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Publisher's Summary

2022 L.A. Times Book Prize

2021 Amazon.com Best Books of the Year

2021 Time Magazine Best Books of the Year

2021 Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year

2021 NYPL Best Books of the Year

2021 NPR Best Book of the Year

2021 Hudson Booksellers Best of the Year

"Narrator Karen Chilton gives a riveting performance in this genre-defying masterpiece.... The echoes of Chilton's haunting and beautiful narration will reverberate long after this powerful audiobook is over." (AudioFile magazine)

A triumphant, genre-bending breakout novel from one of the boldest new voices in contemporary fiction

Vern - seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised - flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world.

But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.

To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future - outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.

Rivers Solomon’s Sorrowland is a genre-bending work of Gothic fiction. Here, monsters aren’t just individuals, but entire nations. It is a searing, seminal book that marks the arrival of a bold, unignorable voice in American fiction.

A Macmillan Audio production from MCD

©2021 Rivers Solomon (P)2021 Macmillan Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+

What listeners say about Sorrowland

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This Book Was Written For Me

this book is soooo up my alley as a black queer disabled person. I have never read anything that so fully expressed my frustration and resentment towards the evils of this country. Sorrowland accepts our grim reality but also provides some hope and possibility. and the story covers so much more than just black trauma. it acknowledges it and writes through it without dwelling on it. It was a VERY good and well written story with great representation. I hope to read more by Rivers Solomon in the future.

19 people found this helpful

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A weird one.

This one was weird. Definitely a genre bender. Part sci-fi, part romance, part fantasy? If you are offended by homosexuality (I am not) I wouldn’t recommend this book for you. It had moments of beautiful writing and moments where it felt like a YA novel. I think the narrator could have been part of that problem. Often it sounded like a librarian reading a textbook. It was certainly original, but I don’t know that I would be in a hurry to read another book by this author. I waited for months for this one to come out because it sounded so good but I was left feeling just meh…

12 people found this helpful

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The Village has Miranda, Sorrowland has Vern

I’m not usually one for trigger warnings but this story definitely warrants it. The act of self harm is discussed liberally and often in this book in an ‘appealing’ way that could trigger those who have engaged in self harm to start doing it again. The main character enjoys pain and conflict, whether it is self induced or caused by other people, and she actively searches it out as a form of release.

Sorrowland feels more like a commentary on mental illness than a horror or science fiction story. If it’s three things River Solomon does well, it’s sculpting characters that are deeply compelling, building worlds firmly set in science or the-possible, and then creating endings that negate it all. If you have played or know the plot of the video game Resident Evil Village, then you are keenly aware of where the story is going. The plots mirror each other, creating a chicken or the egg effect, leaving the reader to guess at who came up with the idea first. Needless to say, Vern is Sorrowland’s Mother Miranda.

6 people found this helpful

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Very Interesting & VERY Speculative

Firstly, all the people with trigger warnings about self-harm are right. It's not glorified or anything like that, but it is there.

The story itself is pretty neat; it's a good way of combining institutional racism with government conspiracy. The institutions are everywhere.

It all comes down to the characters, and this is where the writing and the performance come together. The amount of pathos generated by the story is palpable; and the way it's read really seals the deal.

1 person found this helpful

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  • K
  • 05-22-21

Another great book by Rivers Solomon

Wonderfully original. Extremely entertaining, with wonderful world-building and fully-realized characters. This is one of those books I’ll always come back to!

1 person found this helpful

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Superb and Unique

Despite the name, this is one of the more hopeful works I have encountered in a long time. In a genre where piling up the bodies of those that have wronged you is the rule, this book is a study in how we heal instead.

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Just Can't Finish

Honestly, I have really tried with this book. Generally , I love stories with this level of unknown, but I cannot become invested in these characters. There are just over two hours left until the finish, and I am assuming the 'grande dénouement', but I simply cannot make myself listen anymore. Shadowland was a dud for me.

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A bit predictable, and mostly derivative

Once you get over the initial curiosity of lesbianism, the story gets a bit plodding, and derivative of others - most egregiously of The Girl With All The Gifts.

And in the end the main character goes in to God mode a la Neo from The Matrix!

2/5 overall.

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AMAZING! listen to this book you wont regret it!

A very talented narrator brought the beautiful prose raging to life in a furious and glorious expression of Vern (the main character).

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Fantastic

This book is fire. Cults, Government plots, rebellion, and liberation. All you need for a superficially good time. And if you want more than surface level goodness, this book runs deep with the trauma of being marginalized in the USA.