In Tongues: A Novel (Hardcover)

In Tongues: A Novel By Thomas Grattan Cover Image
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"Thomas Grattan is a master of plot—that rare ability—which makes In Tongues a real roller coaster: funny, sad, shocking, and, finally, quite moving." —Andrew Holleran, author of Dancer from the Dance

A young gay man upends the lives of a powerful art-world couple in this steamy novel of self-discovery.

It’s 2001, and twenty-four-year-old Gordon—handsome, sensitive, and eager for direction—takes a bus from Minnesota to New York City because it’s the only place for a young gay man to go. As he begins to settle into the city’s punishing rhythm, he gets a job walking rich Manhattanites’ dogs. But it isn’t until he stumbles into the West Village brownstone of two of his clients, the powerful gallery owners Phillip and Nicola, that Gordon learns how much the world has hidden from him—and what he’s capable of doing in order to get it for himself.

A lush, heart-quickening novel about family and art, sex and class, and the terror of self-discovery, Thomas Grattan’s In Tongues chronicles Gordon’s perilous pursuit of belonging from the Midwest to New York and, later, to Europe and Mexico City. As he floats further into Phillip and Nicola’s exclusive universe, and as lines blur between employee, muse, lover, and mentor, Gordon’s charm, manipulation, and growing ambition begin to escape his own control, in turn threatening to unravel the lives, and lies, of those around him.

Anchored by winsome lyricism, glinting intellect, and a main character whose yearnings and mistakes come to feel like our own, In Tongues crackles with fierce longing and pointed emotion, further confirming Grattan as a rare chronicler of young adulthood’s joys and devastations.

About the Author

Thomas Grattan is the author of the novel The Recent East, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, longlisted for the 2021 PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel, and named a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. His writing has appeared in several publications, including The New York Times Book Review, One Story, Slice, and The Colorado Review. He has an MFA in Fiction Writing from Brooklyn College and has taught middle school English for more than a decade. He lives in upstate New York.

Praise For…

"One of the funniest novels in recent memory . . . Grattan’s novel is probably the most entertaining—not to mention cleverest—depiction of the art world (fiction or nonfiction) in quite some time, even if it never directly addresses the art world at all. The rare book that you’ll force yourself to put down just so you can savor it, this will quickly become required reading for New Yorkers and anyone who aspires to become one." —James Tarmy, Bloomberg

"In this fine, affecting novel, Grattan's subtle, true portrayals and sharp dialogue make a highly enjoyable read even more so." —Annie Bostrom, Booklist (starred review)

"Affecting . . . [Gordon] has a memorable voice: funny, dark, and eventually chastened. The novel builds on the self-involved, sometimes cruel protagonists of Edmund White’s early work, though Gordon learns to rein himself in instead of committing more mayhem. This story of a miscreant who grows up will stick with you long after the last page." Kirkus (starred review)

"[An] impressive sophomore novel . . . In the author’s skilled hands, Gordon’s bad judgment and sentimental education make for terrific reading." Publishers Weekly

"At first, In Tongues reads like a comedy of manners—a cute young man moves to Manhattan and takes a job as a dog walker/assistant to two older men from the art world. But then we watch the sexual, ethical, and monetary inequality turn dark. Thomas Grattan is a master of plot—that rare ability—which makes In Tongues a real roller coaster: funny, sad, shocking, and, finally, quite moving." —Andrew Holleran, author of Dancer from the Dance and The Kingdom of Sand

"Funny, touching, and authentic, In Tongues is about trying to survive in a declining society, a novel that should become the touchstone of a whole generation." —Edmund White

“Uncommonly vulnerable, In Tongues is a witty exposition of what ails all of us. Thomas Grattan does away with any false neutrality by detailing the raunchy violence of ambition. This is an excellent novel that sifts through the detritus of life and gives it vibrant meaning.” —Zain Khalid, author of Brother Alive

"In Tongues contains one of my favorite kinds of plots; the interlude that changed me forever. Thomas Grattan masterfully elucidates the life of an elegant hero--shattering friendships, sudden lovers, surprising moments of grace. Reading In Tongues felt like a deliciously banal and dangerous afternoon I never wanted to end. I love this beautiful, horny, honest, glamorous novel." —Marie-Helene Bertino, author of Beautyland

"Thomas Grattan has written a rare beauty of a novel, both thrillingly sexy and heartbreakingly human. His gift as a writer lies in his ability to reach deep into the messy flesh of his characters and extract all the awkward, barbed parts of them that make them feel so alive. With In Tongues, Grattan brings fresh wit and insight to the beloved gay, New York, coming-of-age novel. If you don’t see yourself in these pages, good luck to you." —Christopher Bollen, author of The Lost Americans

Product Details
ISBN: 9780374608187
ISBN-10: 0374608180
Publisher: MCD
Publication Date: May 21st, 2024
Pages: 288
Language: English