Melissa Broader’s New Novel Death Valley Is A Scorching Story Of Loss

by Samantha Ladwig

Prepare to feel parched and pulled apart by Melissa Broder’s latest novel, Death Valley, which opens with an unnamed woman fleeing her dying father and sick husband for a Best Western in the desert. She claims she has escaped to work on her novel. Really, though, the trip is an impulsive attempt to take a break from the tender emptiness so often associated with being completely consumed by death. When the receptionist recommends a nearby hike one afternoon, she soon realizes that her desert venture isn’t going to provide any reprieve. Because along the trail is a giant cactus with an opening that beckons her to enter. Inside the cactus, in the heat of the Mojave, is a psychedelic exploration of grief, death, and long-term illness in all its forms.

This may be Broder’s most intimate novel yet, but readers can certainly expect to find her signature humor within the larger existential conversation. Death Valley is a scorching story of survival that refreshingly captures how grief can, at the same time, feel both utterly ordinary and completely unbearable. Broder has written a moving, poetic portrait of loss. –Samantha Ladwig

Top Image: Scribner

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