In a parallel reality, an inexplicable fog envelops the city, trapping a young, nonbinary writer named Jaime in a sex hotel with six other people. As the survivors begin to turn on one another, Jaime must navigate a deadly game of cat and mouse.
Haunted by specters of grief and familial shame, Jaime and Cly find themselves trapped in dual narratives in this gripping experimental novel that explores sexuality, surveillance, and the very nature of storytelling.
“Part suspenseful romp, part meditation on human connection, The Gold Persimmon is a riveting debut. In twin hotels—one for people seeking escape from grief, one for people seeking escape in sex—Lindsay Merbaum’s captivating characters confront profound questions about identity, loss, fear, and desire.”—Helen Phillips, National Book Award longlisted author of The Need
“Lindsay Merbaum’s debut novel is a stunning and vital entry into the genre of queer horror. Her exquisite prose envelops readers in the worlds of two dream-like hotels and two vividly drawn queer protagonists haunted by their mother’s voices and their past lives. Inside deliciously strange fairy tale rooms and cramped New York City apartments, we witness Cly and Jamie inhabiting their desires, facing their grief, and struggling to exist within America’s violent systems of social control. Yet, as much as this is a story about pain, about ghosts, it is also a story about pleasure and futurity. Through the clarity and power of Merbaum’s voice, the richness of her vision, we are invited to imagine the new rooms and notebooks and selves that await us, the keys already tucked in our pockets.”—Meagan Cass, author of ActivAmerica and winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize
“I loved the keen erotics of terror at play in Lindsay Merbaum’s twinned hotels, all the strange ways in which the supposed anonymity of such shared spaces become mirrors by which we might be exposed, tested, and transformed. If you’ve ever lain awake in a rented room, desperately wondering who you really are, The Gold Persimmon will haunt you: when you wake up from its dream, who’s to say you’ll still be who you were when it began?”—Matt Bell, author of Appleseed
“The Gold Persimmon is a place where grief, sex, and mystery mingle. Merbaum fills her two hotels with haunting characters, propulsive storytelling, and a dreamy, Lynchian atmosphere. Once you check into The Gold Persimmon, I guarantee you’ll want to stay till the end.”—Lincoln Michel, author of The Body Scout