Bitter Water Opera

A Novel

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Pub Date 16 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 31 Mar 2024

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Description

An electrifying debut novel about art, solitude, family, and faith in a world without it

In 1967, the dancer Marta Becket and her husband were traveling through Death Valley Junction when they came across an abandoned theater. Marta decided it was hers. She painted her ideal audience on its walls and danced her own dances until her death five decades later.

In the present day, Gia has ended a relationship and taken a leave from her job in film studies at a university. She is sleeping fifteen hours a night and ignoring calls from her mother. In a library archive, she comes across a photo of Marta Becket and decides to write her a letter. Soon Marta magically appears in her home.

Gia hopes Marta Becket will guide her out of her despair. But is Marta—the example of her single-minded, solitary life—enough? Through precise, vivid vignettes, Bitter Water Opera follows Gia as she resists the urge to escape into herself and struggles to form a lasting connection to the world. Her search has her reckoning with a set of terrifying charcoal drawings on her garage walls, a corpse in the middle of a pond, a crooked pear sapling, and other mysterious entities before bringing her to Marta’s theater, the Amargosa Opera House. There in the desert, Gia finds one answer.

In this brief, astonishing novel, Nicolette Polek describes an individual awakening to faith while exploring our deepest existential questions. How do we look beyond ourselves? Where do words go? What is art for?

An electrifying debut novel about art, solitude, family, and faith in a world without it

In 1967, the dancer Marta Becket and her husband were traveling through Death Valley Junction when they came...


Advance Praise

“Read Bitter Water Opera for the beautiful theologically brilliant prose and also for Gia, its heroine, whose wonder and longing pull a mentor-spirit out of the netherworld.”—Darcey Steinke

Bitter Water Opera is a real garden of a book, full of mysteries and mustard seeds. Nicolette Polek shows us a door and asks us to open it, to see what others cannot see. I was astonished.”—Scott McClanahan

“A lush and dreamy ‘storybook-like’ novel, reminiscent of Leonora Carrington and Sylvia Townsend Warner. This is a work of subtle, spiritual intelligence.”—Elisa Gabbert

Bitter Water Opera is a wonder work of noticing. . . . Built with each precise line, a chimera of meaning comes into startling focus by its end. The effect of the haunted observer at the center of this limerent, faith-shaped novel is measureless.”—Marie-Helene Bertino

“Mesmerizing. Bitter Water Opera is a book dense and delicious with God-made language and violent emotion. This is an original for the twenty-first century.”—Fanny Howe

“Read Bitter Water Opera for the beautiful theologically brilliant prose and also for Gia, its heroine, whose wonder and longing pull a mentor-spirit out of the netherworld.”—Darcey Steinke

Bitter...


Marketing Plan

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National publicity campaign

Bookseller outreach campaign

Author tour

Targeted print and digital advertising

Social media promotion and advertising


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781644452837
PRICE $16.00 (USD)
PAGES 128

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