When environmental disaster strikes, binaries and certainties dissolve as members of two virtual reading groups reshape their lives, romances, and reality itself.
In the latest novel from Anna Moschovakis, two reading groups, Love and Anti-Love, convene digitally amidst political upheaval and undefined environmental catastrophe. Participation offers a prescient look at remote communication in a time of rupture: anonymous participants exchange fantasies and ruminations, and relationships develop and unravel. As the groups consider—or neglect—the syllabi, and connections between members deepen, a mentor in mediation disappears, a colleague known as “the capitalist” becomes a point of fixation, and “The News Reports” filter through in fragments. With incisive prose and surprising structural shifts, Participation forms an alluring vision of community, and a love story like no other.
Praise for Participation:
“Participation is thoughtful, intelligent, funny, and the most radically inventive novel I’ve read in a long time. Language is alive here and Moschovakis plays with its possibilities and pokes at its limitations. I was continually surprised and endlessly delighted.“ —Aimee Wall, author of We, Jane
“Anna Moschovakis writes: ‘In the best cases, when you read something, you feel like you’ve known it forever. In the best cases, you feel like it read you first.’ And in this tale of two reading groups, the loyalties, confusions and interrelations of thought, love, and wondering how to live in such drastic times come into layer after layer of striking focus. I never knew where it would go next—which for me is the highest of praise—and I was never less than intellectually and emotionally delighted as I was pulled along for the ride. I felt like it read me first. And I was grateful for the experience.” —Jacob Wren, author of Rich and Poor
“Anna Moschovakis’s narrator has been busy: boning up on the discourse of Love and Anti-Love; performing affective labour in the food service, mediation, and information industries; tugging gently at the nipple rings of a handsome capitalist; eating shrooms; exchanging cagey messages with a comrade whose gender remains tantalizingly suspended. Pronouns slip, and so do you, seduced in your turn by her direct address. Participation is a mysterious and sexy dive into the place where lust, altruism, and friendship converge.” —Barbara Browning, author of The Gift
“Participation is radically imagined and radically felt: a self-reflexive, intellectual, formally inventive novel that is also highly engaging and very funny. Anna Moschovakis is a brilliant and singular writer with a terrific feel for this cultural moment.” —Dana Spiotta, author of Wayward
“Anna Moschovakis’s new novel Participation is a story of seeking an internal world that is very much grounded in the real world. It’s a story of love and anti-love, of coherence and cohesion, of fate and free will, of pain and pleasure, of loss and love. Moschovakis takes us on an exploration of ‘soft psychology’ alongside ‘hard politics,’ ‘soft feeling’ alongside ‘hard ideology,’ and invites us to orient and re-orient ourselves towards our ‘comings-apart’ and ‘comings-together.’ I hope you accept her invitation.” —Poupeh Missaghi, author of trans(re)lating house one
“Moschovakis brings her fierce intelligence to bear in the structurally surprising and impeccably executed narrative. This is formal innovation at its finest.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Anna Moschovakis is the author of the novel Eleanor, or, The Rejection of the Progress of Love and of three books of poetry, most recently They and We Will Get Into Trouble for This. Her translation of David Diop’s At Night All Blood Is Black (Frêre d’âme) was awarded the 2020 International Booker Prize. Raised in Los Angeles, she has lived in New York since 1993 and currently makes her home in the Western Catskills.