From an award-winning writer whose work Roxane Gay calls “utterly unique and remarkable” comes a surreal novel about a woman in Silicon Valley who must decide how much she’s willing to give up for success—for fans of My Year of Rest and Relaxation and Her Body and Other Parties.
A year into her dream job at a cutthroat Silicon Valley start-up, Cassie finds herself trapped in a corporate nightmare. Between the long hours, toxic bosses, and unethical projects, she also struggles to reconcile the glittering promise of a city where obscene wealth lives alongside abject poverty and suffering. Ivy League grads complain about the snack selection from a conference room with a view of unhoused people bathing in the bay. Start-up burnouts leap into the paths of commuter trains, and men literally set themselves on fire in the streets.
Though isolated, Cassie is never alone. From her earliest memory, a miniature black hole has been her constant companion. It feeds on her depression and anxiety, growing or shrinking in relation to her distress. The black hole watches, but it also waits. Its relentless pull draws Cassie ever closer as the world around her unravels.
When she ends up unexpectedly pregnant at the same time her CEO’s demands cross into illegal territory, Cassie must decide whether the tempting fruits of Silicon Valley are really worth it. Sharp but vulnerable, unsettling yet darkly comic, Ripeportrays one millennial woman’s journey through our late-capitalist hellscape and offers a brilliantly incisive look at the absurdities of modern life.
About the Author
Sarah Rose Etter is the author of the chapbook Tongue Party and The Book of X, winner of a Shirley Jackson Award for best novel. Her work has appeared in Time, Guernica, BOMB, the Bennington Review, The Cut, VICE, and elsewhere. She has been awarded residences at the Jack Kerouac House, the Disquiet International program in Portugal, and the Gullkistan in Iceland. She earned her BA in English from Pennsylvania State University and her MFA in fiction from Rosemont College. She lives in Los Angeles. For more info, visit SarahRoseEtter.com.
"Ripe has a dark, delicious edge." —TIME
"An explosive narrative of a woman coming undone as the world burns. . . . A deliciously bitter irony pervades. . . . A scathing look at corporate greed and its many dire consequences, this is deeply felt and cathartic.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A lurid, tense, and compelling novel. . . . Etter builds a lush and decaying landscape around a woman with an impossible affliction." —Kirkus (starred review)
“Sarah Rose Etter’s Ripe begins with an evisceration of contemporary San Francisco, laid to waste by the tech industry. . . . [A] surreal book.” —Bustle, Most Anticipated Books of Spring & Summer 2023
"A tremendous story . . . Etter treads a fine line between gothic horror and dystopian fiction, snaring Cassie somewhere between our own lived reality and an uncanny, colorless future that is closer than it may seem. . . . Etter is at her best when carving firm lines around this anguish, a relentless haunting that articulates the pure horror of having a body and licensing others to own it." —The Sewanee Review
"[Ripe] manages to skewer workplace politics and the vacuousness of modern existence in a way that makes it feel like a fresh subject. . . . Etter captures the cruel facts of San Francisco well: the dystopia that that eden-like setting has turned into." —LitHub
“[A] sharp and unsettling look into capitalist modern life.” —Brit + CO
"Who doesn’t love a spooky, scary, uncanny Silicon Valley story?" —Shondaland, Best Books to Read for Summer 2023
"Author of cult classic The Book of X, Sarah Rose Etter, comes back with another slightly twisted tale." —Her Campus, Most Anticipated Books of 2023
"Sarah Rose Etter is a wonder, and this novel is a knife to the heart." —Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties
"Ripe is exactly the kind of book I want to read: astoundingly bold, terrifically haunting, and deeply human. Etter refuses to pull any punches here, asking us to look directly at the nightmares we sometimes agree to live with in exchange for comfort and security. Reading this book felt like pressing repeatedly on a bruise; the most pleasurable kind of pain. Ripe is a dazzlingly gorgeous novel and Sarah Rose Etter is truly one hell of a writer." —Kristen Arnett, New York Times bestselling author of Mostly Dead Things
“HOLY SHIT, this book wrecked me!” —Samantha Irby, New York Times bestselling author of Wow, No Thank You.
"Sarah Rose Etter's Ripe has the most exquisitely described dread I've read in ages. I couldn't put this book down. Totally haunting and propulsive." —Halle Butler, author of The New Me
“I was sucked into this novel like a black hole. Ripe is brilliant—a distinctive, sharp, engrossing window into late-stage capitalism. My face melted into this book.” —Emily Austin, author of Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead
"Sarah Rose Etter is electric on everything from tech culture’s toxic absurdities to bone-deep loneliness to the science of black holes. Ripe is a harrowing and mordantly hilarious send-up of the horrors of late-stage capitalism, and a potent meditation on the search for meaning in a broken world.” —Laura van den Berg, author of The Third Hotel
“Ripe is a triumph—blade-sharp and unflinching. It walks a darkly gorgeous tightrope between the bitter and beautiful with skill that takes your breath away.” —Sophie Mackintosh, author of The Water Cure
"Pascal reportedly had an 'abyss,' the sense of a precipice yawning on his left-hand side. Cassie, a lexophile marketing writer at a hustle-culture startup, has a similar affliction—or is it a gift? Ripe is enveloping, a bleakly funny surrealist/realist tale of everyday corruption and panic, and what to do when the void winks at you." —Elisa Gabbert, author of The Unreality of Memory
"Freaky and fresh, Ripe is a brilliant creature of a book. It is visceral and alive, pumping with blood and juice. A beautiful tangle of wit and tenderness." —Ella Baxter, author of New Animal