Checkout 19: A Novel (Hardcover)

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“Bennett writes like no one else. She is a rare talent, and Checkout 19 is a masterful novel.” –Karl Ove Knausgaard

Named a most anticipated book of 2022 by Vulture, Glamour, Bustle, and Lit Hub

From the author of the “dazzling. . . . and daring” Pond (O magazine), the adventures of a young woman discovering her own genius, through the people she meets–and dreams up–along the way.

In a working-class town in a county west of London, a schoolgirl scribbles stories in the back pages of her exercise book, intoxicated by the first sparks of her imagination.  As she grows, everything and everyone she encounters become fuel for a burning talent. The large Russian man in the ancient maroon car who careens around the grocery store where she works as a checkout clerk, and slips her a copy of Beyond Good and Evil. The growing heaps of other books in which she loses–and finds–herself. Even the derailing of a friendship, in a devastating violation. The thrill of learning to conjure characters and scenarios in her head is matched by the exhilaration of forging her own way in the world, the two kinds of ingenuity kindling to a brilliant conflagration.

Exceeding the extraordinary promise of Bennett’s mold-shattering debut, Checkout 19 is a radical affirmation of the power of the imagination and the magic escape those who master it open to us all.

About the Author

Claire-Louise Bennett is the author of Pond, which was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, and winner of the inaugural White Review Short Story Prize. Her short fiction and essays have been published in The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, and other publications. She lives in Galway, Ireland. 

Praise For…

Advance praise for Checkout 19:

“I’ll remember this book for its disarmingly figurative language and its subtle observational humor . . . [Bennett] traces one person’s idiosyncratic, recursive artistic becoming — not just the reading, writing, and cigarette smoking but the relationships and experiences that unlock new ways of seeing.” –Vulture

“Claire-Louise Bennett is a woman writer living in Ireland who writes highly realistic, wildly praised literary fiction. Some of us have developed an incurable condition that dictates we must read every work by every writer who meets this description—please be mindful of this. If that’s you, meet Bennett” –Glamour

“Bennett has the superb ability to capture the reality of a mind: it is rare to think in fully formed, conclusion-ridden ideas, after all. . . . Checkout 19 is a fresh take on the coming-of-age novel. . . .  Bennett manages to convince the reader that somewhere, her narrator continues to think and ponder and live and wrestle with being in a body, like the rest of us.” –Lit Hub

“Arresting. . . . Encompassing literary criticism, suggestive fables, feminist polemic, a portrait of the artist, and a phenomenology of reading, this transfixes on both the right page and the left. Bennett marvels once again.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Incandescent, surreal, mordantly funny, wrenching, and exhilarating, Bennett’s enrapturing paean to literature echoes Jorge Luis Borges, Clarice Lispector, Lynne Tillman, and Lucy Ellmann, pays direct homage to myriad writers, traces the nexus of literature and life, and maps a book-besotted woman’s search for meaning.” –Booklist (starred review)

“What Bennett seems after in her shape-shifting novel is . . . the true power of the imagination and the lives it enables us to live when our own seem painfully circumscribed by gender, by place, by circumstance. A kaleidoscopic and ambitious blend of criticism, autofiction, fable, and memoir.” – Kirkus

“Bennett writes like no one else. She is a rare talent, and Checkout 19 is a masterful novel.” –Karl Ove Knausgaard

“Enigmatic and beguiling. Bennett jousts in one sentence and waltzes in the next, her singular style both earthy and soaring.” –Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Battleborn and I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness

“I fell into Checkout 19 and didn't want to climb back out. It is wonderful - I'm not sure why, and that makes it all the more wonderful.” –Roddy Doyle, author of Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593420492
ISBN-10: 0593420497
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publication Date: March 1st, 2022
Pages: 288
Language: English