Fire Exit: A Novel (Hardcover)

Fire Exit: A Novel By Morgan Talty Cover Image
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“A gorgeous and all-consuming novel, Fire Exit lays bare the consequences of one man’s decisions, and his resolve to reconcile his past by taking care of his aging mother and seeking a connection with his unknown daughter. Unforgettable.”
— Olivia Marchese, Author's Note, Medina, NY



“Spellbinding”—TIME, A Best Book of Summer

A Best Book of June at The New York Times and Chicago Review of Books

“Utterly consuming. . . . Fire Exit absolutely smolders.”—Tommy Orange

From the award-winning author of Night of the Living Rez, Morgan Talty’s debut novel, Fire Exit, is a masterful and unforgettable story of family, legacy, bloodlines, culture and inheritance, and what, if anything, we owe one another.

From the porch of his home, Charles Lamosway has watched the life he might have had unfold across the river on Maine’s Penobscot Reservation. He caught brief moments of his neighbor Elizabeth’s life—from the day she came home from the hospital to her early twenties. But there’s something deeper and more dangerous than the river that divides him from her and the rest of the tribal community. It’s the secret that Elizabeth is his daughter, a secret Charles is no longer willing to keep.

Now, it’s been weeks since he’s seen Elizabeth, and Charles is worried. As he attempts to hold on to and care for what he can—his home and property; his alcoholic and bighearted friend Bobby; and his mother, Louise, who is slipping deeper into dementia—he becomes increasingly haunted by his past. Forced to confront a lost childhood on the reservation, a love affair cut short, and the death of his beloved stepfather, Fredrick, Charles contends with questions he’s long been afraid to ask. Is his secret about Elizabeth his to share? And would his daughter want to know the truth, even if it could cost her everything she’s ever known?

About the Author

Morgan Talty is a citizen of the Penobscot Indian Nation. His debut short story collection, Night of the Living Rez, won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Sue Kaufman Prize, the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, the New England Book Award, the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Honor, and was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award, and The Story Prize. His writing has appeared in The Georgia Review, Granta, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, Narrative, Lit Hub, and elsewhere. Talty is an assistant professor of English in Creative Writing and Native American and Contemporary Literature at the University of Maine, Orono, and he is on the faculty at the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing as well as the Institute of American Indian Arts. He lives in Levant, Maine.

Praise For…

Remarkable. . . . An outstanding new voice with a lot to say.

Spellbinding. . . . a compassionate portrait of a man who is desperate to understand who he is and where he came from.
— TIME, a Best Book of Summer

Does not shy away from blistering questions of belonging and identity, but rather leans into them, in taut, often precise prose.
— The New York Times Book Review, A Best Book of June

Gripping. . . . A thoughtful, heartfelt exploration of what it means to be part of a family and a community.
— Associated Press

Talty is a beautiful craftsman.
— The Washington Post

— Chicago Review of Books, A Best Book of June

— Chicago Tribune, A Best Book of Summer

Pensive, probing.
— Vanity Fair

Powerfully crafted.
— ELLE, A Best Books of Summer

In this deliberately paced, moody novel, Talty, himself a citizen of the Penobscot Nation, considers questions of identity.
— Kirkus Reviews

Tender and heartbreaking. . . . sweetened with touches of humor, the novel raises important questions about human connection and belonging.
— Booklist, Starred Review

Absolutely soars. . . . you will come out of this book better than you were going in.
— Barnes & Noble, A Most Anticipated Debut of 2024

[A] gem of a novel.
— Amazon, A Best Book of the Year So Far

— The Star Tribune

Cathartic. . . . healing.
— The Los Angeles Review of Books

Cements his status as a writer to watch.
— Harper's Bazaar

Beautifully written, sometimes funny, often heartbreaking and hopeful against all odds. Reminiscent of the work of Raymond Carver.
— Book Page

— Publishers Weekly

Utterly absorbing. . . .  compassionately addresses tough choices in matters of family and love.
— Shelf Awareness

Affecting. . . . evocative. . . . In the thought-provoking novel Fire Exit, family and identity are so much more than what is in the blood or on a piece of paper.

— Foreward Reviews

Devastating, amazing, and such a gut-punch. . . . A powerful novel about relationships, trauma and family. Talty really gets inside his characters. You empathize with them. They make terrible decisions. . . . but everybody does these sort of things to some extent, and you really feel like Charlie is a real person. . . . It’s incredible and it will make you ugly cry.
— Book Riot

Immersive, thought-provoking. . . . Talty doesn’t miss a step in switching from short stories to a novel, and there’s no sophomore slump in this second book; indeed, Fire Exit cements his reputation as one of our best young writers.

— The Portland Press Herald

Original. . . . Irresistible. . . . Fire Exit is one of those books that will become more meaningful with the days, weeks, and months after closing the cover.

— Independent Book Review

Talty’s greatest strength as a writer may be the clarity with which he sculpts his characters, who feel incredibly real — almost achingly so.
— Bangor Daily News

Deserves the largest audience possible.
— The Masters Review

Utterly consuming. With Talty’s subtle charm and crystalline prose. . . . Fire Exit absolutely smolders

— Tommy Orange

Gorgeous. . . . I loved it.
— Brandon Taylor

Talty’s writing is a gift of many lifetimes.
— Karen Russell

Product Details
ISBN: 9781959030553
ISBN-10: 1959030558
Publisher: Tin House Books
Publication Date: June 4th, 2024
Pages: 256
Language: English