and bad.

The main thematic conceit of the collection is this idea of Utopias and our evolving relationship to them. So the first story concerns Adam and Eve outside the garden, and the last deals with the first Martian colony. Along the way, we see Shakers, a sustainable campus on a Caribbean island, and other varieties of the utopian impulse. And the stories come in different
Pearse Anderson
I enjoyed this collection, mostly for the sentences and details and characterization. Each story focuses on utopias and people trying (and failing) to be their best selves. I think everyone agrees that "Shark Fishing" is the best, although I also enjoyed "The Future Consequences of Present," "After the Beginning," and "Ephemera." Some of the arcs struck me as a bit underdeveloped, although I seem to have that problem with many Oberlin professor's writings.

Connection: Allegra is one of the profes
Dec 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-30s, short-stories
I don't know. I guess I'm on the fence about this one. Good writing, but not sure I click with the underlying assumptions. The whole thing makes me fairly uncertain. Was that the purpose? But I'm not sure I feel uncertain in the way or for the reasons intended if that was the purpose. There is definitely a great basis for a discussion/debate on the human condition and the fallenness of man.
G.G. Silverman
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ah, such a yummy little book. I gobbled it obsessively in a few hours. Loved these little gem-like tales of utopia, with their humorous darker sides. Loved Americans on Mars; I think that one surprised me the most. Highly recommended.
Johanna DeBiase
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
Beautifully written short stories each encapsulating a mesmerizing "new world." I didn't want them to end. Characters that follow you off the page. Stories you can't get out of your mind. Imaginative and poignant. Looking forward to more from Ms. Hyde.
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well-written short stories. I didn't love the content of each story, but they were all quite different and very imaginative.
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
A Lovely little assortment of collective living stories and the conflicts that arise within them. I'm excited for Allegra's next books.
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
One of the best collections of short stories that I've read in a long time: vivid yet minimal, emotionally affecting yet never maudlin. Very much looking forward to seeing what the author does next.
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
I was inspired to read “Of This New World” after hearing Jennifer’s (Insert Literary Pun Here) Youtube review. This is a gorgeous collection of short stories, unified through the idea of utopia, which Hyde describes in the foreword as paradoxically meaning both “good place” and “no place”.
We visit Adam and Eve after their expulsion from the Garden of Eden, a human colony on Mars, and a Shaker community (to name a few). In each story, the characters are either chasing a utopia or are/ were a par
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
The thread of Utopia, that ties everything together here, is such a neat theme to connect chapters in a book of short stories. As is the case with any collection, there were some that soared while others fell flat, but such is the subjective nature of collections. Of This New World, though, has something for everyone: allegory, sci-fi, historical fiction--the prospect of utopia, one that easily tips from idyllic to tragic at the drop of a hat, is quite malleable it turns out.
While I was initiall
Joy Clark
I'm not usually a huge fan of short stories ( The Tsar of Love and Techno is, of course, the exception, although one could argue that it should be labeled as a novel, but I digress). In Hyde's collection, each story deals with the theme of paradise - paradise lost, finding paradise, establishing a new world, etc. The concept is great. There's Adam and Eve dealing with the aftermath of being kicked out of Eden, a daughter who has left her hippie parent's commune for a normal life, and a group of ...more
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
I love a really good short story collection but they are hard to find. This sounded intriguing but I can't even finish it. It's not horrible. It's just really not my thing and I'm determined not to waste my time on books I absolutely cannot connect with anymore. I'm giving this 2 stars generously but also because it's not bad writing, just not for me. I'm sure this would be someone else's preference.

I received this as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Nov 22, 2016 added it
From my interview with Allegra at The Chicago Review of Books: "Funny, lyrical, and at times deeply moving, Of This New World is hard to categorize. It’s at once science fiction and fabulism, as much an exploration of communal optimism as a meditation on individual humility, doubt, and compassion." Read my interview here: ...more
Jul 30, 2016 rated it liked it
I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is an interesting collection of stories that focus on different ideas of utopias. It's a relatively short collection, and I enjoyed some stories more than others, but otherall I think it's a good collection. My favorite stories were Free Love, Delight(R), and Americans on Mars!
Cait Weiss Orcutt
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in one amazing flash, yet it sticks with me -- so many of its unexpected & strikingly true phrases keep flaring up in my memory. The stories inside gave me such rich compact worlds to jump in & out of while reading & now continue to give me new universes to inhabit with all these weird, honest characters living out their nearly-our-own utopias & dystopias in my mind. ...more
Jul 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
The stories in this book are okay. Actually, they're interesting. They only miss the 'body', are too short and focused on interesting ideas to really connect with the characters.

I received a free copy through Netgalley in return for an honest review.
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Of This New World is a collection of short stories. Just like any good short story, they each leave you wishing they were a novel. Each story by itself was wonderfully written and worth reading on its own. Each either provoked thought, evoked emotion, or both. I would definitely recommend this.
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Allegra Hyde was born in rural New Hampshire, the daughter of a librarian and an art teacher. She received her B.A. from Williams College and her M.F.A. from Arizona State University. Her first book, OF THIS NEW WORLD (University of Iowa Press, 2016), won the John Simmons Short Fiction Award. Her stories and essays have been published in New England Review, Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review, ...more

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