Everything Under

EVERYTHING UNDER


An eerie, watery reimagining of the Oedipus myth set on the canals of Oxford, from the author of Fen.

The dictionary doesn’t contain every word. Gretel, a lexicographer by trade, knows this better than most. She grew up on a houseboat with her mother, wandering the canals of Oxford and speaking a private language of their own invention. Her mother disappeared when Gretel was a teen, abandoning her to foster care, and Gretel has tried to move on, spending her days updating dictionary entries.

One phone call from her mother is all it takes for the past to come rushing back.

more …

An eerie, watery reimagining of the Oedipus myth set on the canals of Oxford, from the author of Fen.

The dictionary doesn’t contain every word. Gretel, a lexicographer by trade, knows this better than most. She grew up on a houseboat with her mother, wandering the canals of Oxford and speaking a private language of their own invention. Her mother disappeared when Gretel was a teen, abandoning her to foster care, and Gretel has tried to move on, spending her days updating dictionary entries.

One phone call from her mother is all it takes for the past to come rushing back. To find her, Gretel will have to recover buried memories of her final, fateful winter on the canals. A runaway boy had found community and shelter with them, and all three were haunted by their past and stalked by an ominous creature lurking in the canal: the bonak. Everything and nothing at once, the bonak was Gretel’s name for the thing she feared most. And now that she’s searching for her mother, she’ll have to face it.

In this electrifying reinterpretation of a classical myth, Daisy Johnson explores questions of fate and free will, gender fluidity, and fractured family relationships. Everything Under—a debut novel whose surreal, watery landscape will resonate with fans of Fen—is a daring, moving story that will leave you unsettled and unstrung.

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  • Graywolf
  • Paperback
  • October 2018
  • 280 Pages
  • 978-1-55597-826-6

Buy the Book

$16.00

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About Daisy Johnson

daisy_johnsonDaisy Johnson was born in 1990. Her short fiction has appeared in Boston Review and the Warwick Review, among others. She was the recipient of the 2014 A. M. Heath Prize, and currently lives in Oxford, England. Fen was her first novel.

Praise

Shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize

“Entrancing. . . . Johnson’s own writing summons the just-off-ness of the uncanny; she is capable of passages of exquisite creepiness. . . . Her sentences have an aqueous quality.”—The New Yorker

“Skillful and imaginative. . . . It takes a bold mind to steer so many elements through one tale, and an even stronger stylist to render them in a narrative that heeds, but seems not to, the laws of nature. Johnson has done all this in a book that will probably be read . . . for years to come as a part of the reclaiming of narrative territory.” —The Boston Globe

“[Everything Under blends] a deep understanding of character and storytelling sophistication to examine a troubled mother-daughter relationship. . . . [A] complex, uncompromising novel.”—The Guardian

“An intimate look at language and motherhood, but with a physical manifestation of terror that manages to straddle the line between obviously real and a product of the imagination.”—The Outline