House of Cotton: A Novel
I am so, so in love with this book. Monica Brashears is such a skilled writer, and this is a great, macabre, spicy Black Southern gothic novel. It is real and unreal, strange and familiar — that perfect liminal space book.
Perfect for readers of Mexican Gothic... "Fresh, haunting...In her roller-coaster ride of a gothic debut novel, Monica Brashears upends expectations at every turn." —The New York Times
“Every page, every scene, every sentence of Monica Brashears’s debut novel House of Cotton dazzles and surprises. An intense, enthralling, and deeply satisfying read!” —Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies
"A new, dazzling, and essential American voice." —George Saunders, author of Lincoln in the Bardo
Magnolia Brown is nineteen years old, broke, and effectively an orphan. She feels stuck and haunted: by her overdrawn bank account, her predatory landlord, and the ghost of her late grandmother Mama Brown.
One night, while working at her dead-end gas station job, a mysterious, slick stranger named Cotton walks in and offers to turn Magnolia’s luck around with a lucrative “modeling” job at his family’s funeral home. She accepts. But despite things looking up, Magnolia’s problems fatten along with her wallet. When Cotton’s requests become increasingly weird, Magnolia discovers there’s a lot more at stake than just her rent.
Sharp as a belted knife, this sly social commentary cuts straight to the bone. House of Cotton will keep you mesmerized until the very last page.
Praise for House of Cotton: A Novel
A Most Anticipated Book of 2023: Bustle, PopSugar, Gizmodo, Book Riot, Debutiful, CrimeReads, and more!
"Magnetic, singular and completely unforgettable." —New York Times
"House of Cotton is dazzling, full of surprises, and told with a voice that's unpredictable and, more importantly, that lingers. Fans of brave fiction would be remiss to skip this one." —NPR
"Startling, vivid, and impressive... Brashears has written a lush, pictorial, and often steamy novel with an indelible heroine. Coupling classic gothic elements with a realistic portrayal of the issues facing a young, poor, Black woman with few options, the novel’s many strengths culminate in a powerful and original story that will appeal to a variety of readers across fiction genres." —Booklist
"[A] haunting and macabre debut... Magnolia is a wonderfully complex character." —Publishers Weekly
"A lyrical fever dream of a novel." —Kirkus
"Mythic, agile, and alluring all at once." —Bustle
"Delightfully morbid." —PopSugar
"A haunting and sly Southern Gothic with plenty of things to say about race, gender, and appropriation." —CrimeReads
"A novel for anyone who loved Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward." —Debutiful
“Brashears takes Magnolia's story in an array of beautifully poetic and surprisingly artful directions and—by the time it's over—we see that she has something wholly unique to say about race in America. Magnolia's distinctive voice will stay with you long after her story on the page is over.” —Isaac Fitzgerald
“[A] lush and lyrical debut." —Shondaland
"Lush and gorgeous — and evidence of a new and decisive talent in Monica Brashears... Brashears employs language like a knife, cutting and shaping with remarkable dexterity, and the result is a wonderwork of a first book. This is a novel that sweats and broods, a story where something fretful is always boiling just under the surface." —Nashville Scene
"Brashears offers a fresh new perspective on Appalachia and the American South, and Magnolia's rich voice will echo with readers long after the pages are closed." —Julia Kastner, Shelf Awareness
“A beautiful book about the strange contours of grief.” —Raven Leilani, author of Luster, winner of the NBCC John Leonard Prize
"Monica Brashears is a stunning new talent. Her debut, House of Cotton, is an incredible work of harsh beauty and a novel you won't forget." —Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, New York Times bestselling author of Friday Black
"Monica Brashears is an immense talent, and her enchanting, strikingly original prose will astonish you. Magnolia is such a vivid, tender character: whip smart but deeply innocent, traumatized but also joyful and funny. Magnolia’s complex voice is nothing short of miraculous. House of Cotton is a powerful, seductive, and subversive novel." —Dana Spiotta, author of Eat the Document, winner of the Rosenthal Foundation Award
"Mystical, carnal, and written in fire. House of Cotton ushers Monica Brashears straight onto American lit’s mainstage, which she should grace for a long time.” —Jonathan Dee, author of The Privileges, winner of the Prix Fitzgerald