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Pew

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3.93  ·  Rating details ·  44 ratings  ·  18 reviews
In a small unnamed town in the American South, a church congregation arrives to a service and finds a figure asleep on a pew. The person is genderless, racially ambiguous, and refuses to speak. One family takes the strange visitor in and nicknames them Pew.

As the town spends the week preparing for a mysterious Forgiveness Festival, Pew is shuttled from one household to the
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Hardcover, 224 pages
Expected publication: May 12th 2020 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  44 ratings  ·  18 reviews


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Adam Dalva
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s like a sequence of Rachel Cusk scenes inside a William Gass novel, with a cathartic, wild climax. Excited to talk about this one - more when it comes out. A ferociously 2020 novel and somehow, timeless.
Meike
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: usa, 2020-read
This short novel cleverly explores compassion, religion and the human longing to categorize others in order to feel safe and comfortable. The title-giving Pew is a young person of indeterminate gender, race, class and birthplace who mostly refuses to speak, thus not giving their surroundings the possibility to easily ascribe certain qualities and traits to them. Reminiscient of Bartleby the Scrivener, they refuse to participate in society the way they are expected to - this act of resistance is ...more
Come Musica
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un adolescente, di cui non si sa il genere, in fuga da qualcosa o da qualcuno (non si sa) si rifugia in una chiesa per dormire su una panca: “Questo corpo mi pesa addosso, mi porta in giro, ma non sembra appartenermi, e anche se io potessi vedere i miei occhi non li riconoscerei.”

È trovato da una coppia che lo ospita a casa loro. Alle domande della coppia non risponde: decidono, così, di chiamarlo Panca. Un nome come un altro. Di cosa, però.

Questa coppia e questa comunità di cristiani, in
...more
Kasa Cotugno
As others have pointed out, there is a lot to chew on in these few pages. Although Catherine Lacey employs the first person, we really don't learn very much more about the enigmatic Pew than the curious church members who take her/him in. Reactions by these townfolk don't vary much -- when in Pew's company they tend to feel compelled to spew their secrets and fears. It is a well known fact that a stranger is the most receptive of confessors, and the ageless, genderless, impossible to quantify ...more
Paris (parisperusing)
"I don't know how it is I can sometimes see all these things in people—see these silent things in people—and though it has been helpful, I think, at times, so often it feels like an affliction, to see through those masks meant to protect a person's wants and unmet needs. People wear those masks for a reason, like river dams and jar lids have a reason."

Catherine Lacey's latest novel, Pew, is a gallant examination into the many ways identity can splice or splinter a community, and become the
...more
Drew
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5+ out of 5. It's telling that Lacey uses an epigram from Ursula K. Le Guin for this book. This is, far and away, her.... strangest? Most speculative-adjacent? I think that's the word I want, I think strangest is right -- her strangest book so far. In many ways.

An unnamed stranger comes to a small Southern town. They are of indeterminate race and gender and age, to the point that everyone seems to perceive them somewhat differently. They call this person Pew and offer to support them, in the
...more
Isaac
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This is an incredible book, filled with insights about perception, bodies, God, and the South. I read it all in a single night, and am going to have to go back and reread later to get more out of it. Catherine Lacey really nails the experience of having an ambiguous gender in the South, and some of the complications it can bring. "Pew" has no clear ending the way you might expect it to, but by the end of the book, you realize the questions you had (like, who/what is Pew?) aren't actually the ...more
Fede La Lettrice
Molto meglio del precedente libro ("Le risposte" che mi aveva proprio annoiata), ma niente di speciale. Interessante il tema: analizzare, conoscere, migliorare se stessi aiutando gli altri, ma trama deboluccia. Un libro senza infamia e senza lode.
Chris Haak
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this quirky little novel about identity and religion! If this doesn't make the Booker longlist, I don't know what will and the judges will have made a big mistake. It's so subtle, so beautifully written, with excellent characters, and so imaginative. Definitely a 5* novel.
Thank you Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Edelweiss for the ARC.
Molly
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
hard to believe a book this perfect exists.

Sacha
Feb 23, 2020 added it
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this arc, which I received in exchange for an honest review. I'll post that review upon publication.
alessandra falca
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In un mondo tipo “Dogville” di Lars Von Trier appare Panca, addormentato in una chiesa. Il libro in inglese si chiama proprio “Pew” come le panche dove siedono i fedeli. E questo è l’incipit del romanzo. Un romanzo che ci invita a riflettere sul gender, sulle differenze, sui sensi di colpa. Interessante, provocatorio, stimolante. Un buon libro alla fine per questa giovane scrittrice americana nata il 9 aprile.
Anneke
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley-read
Book Review: Pew
Author: Catherine Lacey
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: May 12, 2020
Review Date: January 24, 2020

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the blurb:
“One of Vogue's Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2020, one of BuzzFeed's Most Anticipated Books of 2020, one of Vulture's Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2020, and one of The Millions Most Anticipated Books of the First Half of 2020

A figure with no discernible identity
...more
Erica Ranzani
“Accogliere” è la parola chiave di questo romanzo. “Accogliere” è l’azione meno riuscita dai personaggi di questo romanzo.
In nome di una fede solo sbandierata e portatrice di innumerevoli segreti non confessabili, gli abitanti di questa non meglio definita cittadina, si snervano nella corsa all’accoglienza di un individuo non classificabile secondo i nostri preconcetti di “persona”.

Panca, è il nome di questo curioso essere, non parla. Rigetta questa accoglienza illusoria, tranne che in
...more
Sam Glatt
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Catherine Lacey proves, once again, that she is simply one of our brashest, most insightful contemporary writers, especially when it comes to exposing and dissecting the toxicity that lingers deep within the need to define the most unknowable parts of others, and ourselves.
Marcella Rossi
Nella chiesa di una piccola comunità, nel giorno del culto, viene scoperto un giovane individuo addormentato su una panca, non si capisce se maschio o femmina, se bianco o nero. La comunità decide di accogliere e dare sostegno a “Panca”, che non parla e non rivela nulla di se e del suo passato, o meglio parla pochissimo e solo con pochi scelti. In maniera curiosa, si capovolge la prospettiva perché tutti coloro che si dichiarano pronti ad ascoltare, invece si mettono a raccontare allo straniero. ...more
Giorgiop
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

peccato, perché come idea di base il libro è valido (una persona senza memoria arriva in una comunità e la comunità in qualche modo reagisce) ma il plot di girare in tondo senza sapere dove andare alla fine si percepisce più come una rotatoria che un giro turistico.
Eileen Werner
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Menacing and bucolic. This book captures something of that rare feeling at the edge of things, when a truth feels impossibly present and impossibly distant at the same time. Few words for this one, but it brought me towards some of my more interesting interiorities.
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Catherine Lacey is the author of the novels NOBODY IS EVER MISSING and THE ANSWERS, both of which has been translated into Italian, French, Dutch, German, and Spanish. She is the winner of a 2016 Whiting Award, a finalist for the NYPL's Young Lions Fiction Award, and a NYFA fellow. Her essays and short fiction have been published in The New York Times, Harper's Magazine, Vogue, Virginia Quarterly ...more
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