Winner of the 2019 Washington State Book Award!
Mara Tagarelli is on top of her world. She’s the head of a multimillion-dollar AIDS foundation, an accomplished martial artist, and happily married. She has never met a problem she can’t solve — until suddenly she can’t solve any of them. In the space of a single week her wife leaves her, she is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and she loses her job.
Now everything begins to feel like a threat. At first, she thinks it’s just her newfound sense of vulnerability. Then she realises the threat of violence is real, deadly, and heading straight for her.
But how do you defend yourself when you can’t trust your own body? How do you face down danger when everyone, including you, believes you are helpless and monsters are coming? You find your people, and you build a community.
So Lucky blazes with authority, the understanding of the life that becomes possible when we stop believing lies, find our strengths, and learn new ways to fight.
‘A compact, brutal story of losing power and creating community … So Lucky is beautifully written, with a flexible, efficient precision that embodies the protagonist’s voice and character.’ New York Times Book Review
‘A psychological thriller, effective and chilling … A disconcerting but very necessary book.’ ― Dana Hansen, Chicago Review of Books
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Handheld Press is proud to have published So Lucky, the UK edition of award-winning novelist Nicola Griffith’s stupendous new novel. It WON the 2019 Washington State Book Award, was named one of the Boston Globe’s Best Books of 2018, and was shortlisted for the 2019 Tournament of Books. The American Library Association named it as one of 2018’s best fiction books on their Over the Rainbow Booklist, and it sure deserves to be there.
Watch our video explaining how Handheld came to publish So Lucky.
Read Nicola’s interview on Disability Arts Online explaining how So Lucky developed her activist life.
Read the reviews
‘So Lucky is a book that will change the way you view the world and stands as a testament to Griffith’s writing skills. This is not a long book, but I don’t think any readers will feel short-changed by that. The two essays and the interview at the end are a bonus and I read them equally avidly.’ – Crime Review
‘A terse and brutally urgent novel, So Lucky is a reminder that Griffith is one of the most important writers working today.’ DIVA Magazine (they named So Lucky their Book of the Month for December 2018).
‘So Lucky is feminist fiction at its best: powerful storytelling informed by politics with a memorable plot and protagonist. This thriller is a fantastic afternoon read―and once you pick it up, you’ll read all the way to the end.’ Julie Enszer, Ms. Magazine
‘A short, fast-paced whirlwind of a novel … Spine tingling and in places downright terrifying.’ ― Independent
‘With great insight and power, Griffith chronicles one woman’s fight … the plot twists into a sophisticated thriller.’ ― Jane Ciabattari, BBC Culture
‘Searing … a fresh and powerful novel and antidote to the sense of victimhood.’ ― Booklist
‘Griffith examines the impact that fear of the outside world and internal disintegration can have those who only know themselves through strength.’ ― Erin Vanderhoof, Vanity Fair
‘In So Lucky, Nicola Griffith replicates the actual experience of becoming disabled. This genre-violating story begins straightforwardly, then slides into a hallucinatory exploration of the body, reality, and identity. It is disorienting, destabilising, and game-changing. I have never read anything like it.’ ― Riva Lehrer, author of Golem Girl
‘This book is a body-slam of empowerment, a roar of frustration so sustained and compelling that it cannot be ignored […] a tough, accomplished novel, a book that readers didn’t know they needed.’ ― Katharine Coldiron, Arts Fuse
‘Nicola Griffith’s So Lucky is compelling reading, a tour de force of the onset of disability. This is the first novel I have read that describes an autobiographical experience of disability from Day One with a relentlessness that can parallel a disability itself. It is intense, sad, and dramatic combining mystery, romance, terror (internal and external), and hope. Just like life itself.’ Steven E Brown, cofounder of the Institute on Disability Culture
‘Nicola Griffith’s depiction of Mara, newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, shows how we, as humans, deal with anger and love, hopelessness and hope. Griffith’s lean, taut prose, and her willingness to delve deeply into Mara’s fears, transforms So Lucky into a story about what we all share: an unpredictable life filled with vulnerability and a need for community.’ Kenny Fries, author of In the Province of the Gods