LONGLISTED FOR THE JOYCE CAROL OATES PRIZE 2022
‘With Teeth is a wonderfully sticky novel about motherhood, partnership, sex and love. Kristen Arnett lets her characters have the run of the place, and it’s delicious fun to watch them do, say, and think things they’ll regret’ Emma Straub, author of All Adults Here
‘Sublimely weird, fluently paced, brazenly funny and gayer still’ Naoise Dolan, New York Times
‘A darkly funny, brutally honest story about a woman undone by motherhood . . . With Teeth digs in deep and doesn’t let go. I truly loved it’ Jennifer Weiner, bestselling author of Mrs Everything and That Summer
If she’s being honest, Sammie Lucas is scared of her son. Working from home in the close quarters of their Florida house, she lives with one wary eye peeled on Samson, a sullen, unknowable boy who resists her every attempt to bond with him. Uncertain in her own feelings about motherhood, she tries her best – driving, cleaning, cooking, prodding him to finish projects for school – while growing increasingly resentful of Monika, her confident but absent wife. As Samson grows from feral toddler to surly teenager, Sammie’s life begins to deteriorate into a mess of unruly behaviour, and her struggle to create a picture-perfect queer family unravels. When her son’s hostility finally spills over into physical aggression, Sammie must confront her role in the mess – and the possibility that it will never be clean again.
Blending the warmth and wit of Arnett’s breakout hit, Mostly Dead Things, with a candid take on queer family dynamics, With Teeth is a thought-provoking portrait of the delicate fabric of family – and the many ways it can be torn apart.