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“Profound and affecting.”—Chloe Benjamin
“Broken People leads us through the winds of time and memory to offer a riveting portrait of transformation. I am better for having read it.”—Jamie Lee Curtis
A groundbreaking, incandescent debut novel about coming to grips with the past and ourselves, for fans of Sally Rooney, Hanya Yanagihara and Garth Greenwell
“He fixes everything that’s wrong with you in three days.”
This is what hooks Sam when he first overhears it at a fancy dinner party in the Hollywood hills: the story of a globe-trotting shaman who claims to perform “open-soul surgery” on emotionally damaged people. For neurotic, depressed Sam, new to Los Angeles after his life in New York imploded, the possibility of total transformation is utterly tantalizing. He’s desperate for something to believe in, and the shaman—who promises ancient rituals, plant medicine and encounters with the divine—seems convincing, enough for Sam to sign up for a weekend under his care.
But are the great spirits the shaman says he’s summoning real at all? Or are the ghosts in Sam’s memory more powerful than any magic?
At turns tender and acid, funny and wise, Broken People is a journey into the nature of truth and fiction—a story of discovering hope amid cynicism, intimacy within chaos and peace in our own skin.
“Don’t underestimate Broken People: it may be full of delightful, razor-edged cultural commentary, but so too is it a journey of the soul. Too vulnerable to be blithely satirical and too self-aware to serve or fall for easy platitudes, Sam Lansky’s debut novel sends up LA’s consumerist wellness obsession while exploring the nature of health, acceptance, and human connection. The result is profound and affecting—as savvy as it is searching, as critical as it is compassionate.”
—Chloe Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortalists
"An epic journey of self-forgiveness that confronts us with the ways in which we're all broken, then, with the assured hand of a most talented writer, conjures the healing magic within. A mesmerizing read."
—Steven Rowley, bestselling author of Lily and The Octopus and The Editor
“Sam Lansky’s debut novel Broken People goes spelunking into the caves of one man’s insecurities. He’s written a piercing book about many topical things—gay sex and love; addiction; real estate; the dumb binary of American coastal identity—while also tapping into something frighteningly universal. Lansky’s book is a harrowing taxonomy of want, the material and the metaphysical gnawing away in bitter chorus.... Both grim satire and nourishing, empathetic cri de coeur, Broken People is among the strangest and most thrilling reading experiences I’ve had this year. What terrible, selfish lives we all lead—and how beautiful our struggle to transcend them can be.”
—Richard Lawson, author of All We Can Do Is Wait
“Broken People leads us through the winds of time and memory to offer a riveting portrait of transformation. I am better for having read it.”
—Jamie Lee Curtis