We Play Ourselves

We Play Ourselves

Jen Silverman
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' Witty. . . Earnest. . . Laugh-out-loud. . . Pitch-perfect' New York Times In the pursuit of fame, how do you know when you' ve gone too far? When Cass - a thirty-something, promising, queer playwright - receives a prestigious award, it seems as though her career is finally taking off. That is until she finds herself at the centre of a searing public shaming, which relegates her from rising star in New York to a nobody on her best friend' s sofa in L. A. As she comes to terms with the extent of her failure, she is forced to question who she is without the thing that has always defined her: her art. So she fills the days by stalking her playwright nemesis, of whom she is excruciatingly envious, and getting pulled into the orbit of the charismatic but manipulative filmmaker next door. As Cass becomes increasingly involved with her neighbour and the group of pugilistic teenage girls she' s documenting, ass begins to dream of a comeback. But when the film spins dangerously out of control, Cass is once again forced to reckon with her ambition, and her rage. We Play Ourselves is a darkly funny novel about the cost of making art, and the art of making enemies. ' Funny, sharp, modern - this is an excellent debut novel. Its bold, edgy, strange heroine has adventures and misadventures, screws up again and again, but somehow won my love. I couldn' t put this book down. ' Weike Wang, PEN/Hemingway-award winning author of Chemistry
In deadpan prose that belies the wackiness of Hollywood and Broadway, Silverman stages a blistering story about the costs of creating art. * Oprah Magazine: 32 LGBTQ Books That Will Change The Literary Landscape in 2021 * Witty. . . Earnest. . . Laugh-out-loud. . . Pitch-perfect * New York Times * This is a book where the questions are the answers, a story of possibility that challenged and expanded the way I think about redemption. Warm in its humanity and cool in its persistent subversion of narrative expectations, it' s a sharp and modern first novel. I loved it. * Maggie Shipstead, New York Times-bestselling author of Seating Arrangements * The multi-talented Jen Silverman knows what she' s doing on the page. Funny, sharp, modern - this is an excellent debut novel. Its bold, edgy, strange heroine has adventures and misadventures, screws up again and again, but somehow won my love. I couldn' t put this book down. * Weike Wang, PEN/Hemingway-award winning author of Chemistry * A fiercely smart and wildly entertaining exploration of artistic ambition, and what happens when the hunger for fame infects an artist' s desire to create something true. A uniquely potent take on female rage and competition that also gorgeously evokes the challenge of developing an authentic self when everything we do can be exploited as content. I loved this book and couldn' t put it down. * Julie Buntin, author of Marlena * Silverman employs Cass' wry, deeply felt, often self-deprecating voice to tell this beautifully realized novel about choice, ambition, and revelation, with a nod to feminism in the context of the film and its monstrous director, Caroline. All of Silverman' s characters are memorable as they drive the carefully plotted, thought-provoking story. Happily, unlike Cass' failed play, this memorable novel deserves a standing ovation. * Booklist (starred review) * A playwright' s public shame and jealousy traps her in self-doubt in this mordant debut novel. . . Cass' s dark humor and acts of self-sabotage keep the reader engaged. Silverman' s genuine, stirring novel speaks volumes about the lure and fickleness of fame. * Publisher' s Weekly * The quiet meditations on the precariousness and ever changing nature of success, ambition, and artwork are the novel' s greatest strength. A resonant and thoughtful novel. * Kirkus Reviews * A novel about what it might really mean to be an art monster. Or at least a monster who makes art. * LitHub *
Jen Silverman is a New York-based writer and playwright. She is the author of the story collection The Island Dwellers (2018). Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Gettysburg Review, and The Baffler, among others. Her plays include Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties, which was at the Southwark Playhouse, and The Moors, The Roommate, and Witch. We Play Ourselves is her debut novel. www. jensilverman. com