by Patty Yumi Cottrell
A Spring 2017 B&N Discover Great New Writers Selection
Helen Moran is thirty-two years old, single, childless, college-educated, and partially employed as a guardian of troubled young people in New York. She’s accepting a delivery from IKEA in her shared studio apartment when her uncle calls to break the news: Helen’s adoptive brother is dead.
According to the internet, there are six possible reasons why her brother might have killed himself. But Helen knows better: she knows that six reasons is only shorthand for the abyss. Helen also knows that she alone is qualified to launch a serious investigation into his death, so she purchases a one-way ticket to Milwaukee. There, as she searches her childhood home and attempts to uncover why someone would choose to die, she will face her estranged family, her brother’s few friends, and the overzealous grief counselor, Chad Lambo; she may also discover what it truly means to be alive.
A bleakly comic tour de force that’s by turns poignant, uproariously funny, and viscerally unsettling, this debut novel has shades of Bernhard, Beckett and Bowles—and it announces the singular voice of Patty Yumi Cottrell.
North American publisher: McSweeney’s, March 2017
Foreign rights sold: UK (& Other Stories); ANZ (Text)
Foreign rights contact: Allison Devereux, Wolf Literary Services
Film/TV rights contact: Rachel Crawford, Wolf Literary Services
[A] stellar debut novel … Cottrell gives Helen the impossible task of understanding what would drive another person to suicide, and the result is complex and mysterious, yet, in the end, deeply human and empathetic.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
A dark, dark comedic well, and debut novelist Cottrell tells her story with gutsy style, glowing sentences, and true feeling.”—Booklist
Patty Yumi Cottrell’s prose does so many of my favorite things–some too subtle to talk about without spoiling, but one thing I have to mention is the way in which her heroine’s investigation of a suicide draws the reader right into the heart of this wonderfully spiky hedgehog of a book and then elbows us yet further along into what is ultimately a tremendously moving act of imagination.”—Helen Oyeyemi, author of What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours
In this completely absorbing novel of devastation and estrangement, Patty Yumi Cottrell introduces herself as a modern Robert Walser. Her voice is unflinching, unforgettable, and animated with a restless sense of humor.”—Catherine Lacey, author of Nobody Is Ever Missing
Intelligent and mysterious and funny, Patty Yumi Cottrell’s Sorry to Disrupt the Peace moves so mesmerizingly towards its blazingly good ending. One is tempted to read it as quickly as possible. But really, it is a book that should be read slowly, as some of its deepest pleasures lie in the careful observations, the witty prose, and just the book’s really wonderful gaze on city life, and actually, on all life. This is a stunning debut.”—Rebecca Lee, author of Bobcat
Patty Yumi Cottrell’s adoption of the rambling and specific absurd will and must delight. This is a graceful claim not just about writing but about a way of being in the world, an always new and necessary way to contend with this garbage that surrounds us, these false portraits of our hearts and minds. This book is not a diversion—it’s a lifeline.”—Jesse Ball, author of How to Set a Fire and Why
Grief takes an unnerving path through a singular mind in Sorry to Disrupt the Peace. Beckett fans will find a familiar, but Patty Yumi Cottrell’s voice is her very own.”—Amelia Gray, author of Gutshot: Stories
Behind every suicide, there is a door.’ So says Helen, aka Sister Reliability, aka ‘spinster from a book,’ who is determined to open the door behind her adoptive brother’s recent death. Her search takes her from a studio apartment in NYC to a childhood home in Milwaukee, and yet the investigation is as philosophical as it is practical, as was, perhaps, the death itself. Patty Yumi Cottrell’s Sorry to Disrupt the Peace is a beguiling debut: absurdly funny, surprisingly beautiful, and ultimately sad as fuck.”—Danielle Dutton, author of Margaret the First
Sorry to Disrupt the Peace had me opening my mouth to laugh only to feel sobs come tumbling out. It’s absurd, feeling so much at once, but it’s a distinctly human absurdity that Patty Yumi Cottrell has masterfully created in this book. In the end I felt ebullient and spent, grateful to be reminded that life is only funny and gorgeous because life is also strange and sad.”—Lindsay Hunter, author of Ugly Girls
Disturbing and hilarious, Cottrell’s haunting debut explores the toxic fumes that radiate from the narrator’s dysfunctional familial network, arresting development, truncating lives, and dragging everything into a vertiginous chasm the narrator, Helen Moran, investigates. Cottrell seduces her readers into an uncanny abyss.” —Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, author of Fra Keeler
Cottrell can make you laugh on one page and cry the next. Fans of Jesse Ball, Sheila Hetti, and Thomas Bernhard will love this book.” ―Shane Jones, author of Light Boxes