A moving and darkly comic debut novel about an anxious young woman who administers a self-made “placebo” treatment in a last-ditch attempt to rebuild her life
Amy Harney has a job as a chambermaid for the summer, but on August 25, she will take the exam to become an EMT (third time’s the charm!) and finally move on with her life. In the meantime, she doesn’t mind scrubbing toilets immaculately clean or tucking the sheet corners just so. In fact, she tells herself that her work is a noble act of service to the rich guests at the yacht club.
Amy’s profound isolation colors everything: her job, her aspirations, even her interactions with the woman at the deli counter. And as the date for the EMT exam comes closer, Amy’s anxiety ratchets up in a way that is both familiar and troubling. In desperation, she concocts a “placebo” program—a self-prescribed regimen for her confidence, devised to trick herself into succeeding.
When her landlord, Gary, starts to invite her over for dinner—to practice his cooking skills as he awaits approval of his Ukrainian fiancé’s visa—Amy makes her first friend since her mother’s passing. Alongside this unexpected connection comes a surge of hopeful obsession that Amy knows she must reckon with before the summer’s end.
Tender and laugh-out-loud funny, Nobody, Somebody, Anybody explores the shadowy corners of a young woman’s inner world of grief, delusion, and self-loathing, revealing the creeping loneliness of modern life and our endless search for connection. Kelly McClorey captures the hilarity and heartbreak of American ambition.
Kelly McClorey is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Montana. She lives in Massachusetts.