Borchardt Agency
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Catapult (2020-04-7)
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by Bieker, Chelsea

Fourteen-year-old Lacey May Herd is in trouble. Serious trouble. And there's no one, it seems, in the whole of Peaches, California who can help.

Her troubled mother has run off with a man she met through her job as a phone sex operator. Her grandmother, Cherry, is more concerned with her taxidermy mice than with Lacey's struggles. And the rest of her community - including her cousin, Lyle, and their Pastor, Olaf - are preoccupied with the drought that's settled on their Central Valley town, bankrupting the area's once-lucrative raisin farms, and the church's upcoming revival, which Olaf promises will, at long last, 'bring the rain.'

Raw and unflinching, told in bright, snapping prose, both Godshot and Cowboys and Angels (Chelsea Bieker's first story collection, set in the same fictional Central Valley town as Godshot) imagine a harsh gothic world of longing and abandonment under an unrelenting country sun.

Chelsea Bieker received her MFA from Portland State University and is the recipient of a MacDowell Colony fellowship. Her work has been published, or is forthcoming, in McSweeney's, Catapult, Joyland, and elsewhere. Godshot is her first novel.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Sebastian Ritscher

Available View on Rightsdesk


Godshot features one of the most authentic and tenderly written portrayals of the bond between a mother and daughter.

Review: Chicago Review of Books

Possessed of an unstoppable plot and a brilliantly soulful voice, Godshot is a book of grit and humor and heart, a debut novel about female friendship and resilience, mother-loss and motherhood, and seeking salvation in unexpected places. It introduces a writer who gives Flannery O'Connor's Gothic parables a Californian twist and who emerges with a miracle that is all her own.

Review: iHeart Radio

Chelsea Bieker distills the fire and fury of the parched Central Valley

Review: Los Angeles Times

12 Books to Read While You Are Social Distancing and Need That Sweet, Sweet Escapism. These characters are my friends now: "Set against an environmental disaster, Godshot is dark, suspenseful, and surprisingly funny."

Review: Cosmopolitan

In Godshot, there are plenty of moments where I did my best not to take the easy path. The more you write, the more you can sense those moments within yourself where you're dodging something that maybe, subconsciously, you're afraid to write because it might be hard.

Quote: The Rumpus

Fiercely written and endlessly readable, a novel like this is a godsend.

Review: Entertainment Weekly

I think part of what Godshot is doing is that it's prompting us to ask questions and not to accept a package solution that seems to be rooted in this big group think. I think that's dangerous. And I think the characters in the book slowly realize that. And they do begin to question, they do begin to access their own curiosity, and find their own answers. And I think that's important for all of us to do to be critical thinkers and to not listen to just one voice.

Quote: NPR

Godshot is a piercing debut novel filled with devastating imagery (sticky baptisms performed with soda instead of water) and a girl named Lacey May Herd who is brought up to believe that suffering brings you closer to God.

Review: NY Magazine/Vulture, 32 Best New Books in 2020

Readers will get lost in this riot of a collection, like a sun- bleached fever dream.

Review: Booklist (starred)

Godshot is the kind of book you find yourself thinking about incessantly. By turns desolate and rich, Chelsea Bieker has written a novel that lets a parched tongue find relief in its pages. It is a book about the kind of salvation we can find in other people, but also about the miracle of finding that kind of all-consuming love inside ourselves. It is tenderness and trauma. It is violence. It's sorting through the mess, looking for answers. Bieker is a dynamo and Godshot is a beautiful blow to the heart.

Quote: Kristen Arnett, the NYT bestselling author of Mostly Dead Things

Bieker has written a debut that joins Emma Cline's The Girls and R.O. Kwon's The Incendiaries in exploring the uneasy intersection of repressive religious belief and burgeoning sexuality, but Bieker's exploration of the way that poverty and environmental ravishment also add to the subjugation of the female body adds more rich layers to this narrative. It's a lot to juggle, but Lacey May is such a strong narrator, at once deeply insightful and painfully naïve, that readers will eagerly want to follow all the threads to the breathless conclusion.

Review: Kirkus starred review

Combining a topsy-turvy plot and a beautifully drawn mother-daughter relationship, Bieker delivers unto us an exquisitely peculiar tale of innocence lost.

Review: O, The Oprah Magazine

It introduces a writer who gives Flannery O'Connor's Gothic parables a Californian twist and who emerges with a miracle that is all her own.

Review: PublishersLunch

A gothic phantasmagoria, Bieker's book explores the ways in which cultish devotion in times of ecological catastrophe can seemingly push groups of people towards a social apocalypsea novel eerily pertinent in 2020.

Review: The Millions, Most Anticipated: Great First-Half 2020 Book Preview

GODSHOT is a dazzling, darkly funny debut from a writer whose charm, wit, and blistering intelligence will scorch your heart. With unsentimental compassion and unprecedented style, Bieker steeps this brutal, harrowing story in hope. The prose shimmers and swerves--so full of gritty truths and resplendent beauty, I drenched every page in highlighter.

Quote: Kimberly King Parsons, the author of Black Light

Godshot is so much more than a coming-of-age novel; it's Lacey May's evolutions - from faith to knowledge, girl to woman, daughter to mother ...

Review: Observer

As she [Lacey May] endures the increasingly appalling acts of men, she goes on a quest to find her mother at all costs.

Review: PureWow, 12 Books We Can't Wait to Read in April

It's a timely and disturbing portrait of how easily men can take advantage of vulnerable women - and the consequences sink in more deeply with every page.

Review: TIME Magazine

Review: New York Times New & Noteworthy

Godshot distills the darkness, light, and wild courage that are so entwined and necessary in the process of becoming yourself.

Review: LitHub

Boasting arguably the most eye-catching cover of the year, Godshot, from debut author Chelsea Bieker, is an unnerving tour de force.

Review: Elle, The Best Books of 2020

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