Innocents and Others


An excerpt in the New Yorker can be read here.

*Winner of The St. Francis College Literary Prize 2017*
*Finalist for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize 2017*
*A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Pick 2016*

“A daring and beautiful meditation about selfishness and selflessness, and how to be in the world. A powerful book that will stay with me and continue to speak to me for a long time. Spiotta is a wonder.”
–George Saunders, author of Tenth of December

“Dana Spiotta is one of my favorite living writers and in this wondrous and mysterious novel, a spectacular and subtle meditation on sight and sound, she seems almost to channel Jean-Luc Godard: Innocents and Others, like classic JLG, is brilliant, and erotic, and pop.”
—Rachel Kushner, author of The Flamethrowers and Telex from Cuba

“Dana Spiotta’s new book is a literary marvel that employs the dominant medium of our time to rout out both the impulse to make worlds alternate to the one we occupy and the darkest spots in the human heart…Spiotta is emerging as perhaps the major contender for fiction’s next generation. Her aim is nothing less than redemption, and she delivers.”
—Mary Karr, author of The Liar’s Club and Lit

“This is such a fine novel. Stone Arabia, Spiotta’s last book, was a complete thrill. With Innocents and Others she offers even deeper, more crushing insights into the life of the artist: the compromises, the blind will, the personal costs and moral despair. And the heartbreaking friendship at the center of it all! What unfolds is simply flawless and epic.”
—Joshua Ferris, author of To Rise Again At A Decent Hour

“The brilliant Dana Spiotta had me from page one of Innocents and Others–a lithely intelligent, moving inquiry into the mysterious compositions of art and friendships.”
—Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins

Innocents and Others is one of those uncanny novels whose characters and ideas linger long after the story is over. In the end, Spiotta’s portrayal of artistic ideal- ism and ambition is unexpectedly moving. As Meadow would say, what a mystery, the way things act on us.”
—Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air

“The year’s best literary novel so far . . . a kind of intellectual page-turner: her searing intelligence carries you swiftly through to the end.”
—Michelle Dean, The Guardian

“Brilliant . . . immensely clever . . . while the novel’s form is promiscuous, its moral dimensions feel vast. Once Spiotta has her disparate storylines in motion, they resonate with each other in ways you can’t stop thinking about. . . . Toward the end, Meadow considers how to create a ‘glimpse of the sublime.’ Considering the limits of her medium, she asks herself, ‘Can an image convey something unname- able, impossible, invisible?’ The quiet miracle of this novel is that it does just that.”
—Ron Charles, The Washington Post

“Riveting…Dana Spiotta’s Innocents and Others is a wonderfully obsessive novel about friends, filmmakers, and frauds….”
—Brock Clarke, The Boston Globe

“Spiotta’s dramatization of the Meadow-Carrie dyad is masterly, with lines that seem delivered—improvised—by women who’ve known each other and even the reader forever . . . . Highbrow and lowbrow have cohabitated before, of course, but rarely with this ease or this empathy. Spiotta—like Didion, DeLillo, Nicholson Baker, and Bret Easton Ellis—understands that the interaction between her art form and the popular isn’t an agony but an amity: a peopled life.”
—Joshua Cohen, The New York Times Book Review

“A thrillingly complex and emotionally astute novel about fame, power, and alienation steeped in a dark eroticism.”
—Elissa Schappell, Vanity Fair

“Radiant, concentrated . . . a compassionate, unsparing book, full of provocative ideas about art, ethics, and the formation of sensibility . . . simultaneously vast and local, exploring great American themes (self-invention, historical amnesia) within idiosyncratic worlds (phone phreaks, ’80s Los Angeles adolescence).”
—Susan Burton, The New York Times Magazine

“The need to connect, the desire for intimacy and friendship, and the quest for meaning in our lives are at the heart of this complex and compelling book. . . . It’s difficult not to descend into hyperbole talking about Spiotta’s work. She writes with a breezy precision and genuine wit that put her on a short-list of brilliant North American novelists who deserve a much wider audience.”
—Mark Haskell Smith, Los Angeles Times

“A brilliant novel about female friendship, the limits of love and work, and costs of claiming your right to celebrate your triumphs and own your mistakes . . . original and seductive . . . the visionary liberty and daring with which Dana Spiotta has crafted her brilliant new novel is both inspirational and infectious.”
—Lisa Shea, Elle

“Dana Spiotta’s writing is a perfect mix of addictively weird characters, slightly skewed history, and art within art . . . Innocents and Others will have you forgetting that the bath has grown cold as you read long into the night.”
—Lena Dunham, Lenny Letter

Innocents and Others is a confrontation with the blessings and curses of the body, the pleasures and costs of fantasy, the impossibility of either total truth or total fiction. It is a work of acute cultural intelligence and moral imagination. . . . The more time you spend with it, the more slippery, original, and uncanny it reveals itself to be. . . . There aren’t five other living American authors as meticulous and shrewd as Dana Spiotta, as willing (to say nothing of able) to shape true esotericism into such consistently accessible forms.”
—Justin Taylor, Bookforum

“Dana Spiotta’s fearless, ambitious new novel is the fourth in a remarkable series of deep dives into our culture’s obsession with fame and technological change. . . . Innocents and Others emphasizes the fragility of human connection in a world saturated with media and digital illusion. . . . Spiotta has been compared to Joan Didion and Don DeLillo, but as her work accumulates, it’s clear she’s one of a kind, on her singular path through our contemporary wilderness.”
—Jane Ciabattari, NPR

“In Dana Spiotta’s dazzling new novel, Innocents and Others, movies play a star- ring role. But they are just one form of storytelling examined in this smart and fascinating book, a hall of mirrors full of shifting identities so intriguing it’s hard to look away. . . .”
—Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times

“If film, or the telephone, is mediated, then so too are our deepest relationships, the bridges that we build between us, by which we find a fleeting sort of grace. Yes, Innocents and Others suggests, we may never truly see each other; it is impossible to remove ourselves, our interpretations and our judgments, as the lens through which we read the world.”
—David Ulin, Barnes and Noble Review

“Given the sureness and lucidity of Spiotta’s prose and her agile juxtaposition of themes and relationships, I steadily became swept into fractured stories. . . . There are many ways to look at Spiotta’s new novel, like a well-cut diamond turned toward a source of soft illumination, each rotation catching a different set of prismatic refractions of secrets, wants, and transformations. . . . It’s certain that Spiotta’s audience will keep growing with this stunning novel.
—S. Kirk Walsh, San Francisco Chronicle

Innocents and Others is Spiotta’s strangest, darkest, and most mature work.”
—Christian Lorentzen, New York Magazine

“Extraordinary . . . amusing and astute . . . The dividing line between artist and con artist, in Innocents and Others, is a thin and wavering one indeed. But there is no line at all between mind and heart; the pain and hope each of Spiotta’s charac- ters feels matters as much as Meadow’s relentless hunt for authenticity in a medi- ated world. . . . They can’t, in fact, be separated; every thought ever thought has risen out of a human being capable of loneliness, desire, suffering, and laughter. Why settle for a novel of ideas that offers anything less?”
—Laura Miller, Slate

“Brilliant . . . masterly . . . Recalling the recent past has a way of exposing present-day anxieties: Who, in these Insta-times, hasn’t dabbled in a little self-invention? . . . At the same time, she nails a devastating irony: The more reachable we are, the more screens infiltrate our lives, the less there is that genuinely connects us.”
—Megan O’Grady, Vogue

“Expansive . . . Spiotta’s omniscient intelligence is employed in layering ironies and superimposing themes of memory, identity, reality, and representation while building toward the two women’s inevitable convergence. . . . We can edit ver- sions of ourselves forever, Innocents and Others suggests, but there is no super cut that can erase the pain we cause.”
—Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

“Brilliant . . . captivating . . . sublime . . . When it comes to ideas, Spiotta has always operated on an astounding number of levels at once. . . . She can juggle metaphors and inquiries large and small without ever neglecting her characters or losing narrative momentum. . . . She produces some of the greatest arts criti- cism I’ve ever read, filtered through the characters’ consciousnesses. ”
—Judy Berman, Flavorwire