Fritz Agency
Published by
Algonquin Books (May 2014)
Current material
Fiction & Related items


by Rowland, Amy

A startlingly original debut about a woman who sets out on a campaign to challenge the absurdity of the world around her.

Lena, the transcriptionist, sits alone in a room far away from the hum of the newsroom that is the heart of the Record, the big city newspaper for which she works. For years, she has been the ever-present link for reporters calling in stories from around the world. Hooked up to a machine that turns spoken words to print, Lena is the vein that connects the organs of the paper. She is loyal, she is unquestioning, yet technology is dictating that her days there are numbered.

When she reads a shocking piece in the paper about a Jane Doe mauled to death by a lion, she recognizes the woman in the picture. They had met on a bus just a few days before. Obsessed with understanding what caused the woman to deliberately climb into the lion's den, Lena begins a campaign for truth that will destroy the Record's complacency and shake the venerable institution to its very foundation. In doing so, she also recovers a life - her own.

An exquisite novel that asks probing questions about journalism and ethics, about the decline of the newspaper and the failure of language, it is also the story of a woman's effort to establish her place in an increasingly alien and alienating world.

Amy Rowland is currently an editor at The New York Times Book Review. She has spent more than a decade working at The New York Times, where she worked, notably, as a transcriptionist and for the NYT Index and then moved to the newsroom to work on TimesTopics, a website project to create and archive "living articles" using metadata from the Index. Amy has had articles and reviews published in the The New York Times, the Smart Set, the Utne Reader, The Raleigh News & Observer, the Charlotte Observer. She has been a resident at MacDowel, was a 2009 Norman Mailer fellow, and graduated with an MFA from Sarah Lawrence.

A Seth Fishman Book for the Gernert Company.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Fritz Agency
Antonia Fritz

Available View on Rightsdesk


Ambitious and fascinating . . . Disturbing and powerful... Recommended for fans of literary fiction.

Review: Library Journal

Israel: Keter;

Foreign licence: Client

A strange, mesmerizing novel about language, isolation, ethics, technology, and the lack of trust between institutions and the people they purportedly serve . . . A fine debut novel about the decline of newspapers and the subsequent loss of humanity--and yes, these are related. (starred review)

Review: Booklist

More like this