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Penguin: Penguin Books Spring 2019

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The New Me
By (author): Halle Butler
9780143133605 Paperback, Trade English General Trade FICTION / Literary Mar 05, 2019
$22.00 CAD
Active 5 x 7.71 x 0.52 in 208 pages Penguin Books
“A dark comedy of female rage” (Catherine Lacey) and a biting satire of the false promise of reinvention, by a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree and Granta Best Young American Novelist


I’m still trying to make the dream possible: still might finish my cleaning project, still might sign up for that yoga class, still might, still might. I step into the shower and almost faint, an image of taking the day by the throat and bashing its head against the wall floating in my mind.

Thirty-year-old Millie just can’t pull it together. Misanthropic and morose, she spends her days killing time at a thankless temp job until she can return home to her empty apartment, where she oscillates wildly between self-recrimination and mild delusion, fixating on all the little ways she might change her life. Then she watches TV until she drops off to sleep, and the cycle begins again.

When the possibility of a full-time job offer arises, it seems to bring the better life she’s envisioning - one that involves nicer clothes, fresh produce, maybe even financial independence - within reach. But with it also comes the paralyzing realization, lurking just beneath the surface, of just how hollow that vision has become.

Darkly hilarious and devastating, The New Me is a dizzying descent into the mind of a young woman trapped in the funhouse of American consumer culture.

Story Locale: Chicago, IL

DECORATED YOUNG WRITER POISED TO BREAK OUT: An excerpt of The New Me was included in Granta “Best of Young American Novelists 3” (2017), alongside work from major bestselling literary authors like Emma Cline, Lauren Groff, and Yaa Gyasi. In the same year, Halle was named one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” for her first novel, Jillian (Curbside Splendor, 2015) - the only writer selected for a book published by a small press.

“THE FEEL BAD BOOK OF THE YEAR”: The Chicago Tribune called Jillian “the feel bad book of the year” - a descriptor that could be applied just as easily to The New Me - and Flavorwire named it one of “50 Great Books About Deliciously Bad Women”.

A DELICIOUS WORKPLACE SATIRE that brilliantly skewers the inanity and meaninglessness of so many of our daily interactions and relationships; an unforgettable (and disturbingly relatable) portrait of twenty-something female ennui; and an unexpectedly powerful exploration of the ways in which the American dream has stalled out: how corporate capitalism, meritocracy, and reinvention have become empty ideals for so many. For such a seemingly slim story, there is a ton here for readers and reviewers to chew over.

Halle Butler is the author of Jillian. She has been named a National Book Award Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and a Granta Best Young American Novelist.

Author Residence: New York, NY

Author Hometown: Chicago, IL; East Lansing, MI

Marketing: Social media and online promotion

Academic marketing and library promotions

Publicity: Print and online reviews and features

Radio interviews

Author Website:

Advance Praise for The New Me:

“A bouncy, profane, highly addictive novel about work, female friendship, and other alienations. Halle Butler’s insane talent shimmers on every page.”—Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Gold Fame Citrus and Battleborn

The New Me renders contemporary American life in such vivid, stinging color, that it is liable to give the reader a paper cut. I loved this book.”—Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble

“Funny and raw and dark—a cautionary tale, hilarious and intimate, against growing up and making do.”—Ben Marcus, author of The Flame Alphabet

“Halle Butler is a first-rate satirist. She is Thomas Bernhard in a bad mood, showing us the futility of betterment in an increasingly paranoid era of self-improvement. Hilarious.”—Catherine Lacey, author of Nobody Is Ever Missing and The Answers

“Halle Butler is an incisive, curmudgeonly bard of the uniquely precarious times we live in, and it is crucial that you read her immediately.”—Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine

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