Pretend I'm Dead

Pages: 240
Subject: Fiction
Imprint: Oneworld

Pretend I'm Dead

Jen Beagin

Mary Karr meets Miranda July in this hilarious debut about a young cleaning lady's quest for self-acceptance and belonging
9781786074294 (5 Jul 2018)
RRP £12.99

The Book

Jen Beagin's brilliant, off-beat and deeply moving novel introduces an unforgettable character, Mona - almost twenty-four, emotionally adrift and cleaning houses to get by. Volunteering for a needle-exchange programme, she falls for a recipient she calls Mr Disgusting, who proceeds to break her heart in unimaginable ways.

In search of healing, Mona decamps to Taos, New Mexico, for a fresh start, where she finds a community of seekers and cast-offs, all of whom have one or two things to teach her - the pyjama-wearing, blissed-out New Agers, the slightly creepy client with peculiar tastes in controlled substances, the psychic who might really be psychic. But always lurking just beneath the surface are her memories of growing up in a chaotic, destructive family from which she's trying to disentangle herself, and the crushing legacy of the past she left behind.

The story of Mona's journey to find her place in the world is at once fearless and wonderfully strange, true to life and boldly human, and introduces a stunning, one-of-a-kind new voice in American fiction.

Additional Information

Subject Fiction
Pages 240
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Jen Beagin holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of California, Irvine, and has published stories in Juked and Faultline, among other journals and literary magazines. She lives in New York.


'Frank and unflinching... This book invaded my dreams, took over my conversation, and otherwise seduced me totally.'

- Joshua Ferris, author of Then We Came to the End

'Fresh, funny, compassionate... This is a terrific debut.'

- Kirkus (starred review)

'How can you resist a love story in which the object of desire is named Mr. Disgusting? Like Denis Johnson, Jen Beagin is able to find humanity and wonder (and yes, love) in some of the most forlorn and hopeless corners of our world.'

- Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children

'Jen Beagin has one of the freshest voices I've read in years—funny, wise, whip-smart and compassionate. I tore through Pretend I'm Dead with a deep sense of  affection for all of its beautifully flawed characters and their bittersweet lives.'

- Jami Attenberg, author of The Middlesteins

'Funny, supremely candid, this debut hurt me perfectly on every page.'

- Ron Carlson, author of Return to Oakpine

'Pretend I'm Dead is funny, weird, disturbing, and just a touch magical. Jen Beagin's novel will stare you down, mesmerize you, and dare you to laugh.'

- Annie Hartnett, author of Rabbit Cake

'If nuanced, funny, dark, utterly unpretentious literature is your drug of choice, Jen Beagin's Pretend I'm Dead constitutes an epic score. Please enjoy responsibly.'

- Elisa Albert, author of After Birth

'Pretend I'm Dead is utterly engaging, laugh-out-loud funny, and always compelling. Each sentence is alive, vibrant and quaking...fearless and bold.'

- Jessica Anya Blau, author of The Wonder Bread Summer

Pretend I'm Dead is a funny, smart and surprisingly deep novel that lures the reader - through humour and sharp, off-beat observation - to follow a character to rock bottom. Beagin's uncanny characters and wise voice lend a cushion for taking a seat on that rock, providing the company of a good friend so that readers will be glad to stay.'

- Caoilinn Hughes, author of Orchid & the Wasp