IT’S NOT NOTHING
out now from SFWP.
Rosemary Candwell’s past has exploded into her present. Down- and-out and deteriorating, she drifts from anonymous beds and bars in Providence, to a homeless shelter hidden among the hedge-
rowed avenues of Newport, and through the revolving door of service jobs and quick-fix psychiatric care, always grasping for hope, for a solution. She’s desperate to readjust back into a family and a world that has deemed her a crazy bitch living a choice they believe she could simply un-choose at any time.
She endures flashbacks and panic attacks, migraines and nightmares. She can’t sleep or she sleeps for days; she lashes out at anyone and everyone, especially herself. She abuses over-the-counter cold medicine and guzzles down anything caffeinated just to feel less alone.
What if her family is right? What if she is truly broken beyond repair?
Drawn from the author’s experience of homelessness and recovery, It’s Not Nothing is a collage of small moments, biting jokes, intrusive memories, and quiet epiphanies meant to reveal a greater truth: Resilience never looks the way we expect it to look.
IT’S NOT NOTHING
“This is an extraordinary debut from a wildly talented author. Denelle's prose is a marvel of precision. Flashes of unexpected humor light up the darkness, and the arc of her novel is deeply moving.”
- Emily St. John Mandel,
author of STATION ELEVEN
and SEA OF TRANQUILITY
"IT’S NOT NOTHING is more than a book. It’s an act of survival, and in its creation, proof positive that art not only matters, but can be a profound part of becoming whole. In this debut, Courtney Denelle writes like her life depends on it, and I believe her."
— Rachel Yoder,
author of NIGHT BITCH
"Every generation or so a book like this comes around and says: here it is, this is my soul, this is what it is like here on the edge. This novel is the most honest lie, it is a primal scream coming from the depths of the chasm. Courtney Denelle lets fly with arias of language, and it quickly becomes apparent that her love of language is a manifestation, it is her love of life itself. IT’S NOT NOTHING is way more than nothing. This novel, and its author, are quite something."
- Charles Bock,
New York Times bestselling author of BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN
and ALICE & OLIVER
“Denelle creates her own niche in the genre of women’s psychological fiction [and] helps pave the way for mental-health fiction writers who crave a written structure that speaks to the reality of their experience."
- The Millions
“Vulnerable, spiky, and full of black humor, IT’S NOT NOTHING is a stunningly beautiful study of the fractured self. Our adroit narrator Rosemary is not as irredeemable as she suspects—she’s struggling, but she’s also charming and resilient, fighting and poised (in her way) for a brighter, bolder life. Courtney Denelle’s prose is whip smart, pressurized, and compressed—a new and wholly unique voice that seems to share lineage with some of my absolute favorites (Hempel, Robison, and Gaitskill come to mind). This debut knocked the wind out of me.”
— Kimberly King Parsons,
author of BLACK LIGHT,
longlisted for the National Book Award
“IT’S NOT NOTHING is a Psalter. Its exquisite prose animates the lamentation-celebration that saturates the complicated experience of having a heart and a body. The revelations tucked into the details of this story hum through a plurality of intensities: to be sure, this is also a story about writing. Courtney Denelle is up to incredible things. I’d follow her voice anywhere.”
- Selah Saterstrom,
author of IDEAL SUGGESTIONS
IT’S NOT NOTHING introduces us to a dazzling, irreverent, assured voice that brings to life those invisibled by the ravages of our modern, indifferent world. With prismatic sensibility, Courtney Denelle’s stunning debut collages the delirium of daily survival in sparse, vivid prose, often veering into realms of poetry.”
- Su Hwang,
author of BODEGA
“Hard-bitten poetry… A brutal, honest book. Denelle never once shies away from inherent contradictions nor fails to embrace commensurate possibilities.”
- Max Winter,
author of EXES