add to cart
for $16/free shipping in U.S.
– or –
add to cart with
suite for barbara loden

for $25/free shipping in U.S.

– or –
Buy any six Dorothy Books
for $60/free shipping in U.S.
– or –
Buy all 14 Dorothy Books
for $140/free shipping in U.S.

for orders outside the u.s.

Jen George was born in Thousand Oaks, California. She lives and works in New York City. This is her first book.

pages: 168

format: paperback

isbn: 978-0-9973666-2-4

publication date: October 17, 2016

The Babysitter at Rest

Jen George

“Reading The Babysitter at Rest is an immersion into a hidden world. It’s a place which is at first recognizable, before it becomes completely warped. Jen George has a way of bending the narrative which is distinctly her own. Her stories are at once poignant and disciplined in their abstraction, and hilarious in their inappropriate and reckless abandon.”
—Matthew Barney

For reviews and coverage, follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

Five stories—several as long as novellas—introduce the world to Jen George, a writer whose furiously imaginative new voice calls to mind Donald Barthelme and Leonora Carrington no less than Kathy Acker and Chris Kraus. In “Guidance/The Party,” an ethereal alcoholic “Guide” in robes and flowing hair appears to help a thirty-three-year-old woman prepare a party for her belated adulthood; “Take Care of Me Forever” tragically lambasts the medical profession as a ship of fools afloat in loneliness and narcissism; “Instruction” chronicles a season in an unconventional art school called The Warehouse, where students divide their time between orgies, art critiques, and burying dead racehorses. Combining slapstick, surrealism, erotica, and social criticism, Jen George’s sprawling creative energy belies the secret precision and unexpected tenderness of everything she writes.

*

Read the title story, which Sheila Heti selected as the winner of BOMB Magazine‘s 2015 Fiction Contest, or check out Jen George on pub day at The Lit Hub and on Balthus at The Paris Review.

*

“Best Short Story Collections of 2016” electric literature
“Best Fiction Books, 2016” entropy
“Our Favorite Books from 2016” the believer
“Our 20 Favorite Books of 2016” the a.v. club

“This brilliantly caustic début collection of stories is an attack on the pieties of contemporary social life and the niceties of traditional fiction.” the new yorker

“Despite its criticisms of greatness — or perhaps because of them — The Babysitter at Rest is an undeniably great debut collection of stories. George’s writing is funny, courageous, smart, surreal, seductive, and terrifyingly vulnerable.” electric literature

“We all know it’s commitment to something absurd that makes things funny—but in The Babysitter at Rest Jen George commits to scenarios that are not just absurd but weird in a deeply true, ‘unspeakable-underpinning-of-reality’ sort of way. And thus her commitment is both funny and kind of spiritual at the same time—and by laughing, you’re admitting this female inner universe exists. And that kind of changes everything.” miranda july

“I had to judge a story contest of 600+ anonymous stories and I read each one and without hesitation Jen George’s story was my favourite. I’m so happy this collection exists. I feel drunk with love for these stories. They’re so funny and weird and true.” Sheila Heti

“The next time you hear some dick say ‘women aren’t funny,’ hit them in the face with this book.” Blake Butler, “The 22 Best Books I Read in 2016,” vice

“George goes there again and again, combining the profane and the pathetic with a rarely seen energy. When’s the last time you read an opening line this charged? ‘On a bed in the emergency room, being pumped full of morphine and oxycodone, vomiting, then being pumped full of the same medications, I recall the ways I’ve always been.’ (That little information about George is available—she was born in California and lives in New York—only heightens the appeal; her work stands alone.)” the a.v. club, grade: a

“In The Babysitter at Rest—a brilliant and surprising debut collection of short fiction—author Jen George subverts conventional narrative form to reckon with socially imposed ideals of womanhood. Each story follows a woman in her twenties or early thirties as she negotiates the cultural expectations made upon her life and body. It’s well-trodden ground, but George hurtles us through the landscape of such archetypes with prose crude enough to be refreshing and dark enough to be funny.” BOMB

“With a weird, beautiful energy, George explores the challenges of woman-being: singlehood, self-doubt, motherhood, the dismaying fact of aging, the (dis)ability to love. A modern-day Jane Bowles, George engages these mysteries in prose that is funny, charming, dark, and insightful.” Deb Olin Unferth

“An absolutely killer new book of short stories by Jen George. Totally unlike anything I’ve read before. Extends the near perfect streak of Dorothy, a publishing project.” Ben Marcus (on Facebook)

“The collection remains faithful to the Dorothy aesthetic: books that are not only strange and inventive, but strange and inventive in ways that distinguish themselves from each other. Within that family, George’s surrealist comedies are perhaps most reminiscent of Joanna Ruocco’s endlessly digressive (and marvelous) novel, Dan, published by Dorothy in 2014. . . . but George’s motley presentation and aversion to explanation mark her as a truly distinctive voice. Her frank dystopias have the charming eccentricity of Edward Gorey illustrations. They do not rely on beauty or brutality or humanistic appeals to sell themselves. Just a vision and a ghoulish sense of humor.” the millions

“It’s an understatement to proclaim that these pieces are unlike anything else in contemporary literature. They’re so far outside the spectrum it’s as if they’re waving from another world.” shelf awareness (starred review)

The Babysitter at Rest is a collection of five short … stories? Or incantations. Or guides. I’m not sure how to classify them. But what I do know is that they are funny — funny because they’re true! And also funny because it’s so sad it’s true! And also just funny-funny. They are strange as heck. But underneath all the weird and the funny and the kinda gross stuff, these stories perfectly capture what it’s like being a person in the world who is just trying to figure shit out. Sometimes while reading I had to stop and ask myself, ‘How does a person write this?’ ” lenny

“The hilarious and heartbreaking stories are long, some the length of novellas, and full of sardonic observations on the futility of what is generally considered maturity or success or love. George captures the loneliness that comes from participating in a society that feels rigged against sadness, intimacy, and genuine expression.” larb

“George writes with an ear for raw thought patterns; her renderings of characters reproduced by their preferences and reduced to sad adulthoods are exquisite.” the village voice

“Garish, bizarre, and pointedly funny.” vulture

“[D]arkly humorous . . . Jen George skewers the damaging cultural imagery of acceptable female adultness.” the rumpus

“In this surgical examination of being young, female, and unfulfilled, debut author George employs not just a scalpel, but a whole kit of ominous and eerily specific instruments. Acerbic and sly, this five-story collection explores the elaborate performance of identity . . . A headlong charge through the process of becoming—an artist, an adult, a nobody, something, anything.” kirkus reviews

“Every young writer reckons on some level with the contemporary atmosphere of minimal employment, isolating education, the impossibility of privacy and the ubiquity of etiquette; George’s method is to pump everything full of helium until the ridiculousness of it all is laid giddily bare.” the believer

“Jen George’s wild, funny debut collection, The Babysitter at Rest, gives me [an] electric jolt.” numero cinq

“The expectations of domineering authority figures (teachers, husbands, doctors, artists, ovulation machines) moves to obliterate [George’s] female narrators. It’s the plight of the protagonists and the hilarity of this kind of culture that creates one of the most tender and grittiest collections I have read.” entropy

“Can’t remember the last time I read a work of fiction that showed me so many new ways to skin the old cat. George could get into the ring with Donald Barthelme.” Jeremy M. Davies

“Confessional writing, popularized by writers such as Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath is often written in first person and reveals the writers’ deepest desires and motivations. Recently, emerging confessional works have been dubbed ‘slut lit’ by the LA Review of Books. Rather than using this term to shame young female authors, it is used to identify writers who are ‘wise beyond their years and [who] know a thing or two about the price women pay for constantly pleasing others.’ After devouring The Babysitter at Rest, I am moved to add Jen George to that growing list of writers.” queen mob’s teahouse

“Like Donald Barthelme and Stanley Crawford, George marries impossible situations, gallows humor and fondness for preposterous catalogs with a radical edge.” san diego city beat

“[I]t’s fair to say any Cremaster fans will delight in George’s surreally comic stories.” civilian

“”Reading Jen George’s The Babysitter at Rest is like having a heart-to-heart with the most bizarre babysitter you can imagine—a sly representative of a world that seems at first to be like yours but, upon inspection, reveals itself to be tinged with more weirdness, more darkness, and considerably more sex.”  the arkansas international

“For every older man who reduces a female protagonist to a sexual plaything, for every dollar that one of the characters anxiously spends to improve herself, there is a moment of understated poignancy that reveals the profound sadness of these often impassive and passive young women. George’s prose is abstract, minimal, and frequently surprising, her language just odd and funny enough to unsettle readers as much as her plots do.” the a.v. club, “Our 20 Favorite Books of 2016”

*

 

cover art: “People Preparing Themselves To Get Viciously Angry” © Lola Rose Thompson, 2016  

Lola Rose Thompson lives and works in Los Angeles. Learn more at her website.