A True History of the Captivation, Transport to Strange Lands, & Deliverance of Hannah Guttentag: A Novel
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Like the Puritan-era narratives she studies, Hannah Guttentag’s early-1990s narrative is a chronicle of the strange places she travels—Nashville, Ithaca, New Orleans, Cleveland, Nebraska—the savages who captivate her—librarians, grad students, professors, her baby—and the redemption she earns.
Josh Russell's previous novels are Yellow Jack and My Bright Midnight. An Illinois native—born in Carbondale, raised in Normal—he now lives in Decatur, Georgia with his wife and daughter.
gloomy, as if the frozen wiring couldn’t carry enough wattage to light fully the bulbs. I worried something was wrong with my brain when again and again I found myself in the middle of making a point and forgetting what that point was—then I noticed the confused looks on the faces of Joanie, Nat, Sam, and Todd whenever they spoke, and I felt less panicked. Professor Caldweel, who taught early American literature, would sometimes abruptly stop lecturing and sit blinking, then demand, “Who’s your
knew, so don’t hassle me, okay?” “I’m cold too.” “Wouldn’t be if you’d listened to me.” “Hey,” I chirped, “I have an idea, why don’t you slap your pregnant wife to keep her in her place?” “Hannah, don’t be a bitch.” I was dumbstruck—for a moment—and then I flipped his soup bowl into his lap and got up from the booth. The bathroom was as icy as the car. I pulled down my pants and sat on the freezing toilet and shivered angrily. I wanted him to say something about his parents, to tell me he
pressed me into them like a lover. I didn’t hear Frank get into bed, but I woke when he whispered, “Everyone’s like Bugge. All day long I have to act like Tonto. They’d love to see me cry over a garbage dump or put my ear to a railroad track and tell them the train’s coming. It’s all bullshit, but I’m going to tough it out, and it’ll pay off when I get a good job.” I felt bad for him and so I didn’t tell him about the thick envelope from Pat Caldweel and my two-year plan. “I’ll help more with
snorting woman came and stood close beside me. “Her?” Todd asked everyone but Frank. “You mean, what did I say to her?” Frank took off his sunglasses and put them in his back pocket. “You need to apologize.” “Listen, dude,” Todd said, “I don’t want to have to kick your ass because some twat in a sundress got her feelings hurt.” “Not much of an apology,” the snorting woman judged. Todd snapped, “Shut up, Joanie.” Someone muttered fucking moron, and he bounced on the balls of his feet like
beyond naked. We rolled and kissed and fumbled and he nearly ended up inside me. When I told him to fetch a condom from the medicine cabinet, he sprang from the futon and ran for the bathroom. I watched his narrow behind, his bouncing penis. He came back with the box and stood beside the bed, a sheepish look on his face. “I’ve never done this before,” he said. I was shocked. “You’ve never worn a condom?” Warnings from campus health center posters and brochures filled my head and I covered