Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

The Men

by Sandra Newman

From the author of The Heavens, a dazzling, mind-bending novel in which all people with a Y chromosome mysteriously disappear from the face of the earth

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 272
  • Publication Date June 20, 2023
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6176-5
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $18.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 272
  • Publication Date June 14, 2022
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5966-3
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $27.00
  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Publication Date June 14, 2022
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5967-0
  • US List Price $27.00

Deep in the California woods on an evening in late August, Jane Pearson is camping with her husband Leo and their five-year-old son Benjamin. As dusk sets in, she drifts softly to sleep in a hammock strung outside the tent where Leo and Benjamin are preparing for bed. At that moment, every single person with a Y chromosome vanishes around the world, disappearing from operating theaters mid-surgery, from behind the wheels of cars, from arguments and acts of love. Children, adults, even fetuses are gone in an instant. Leo and Benjamin are gone. No one knows why, how, or where.

After the Disappearance, Jane forces herself to enter a world she barely recognizes, one where women must create new ways of living while coping with devastating grief. As people come together to rebuild depopulated industries and distribute scarce resources, Jane focuses on reuniting with an old college girlfriend, Evangelyne Moreau, leader of the Commensalist Party of America, a rising political force in this new world. Meanwhile, strange video footage called “The Men” is being broadcast online showing images of the vanished men marching through barren, otherworldly landscapes. Is this just a hoax, or could it hold the key to the Disappearance?

From the author of The HeavensThe Men is a gripping, beautiful, and disquieting novel of feminist utopias and impossible sacrifices that interrogates the dream of a perfect society and the conflict between individual desire and the good of the community.

Tags Literary

Praise for The Men:

Named a Most Anticipated Book by the Guardian, Irish Times, and Daily Mail

“In Sandra Newman’s fifth novel, all human beings and fetuses with a Y chromosome disappear in an instant . . . To create a work of fiction with such a stark premise runs the risk of confronting the reader with a task of reimagining that is hard to see beyond. But although it’s true that The Men never allows us to forget its dramatic first principle, numerous other strands and themes emerge: the long aftermath of trauma and coercive control; various manifestations of charisma and complicity; the insidious, dehumanizing effects of a society in thrall to screen representations of reality . . . It is in the exploration of these areas, the hinterland beyond the shock headline, that The Men really intrigues and disturbs . . . It seems too literal to read the book as a simple equation in which the existence of men equals the death of hope for the future, even as one might also argue that the stark set-up makes such a conclusion tricky to avoid . . . At its strongest, however, it is an exploration of attachment, its lure and its peril, and the impossibility of its eradication from human affairs.”—Alex Clark, Guardian

“A book whose disturbing imagination reaches through the page into our world.”—Naomi Alderman, New York Times Book Review

“A smashing feminist utopia (or dystopia) . . . Newman provides powerful insights on the limits of sacrifice. As all the characters converge, the author introduces startling explanations for the mass disappearance. This is a stunner.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The Men is sure to get people talking . . . This is also a novel, implicitly or explicitly, about plagues, climate and how power is reified by those in charge.”—Book Reporter

“This layered, introspective tale will give [readers] plenty to think about and discuss.”—Booklist

The Men, like Newman’s previous novel The Heavens, teases us with the idea of utopia. What would we sacrifice to get there? Is it possible for human frailty to create a perfect world? It’s a morally hard-edged and grippingly weird fiction. There’s a gesture to the feminist sci-fi of Joanna Russ’s The Female Man but also to the abysmal imagination of that old lunatic H.P. Lovecraft. And Newman can write a beautiful sentence, the kind that unfolds itself into a small revelation . . . A gripping, haunting novel.”—Spectator

“Almost supernaturally propulsive, sometimes very beautiful . . . There are strange things here I am unlikely to forget. Sandra Newman is a genius.”—Sarah Perry, author of Melmoth

“Heart-breaking. The Men imagines a better world and what we might have to sacrifice to get there, and, at the same time, it’s a brilliantly constructed sci-fi thriller, with a premise that hooks you in with a horrifying grip. I loved it.”—Bridget Collins, author of The Betrayals

“Superb. A novel of hypnotic power and breadth from one of the most supple, dynamic voices around. Newman’s talents never fail to impress me.”—Irenosen Okojie, author of Butterfly Fish

Praise for The Heavens:

Named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Times, NPR, the GuardianLiterary HubElectric Lit, the ObserverKirkus Reviews, the Washington Independent Review of Books, and Tor.com
New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice

“Heady and elegant . . . The Heavens is something of a chameleon, a strange and beautiful hybrid . . . I woke from The Heavens as I hope to emerge from any work of fiction: moved and unsettled, a new and intoxicating set of questions alight on the mind’s horizon.”—Laura Van Den Berg, New York Times Book Review

“In The Heavens, Newman takes on time travel, 9/11, Shakespeare, mental illness, and the end of the world through the experiences of a young couple . . . Her characters may not save the world (spoiler alert!) but they experience love, community, and meaning—even joy.”—Kate Tuttle, Boston Globe

“Special books are Sandra Newman’s specialty, and The Heavens is no exception . . . If you decide to delve into it, Newman will take you on quite a ride through her vivid imagination.”—Lynn Neary, NPR “Weekend Edition”

“A work of remarkable skill and invention, linguistic brio and righteous political intent, and one which gleefully defies categorization . . . At all times one is conscious of a strong guiding intelligence at work: of Newman’s profound concern for the world, for its politics, its threatened places—and above all for the humans bustling about, often hopelessly, in a pained confusion of love . . . A truly astonishing work, capable of eliciting from even the most jaded reader both a kind of startled surprise and an unqualified admiration.”—Sarah Perry, Spectator

“We’re in New York in the summer of 2000, at a spacious apartment where a gorgeous young couple fall in love. But both harbor secrets, and one seems to be losing her grip on reality.”—Entertainment Weekly

“There are some writers whose prose is nothing short of electrifying: it pings and crackles off the page . . Seamless—not to mention lots of fun. The narrative darts around deftly and the bursts of archaic language are playful and tender . . . The novel is a study of creativity—its importance and worth, but also how it separates creators from their loved ones.”—Emma Jane Unsworth, Guardian

“An exquisitely calibrated strangeness . . . Newman has business elsewhere, but if she treats Tudor England like she owns the place, it’s because she evidently does. She is simply unerring, deeply read and possessed of a phenomenal ear for diction . . . The calamities of our age, in this novel, are also an intricate drama of moral philosophy. Like all dramas, it has a resolution, and one of such eye-popping metaphysical grandeur that I couldn’t spoil it even if I wanted to.”—Paraic O’Donnell, Irish Times

“Something rich and strange: a book that runs through many scarcely believable and yet, in any given moment, entirely plausible iterations . . . Newman’s shifting landscapes are thrilling, her changing registers subtle but acute, from the clipped, cultivated language of the Elizabethan court, to the witty, wise-cracking dialogue of 21st-century New Yorkers . . . A metaphorical end-of-the-world set-up as beguiling as it is bleak.”—Catherine Taylor, New Statesman

“A novel unlike any other . . . Magical.”Elle (UK)

“Intriguing . . . A daring piece of counter-historical speculative romance involving Shakespeare and time travel . . . The surreal comic tone has a lot in common with Elif Batuman, Patrick deWitt, and Ottessa Moshfegh.”—Joanna Thomas-Corr, Times (UK)

“Stellar . . . Newman’s novel expertly marries historical and contemporary, plumbing the rich, all-too-human depths of present-day New York and early modern England, and racing toward a well-executed peak. But it’s the evolution of Kate and Ben’s relationship that serves as the book’s emotional anchor, making for a fantastic, ingenious novel.”—Publishers Weekly (starred and boxed review)

“Newman is known for her bold imagination, and this kaleidoscopic novel is no exception . . . An apocalyptically tinged version of The Time Traveler’s Wife . . . Newman’s sentences, like the embroidery Kate practices, pull the story along with their intricate beauty. A complex, unmissable work from a writer who deserves wide acclaim.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Newman neatly manages the uneasy feat of pulling off a historical novel featuring both William Shakespeare and Alexander the Great, foreshadowing the action with philosophical musings on the butterfly effect and the Great Man theory of history. A thought-provoking, head-spinning fever dream of a novel; highly recommended.”—Library Journal (starred review)

“I was bewitched by the ambition and charge of Sandra Newman’s time-slip narrative, which is at once troubling and beautiful, emotionally resonant and fantastically strange.”—Olivia Laing, author of Crudo

“I fell into The Heavens and it was not unlike falling in love: effortless, magical, seductive, humming with beauty and possible danger. This gorgeous novel is a feat of the imagination. Sandra Newman has created a fictional world that was a frightening pleasure to inhabit, one in which the realm of dreams and its mysteries were as compelling as waking life.”—Fatima Farheen Mirza, New York Times-bestselling author of A Place for Us

“What a wonderful, strange, terrifying, brilliant novel this is.”—Kamila Shamsie, author of Home Fire

“Reading Sandra Newman’s The Heavens is like falling up a brilliant flight of stairs. Inventive and moving and surprising on every level, it’s a novel that doesn’t just play with time and history and certainty: it turns those things inside out. I’ve been haunted by its characters and ideas ever since I reluctantly finished it.”—Elizabeth McCracken, author of Thunderstruck & Other Stories and Bowlaway

“An elegant and untamed novel that illuminates the soft edges between love, madness, idealism, and the narrative power of the unconscious mind.”—Catherine Lacey, author of The Answers and Certain American States

“I was gripped, moved, terrified and finally uplifted by this glittering, unforgettable story.”—Rachel Joyce, author of The Music Shop

“Unique and brilliant, I tore through The Heavens and I loved it. It is a house made of trapdoors, where dreams are real and reality a dream. Through this strange labyrinth of 21st century New York and Renaissance England, it is love which deftly, movingly, finds the way.”—Adam Foulds, author of The Quickening Maze

The Heavens, shifting restlessly between worlds, gently encouraging Elizabethan England into eccentric New York, rolling everything into a dreamy, desperate new reality, is everything we expect from Sandra Newman. It’s strange but focused, beautifully written and put together, dangerously benign, comic and clever, bright as a knife.”—M. John Harrison, author of Light and You Should Come With Me Now

The Heavens is absolutely brilliant. Elegant, thought-provoking, clever. A perfect example of how a fantasy premise can become a complex, multi-faceted metaphor for being human and loving and afraid.”—Bridget Collins, author of The Binding