Profoundly moving, filled with tenderness, and brought to life by a curious, sprawling imagination, Drowning Practice is the story of a mother and daughter trying to save each other’s lives at what could be the end of the world
One night, everyone on Earth has the same dream—a dream of being guided to a watery death by a loved one on November 1. When they wake up, most people agree: after Halloween, the world will end.
In the wake of this haunting dream and saddled with its uncertainty, Lyd and her daughter, Mott, navigate a changed world, wrestling with how to make choices when you really don’t know what comes next. Embarking on a quixotic road trip filled with a collection of unexpected and memorable characters, Lyd and Mott are determined to live out what could be their final months as fully as possible. But how can Lyd protect Mott and help her achieve her ambitions in a world where inhibitions, desires, and motivations have become unpredictable, and where Mott’s dangerous and conniving father has his own ideas about how his estranged family should spend their last days?
Formally inventive and hauntingly strange, Drowning Practice signals the arrival of a singular new voice in Mike Meginnis, who writes with generosity and precision, humor and sorrowfulness. Stirring and surprising at every turn, Drowning Practice is literary speculative fiction at its best and with a pulsing heart: a mother and daughter trying to decide how they should live out what might be the final months of their—or anyone’s—life on Earth.
Mike Meginnis is the author of Fat Man and Little Boy. His fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories 2012, Unstuck, The Collagist, PANK, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and many other outlets. He lives and works in Iowa City.
“In a literary landscape littered with post-apocalyptic novels, Meginnis has created something distinctive.” — Washington Post
"Meginnis engagingly finds ways to bring Mott and Lyd real happiness while avoiding clichés or tired, easy answers...Twisty and moving, this is an apocalypse novel that will keep readers guessing till the last page." — Kirkus Reviews
“Drowning Practice is the best new novel I’ve read in ages. Its heroines Mott and Lyd are surprising and compelling, a daughter and mother not merely surviving the end of their world but determined to make something new before it comes. So many apocalypses diminish the world, robbing it of its glories: here Mike Meginnis sets out to restore its wonder. In doing so, he’s gifted us a novel of haunting grace and deep, difficult love, a story I don’t believe I’ll ever forget.” — Matt Bell, author of Appleseed
“This dreamlike novel reinvents the apocalypse to explore the moral ambiguities of family love, social convention, and the creative imagination. It’s scary and funny and completely surprising. With Drowning Practice, Mike Meginnis has given us a startling and moving meditation on a world forever roiled by and in recovery from catastrophe—that is to say, a world much like ours.” — J. Robert Lennon, author of Subdivision
“Drowning Practice is a book about a dream, and it reads like a dream too: melancholy and luminous, looping and discursive, resistant to easy interpretation…mesmerizing…like a dream, it follows its own logic, and like many dreams, it has stayed with me in the waking hours since I emerged.” — New York Times