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Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press
NEW!

My Nemesis

by Charmaine Craig

From the acclaimed author of Miss Burma, longlisted for the National Book Award and the Women’s Prize for Fiction, comes an immersive and searing story of two women, their marriages, and the rivalry between them

  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 208
  • Publication Date February 07, 2023
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6071-3
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $26.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Publication Date February 07, 2023
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6072-0
  • US List Price $26.00

Tessa is a successful writer who develops a friendship, first by correspondence and then in person, with Charlie, a ruggedly handsome philosopher and scholar based in Los Angeles. Sparks fly as they exchange ideas about Camus and masculine desire, and their intellectual connection promises more—but there are obstacles to this burgeoning relationship.

While Tessa’s husband Milton enjoys Charlie’s company on his visits to the East Coast, Charlie’s wife Wah is a different case, and she proves to be both adversary and conundrum to Tessa. Wah’s traditional femininity and subservience to her husband strike Tessa as weaknesses, and she scoffs at the sacrifices Wah makes as adoptive mother to a Burmese girl, Htet, once homeless on the streets of Kuala Lumpur. But Wah has a kind of power too, especially over Charlie, and the conflict between the two women leads to a martini-fueled declaration by Tessa that Wah is “an insult to womankind.” As Tessa is forced to deal with the consequences of her outburst and considers how much she is limited by her own perceptions, she wonders if Wah is really as weak as she has seemed, or if she might have a different kind of strength altogether.

Compassionate and thought-provoking, My Nemesis is a brilliant story of seduction, envy, and the ways we publicly define and privately deceive ourselves today.

Praise for My Nemesis:

“The complicated relationship between memoirist Tessa and professor and philosopher Charlie becomes an entry to a layered exploration of the perception of the self and the outside world . . . A simple plot summary cannot capture the depth of Craig’s treatment of such big themes as femininity and masculinity, motherhood and fatherhood, friendship and love . . . Craig offers an effective inquiry into the elusive nature of intimate relationships, whether they stem from love or hate.”—Booklist (starred review)

“An intense portrayal of an intellectual affair as well as a private competition between two women with perfectly balanced moments of tension and introspection . . . Craig never lets her first-person narrator off the hook . . . Cerebral and tense.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A swift and cutting examination of rivalry between two women . . . The writing is biting and propulsive as allegiances shift . . . This confident work is sure to spark conversations.”—Publishers Weekly

“I devoured this sly, seething novel. So marvelously perceptive, so effortlessly elegant, it lays bare the horror of what husbands and wives expect of each other. My Nemesis is a pearl cultivated in justified rage. I loved it.”—Sarah Manguso, author of Very Cold People

“Charmaine Craig’s brilliant anatomization of mid-life art, identity, and infidelity shares in the intellectual grace and precision of its characters’ philosophical pursuits, yet beneath the ruminative surface this book churns with desire and remorse.”—Jonathan Lethem, author of The Arrest

“As deeply empathic as it is thrillingly addictive, My Nemesis is a stunning and brave literary feat. Charmaine Craig’s searing prose and complex vision challenges us to abandon the safety and certainty of our own perspectives. What begins as a novel of female rivalry quickly transforms into a profound spiritual meditation on the danger of our inability—or unwillingness—to imagine and dignify the inner life of the other. With luminous grace, Craig’s writing is a testament to the transcendent power and peace possible when we dare to try.”—Fatima Farheen Mirza, author of A Place for Us

My Nemesis is an exhilarating act of defiance, a novel that lights a match and sends the whole question of female characters’ likability up in flames. Charmaine Craig is a writer unafraid of contradictions—at once elegant and unruly, cool yet searing—and here she’s given us a fiercely philosophical novel that is also irresistibly, addictively readable.”—Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, author of Likes

“Charmaine Craig’s My Nemesis is a spellbinding highwire act . . . a brutal exposition of the destructive underside of desire and the fragility of familial bonds. Craig’s cutting sentences reveal how easily the life of the mind, sublime and addictive, can be transformed into a weapon that decimates lives. Perhaps most brilliantly, My Nemesis is a warning against the quiet grafting of racial power dynamics onto our most intimate networks of love. My Nemesis is a riveting clear-eyed burn of a book. Read it now!”—Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, author of Savage Tongues

“I was bowled over by this brilliant narrative of desire, complicity, and the limits of empathy. My Nemesis is a compact masterpiece in the confessional mode, one that reverberates long after the last page is turned. Bravo!”—Antoine Wilson, author of Mouth to Mouth

“A blisteringly smart novel about feminism, identity and desire that refuses easy answers and will linger for a long time in my mind.”—Monica Ali, author of Love Marriage

Praise for Miss Burma:

“A timely exposition of trust after trauma . . .  In reimagining the extraordinary lives of her mother and grandparents, Craig produces some passages of exquisitely precise description . . . Brings one of Burma’s many lost histories to vivid life.”—New York Times Book Review

“This multigenerational saga portrays the emergence of modern Burma—through British colonialism, wartime occupation by the Japanese, and the independence era . . . Craig ably controls the novel’s historic sweep, and is unsparing in providing details of meticulous torture and wartime horror. She also conveys a strong sense of family.”—New Yorker (Briefly Noted)

Miss Burma charts both a political history and a deeply personal one—and of those incendiary moments when private and public motivations overlap.”—Los Angeles Times

“An epic roman à clef . . . Masterfully renders the human condition in matters micro and vast . . . Like many of the best books, Miss Burma feels rooted in its time and place, while also laying bare timeless questions of loyalty, infidelity, patriotism, and identity—not to mention the globally perpetuated unfair treatment of women.”—Elle

“[A] riveting account of the treacheries, fractures, and courageous acts of wartime.”—BBC (Ten Books to Read in May)

“Craig expects a good deal of her audience in terms of their appetite for Burmese history, and I hope that many will rise to the occasion, because the rewards are rich . . . A courageous attempt to broaden the way we see others and ourselves, both personally and politically, at home and abroad.”—Los Angeles Review of Books

“A gorgeously-written novel that illuminates the universalities of fear and the desires for dignity and freedom.”—Literary Hub

“A story of how modern-day Burma came to be, as well as the tale of one of the most violent and turbulent eras in world history played out. At once beautiful and heartbreaking . . . An incredible family saga.”—Refinery29

“Ambitious . . . Miss Burma is powerful in showing the relentless effect of the political on the personal while covering an important swath of history—and all the while telling an awfully good story.”—Christian Science Monitor

“Rich and layered, a complex weaving of national and personal trauma . . . Craig has written a captivating second novel that skillfully moves from moments of quiet intimacy and introspection to passages portraying the swift evolution of political events as multiple groups and nations vie for control of Burma’s future. Mesmerizing and haunting.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“[A] tale of love and disenchantment, loyalty and resentment, recognition and isolation . . . Based on real lives, Craig’s historical novel challenges our assumptions about everything from beauty queens to rebels and reminds us that the course of a nation’s history is often determined by the fallibility of individuals.”—Booklist (starred review)

“Spanning generations and multiple dictators, Craig’s epic novel provides a rich, complex account of Burma and its place within the larger geopolitical theater . . . The language and the images unfold with grace, horror, and intimacy.”—Publishers Weekly

“[An] epic new novel . . . distinctive for its representation of a voice not often documented in history. Craig vividly illustrates the intertwining of the political and the personal.”—Library Journal

“Charmaine Craig wields powerful and vivid prose to illuminate a country and a family trapped not only by war and revolution, but also by desire and loss. Both epic and intimate, Miss Burma is a compelling and disturbing trip through Burmese history and politics.”—Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer

“A sweeping novel of Burma and its complicated history, told from the perspective of people whose voices have been systematically erased from the official record. Charmaine Craig writes about war and exile with an exquisite mix of tenderness and intelligence. A brilliant book.”—Laila Lalami, author of The Moor’s Account

Miss Burma is a riveting portrayal of human resourcefulness and heroism, and of their inadequacy before the great cataclysms of history. This engrossing novel movingly affirms—in its characters, but also in the elegance and fineness of its craft—the perseverance of dignity in the face of our helplessness.”—Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

Miss Burma is a book which resonates with meaning, of how we are all actors in our histories and the histories of our nations, it disrupts our settled sense that the past is the past, and shows how it reaches forward to touch the future. It is a powerful, moving and important novel.”—Aminatta Forna, author of The Hired Man

“In beautiful and evocative prose, Miss Burma reminds us of the many ways that war and political repression can scar generations. Yet the real wonder of this powerful book rests in its strong belief that love and determination—and even loss—can help illuminate a path out of the darkest moments. A gem of a novel.”—Maaza Mengiste, author of Beneath the Lion’s Gaze