Open Throat: A Novel (Hardcover)
"Open Throat is a blinding spotlight beam of a book that I was completely unable and unwilling to put down." —Catherine Lacey. "My favorite book of this century so far." —Andrea Lawlor. "A fantastical, deeply moving, and original adventure." —Brontez Purnell
A lonely, lovable, queer mountain lion narrates this star-making fever dream of a novel.
A queer and dangerously hungry mountain lion lives in the drought-devastated land under the Hollywood sign. Lonely and fascinated by humanity’s foibles, the lion spends their days protecting the welfare of a nearby homeless encampment, observing obnoxious hikers complain about their trauma, and, in quiet moments, grappling with the complexities of their gender identity, memories of a vicious father, and the indignities of sentience. “I have so much language in my brain,” our lion says, “and nowhere to put it.”
When a man-made fire engulfs the encampment, the lion is forced from the hills down into the city the hikers call “ellay.” As the lion confronts a carousel of temptations and threats, they take us on a tour that spans the cruel inequalities of Los Angeles and the toll of climate grief, while scrambling to avoid earthquakes, floods, and the noise of their own conflicted psyche. But even when salvation finally seems within reach, they are forced to face down the ultimate question: Do they want to eat a person, or become one?
In elegiac prose woven with humor, imagination, sensuality, and tragedy, Henry Hoke’s Open Throat is a marvel of storytelling, a universal journey through a wondrous and menacing world told by a lovable mountain lion. Both feral and vulnerable, profound and playful, Open Throat is a star-making novel that brings mythmaking to real life.
About the Author
Henry Hoke is an editor at The Offing and a writer whose work has appeared in No Tokens, Triangle House, Electric Literature, and the flash noir anthology Tiny Crimes. He co-created the performance series Enter>text in Los Angeles, and has taught at CalArts and the UVA Young Writers Workshop. He lives in New York City.
"One of the most unique novels I've read in years . . . I didn't know I would feel such attachment to a mountain lion when I started reading, but in Henry Hoke's talented hands, they become an instantly memorable and endearing protagonist." —David Vogel, Buzzfeed
"I defy you to hear the premise of this sophomore novel from the always-interesting Henry Hoke and not immediately smash that preorder button . . . a playful, poignant, tragicomic delight." —Lit Hub
"Open Throat is a blinding spotlight beam of a book that I was completely unable and unwilling to put down. I am not convinced Henry Hoke isn’t a mountain lion." —Catherine Lacey, author of Pew
"My favorite book of this century so far! I keep putting off writing this blurb because every time I pick up Open Throat I re-read it and fall back in love with this gay-ass big cat and then I have to spend the whole rest of the day thinking about mountain lions and humans and sex and bodies and death and climate change and bad dads and NY v. LA and what is even possible in this world. Henry Hoke is a magician." —Andrea Lawlor, author of Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl
"Open Throat feels like a comic book and a really good one; it feels the inside of animals, specifically one animal, a mountain lion, and with them we desire blood and I can’t tell you how it ends but I love knowing a mountain lion so much. The beauty and tragedy of all of nature is in this character. Open Throat is a fierce writing act. Henry Hoke makes it true." —Eileen Myles, author of For Now
"Open Throat is an instant cult classic and a bloody masterpiece. Rhythmically brilliant, heart-wounding, and scathingly funny, I’m in love with a mountain lion and in awe of this book." —Melissa Broder, author of Milk Fed
"In this fantastical, deeply moving, and original adventure--also an unforgettable reckoning with contemporary Los Angeles--Henry Hoke introduces an animal whose life is more than just survival: they are full of longing, regret, memory, sadness, and astute observation. At the core of Open Throat sits a very precious and perishable lesson: survival is not our only job in life." —Brontez Purnell, author of 100 Boyfriends
"Henry Hoke’s narrator is the most credible animal witness to human behavior since Robert Bresson’s Balthazar. Original, fun and completely awakening, Open Throat is a devastating portrait of LA today." —Chris Kraus, author of Social Practices
"Wholly original, inventive, and surprising on every level. Open Throat affirms the capaciousness of the novel as a form. I wish more books took the kinds of chances Open Throat does." —Diane Cook, author of The New Wilderness