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Nell Zink was born in 1964 in southern California and grew up in rural Virginia. She attended Stuart Hall School and the College of William and Mary, where she majored in philosophy. Rather late in life she got a doctorate in Media Studies from the University of Tübingen, Germany. She lives in Bad Belzig, south of Berlin. This is her first book.
* Publishers Weekly Starred Review * Kirkus Starred Review * NY Times 100 Notable Books of 2014 * Electric Literature’s Best 25 Novels of 2014 * Flavorwire’s Best Novels of 2014 * Dazed’s Best Book of the Year
“Nell Zink is a writer of extraordinary talent and range. Her work insistently raises the possibility that the world is larger and stranger than the world you think you know. You might not want to believe this, but her sentences and stories are so strong and convincing that you’ll have no choice. ”
“Who is Nell Zink? She claims to be an expatriate living in northeast Germany. Maybe she is; maybe she isn’t. I don’t know. I do know that this first novel arrives with a voice that is fully formed: mature, hilarious, terrifyingly intelligent, and wicked. The novel is about a bird-loving American couple that moves to Europe and becomes, basically, eco-terrorists. This is strange, and interesting, but in between is some writing about marriage, love, fidelity, Europe, and saving the earth that is as funny and as grown-up as anything I’ve read in years. And there are some jokes in here that a young Don DeLillo would kill to have written. I hope he doesn’t kill Nell Zink.” keith gessen
Excerpts from The Wallcreeper are available in n+1 and at Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading (where you can also learn how the book came to Dorothy). Read an interview with Nell at Vol. 1 Brooklyn, this micro-interview at the Paris Review, or a profile of Nell in The New Yorker.
“Nell Zink’s heady and rambunctious debut novel . . . moves at breakneck speed . . . Wake up, this book says: in its plot lines, in its humor, in its philosophical underpinnings and political agenda. I’ll pay it the highest compliment it knows — this book is a wild thing.” new york times sunday book review
“[A]n instrument of delight, an offering of kinship. Like its namesake, ‘The Wallcreeper’ is fleet, stealthy and beautiful. It’s a lifer indeed.” new york times
“Peppered with witty one-liners, Zink’s portrayal of a young American couple that moves to Europe is strange, hilarious, and utterly captivating.” harpers bazaar
“A hundred and ninety pages and zero chapter breaks, the book sounds like nothing you have ever read, and derives its bang from ideas you hadn’t thought to have.” “Outside In: Nell Zink’s Improbable Literary Fame,” the new yorker
“A brief yet masterful novel of epic breadth.” kirkus reviews, starred review
“Zink’s debut novel is a weird, funny, sad, and sharp story of growing up. . . . the introduction of an exciting new voice.” publishers weekly, pick of the week & starred review
“Nell Zink might be the best living writer you haven’t heard of yet, but prepare to hear her name a lot.” Emily Gould’s Favorite Books of 2014, papermag
“A strange, funny, super-engaging book.” bustle
“One of the most original voices I’ve recently read.” the nation
“Zink’s extremely strange and offbeat, but acclaimed The Wallcreeper heralded a year in which experimental, boundary-pushing writing by women reigned supreme.” “25 Women Who Drove the Culture in 2014,” flavorwire
“The Wallcreeper doesn’t so much creep as move at breakneck speed, pausing for almost nothing.” the los angeles review of books
“[A] dark wit that’s unique and worth reading.” huffington post
“The Wallcreeper is a book that everyone I know has been raving about.” “Best 25 Novels of 2014,” electric literature
“Like Joseph Heller, Renata Adler, Lorrie Moore, and Donald Antrim rolled into a super-fun ball and zanily caromed off the walls of the cell from which you, me, and Miranda July are watching the desecration of the planet (thinking the whole while, ‘I’m pretty sure there’s a better way’), Zink’s novel zips across the narrative horizon.” the daily beast
“A slim, strange masterpiece, and one of those alluring, elliptical, exceptional novels that I will want to keep rereading for the rest of my life.” the sunday times
“A manic, heartfelt, intellectual novel about an American couple living in Europe, The Wallcreeper is one of the best books of the year.” fiction advocate
“Zink’s language is mercilessly enjoyable. It can be cruel, parceling out its joy; it will sometimes cause audible laughter, only to cause this laughter to give way to physical disgust. But this is Zink’s way with difficulty, her ability to guide the reader through dangerous moral territory, with only the pleasure of her humor to keep the hamsters at bay.” full stop
“Zink begins with the familiar architecture of domestic realism—an unhappy, unfulfilled female protagonist and her troubled marriage—and promptly takes an axe to the reader’s expectations. Her writing is remarkably fresh, in every sense of the word: it is original, zeitgeisty, and delightfully irreverent.” the collagist
“Zink writes without restraint, and the result feels something like a trip through the best kind of haunted house, one where you have no idea what’s around the next bend, where you’re simultaneously laughing and cringing at the rapid fire of ghosts and goblins crossing your path.” numero cinq
“If I were to write fiction, I should hope that my description rang as sincerely and as lucidly as the often-bizarre, always-surprising, consistently genuine descriptions in Nell Zink’s prose.” asymptote
“It’s a major debut, one that proves its author is gifted, strangely and beguilingly, with no shortage of honesty and eloquence.” flavorwire
“The most exciting debut novel I’ve read recently is The Wallcreeper, Nell Zink’s mordantly hilarious story of sex, drugs, and birdwatching.” the guardian
“Even as The Wallcreeper can be cynical, arch, and satirical about its eco-pushing characters, it contains a useful critique of certain approaches to environmentalism. A lot of what’s on display is utterly fearless writing.” “Jeff VanderMeer’s Favorite Fiction of 2014,” electric literature
“The Wallcreeper is the best book of 2014.” dazed
Beverly Semmes was born in Washington, DC and lives and works in New York City. Semmes has had numerous solo museum shows including major exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C. and the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH. Her work is included in numerous museum collections, including the Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington DC; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; the Denver Art Museum, Denver; and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Read more about her at her website.