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A Novel
Susan Steinberg
Susan Steinberg’s first novel, Machine, is a dazzling and innovative leap forward for a writer whose most recent book, Spectacle, gained her a rapturous following. Machine revolves around a group of teenagers—both locals and wealthy out-of-towners—during a single summer at the shore. Steinberg captures the pressures and demands of this world in a voice that effortlessly slides from collective to singular, as one girl recounts a night on which another girl drowned. Hoping to assuage her guilt and evade a similar fate, she pieces together the details of this tragedy, as well as the breakdown of her own family, and learns that no one, not even she, is blameless.

A daring stylist, Steinberg contrasts semicolon-studded sentences with short lines that race down the page. This restless approach gains focus and power through a sharply drawn narrative that ferociously interrogates gender, class, privilege, and the disintegration of identity in the shadow of trauma. Machine is the kind of novel—relentless and bold—that only Susan Steinberg could have written.

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A haunting story of guilt and blame in the wake of a drowning, the first novel by the author of Spectacle

About the Author

Susan  Steinberg
Credit: Noah Doely
Susan Steinberg is the author of MachineSpectacle, Hydroplane, and The End of Free Love. She is the recipient of a United States Artists Fellowship, a National Magazine Award, and a Pushcart Prize. She teaches at the University of San Francisco.
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Upcoming Events

Susan Steinberg appearing at Powell's Bookstore

Powell's - Burnside in Portland, ORview map
In conversation with Leni Zumas.

Susan Steinberg appearing at Elliott Bay Books

Elliott Bay Book Co in Seattle, WAview map
In conversation with Josh Mohr.

Susan Steinberg appearing at City Lights Bookstore

City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, CAview map
In conversation with Ethan Nosowsky.

Susan Steinberg and Sarah Manguso reading at Skylight Books

Skylight Books in Los Angeles, CAview map
In conversation with Sarah Manguso. 

Susan Steinberg appearing at SubText: A Bookstore

SubText: A Bookstore in St Paul, MNview map
In conversation with Graywolf editor, Steve Woodward. A reception will be held prior to the event.

Susan Steinberg appearing at McNally Jackson

McNally Jackson in New York, NYview map
In conversation with Sam Lipsyte.

Susan Steinberg appearing at Malaprop's Bookstore

Malaprop's Bookstore in Asheville, NCview map
In conversation with Sebastian Matthews.

Susan Steinberg appearing as part of The Believer Presents Reading Series

The Writer's Block in Las Vegas, NVview map
Location: The Writer's Block. Hosted by Black Mountain Institute and The Believer.

Susan Steinberg appearing at Prairie Lights Bookstore

Prairie Lights in Iowa City, IAview map

Susan Steinberg appearing as part of Franklin Park Reading Series

Franklin Park Bar and Beer Garden in Brooklyn, NYview map
In conversation with Mesha Maren, Ryan Chapman, Rion Amilcar Scott, and Shelly Oria.

Susan Steinberg appearing at The Center for Fiction

Center for Fiction in Brooklyn, NYview map


  • “After making waves with her book ‘Spectacle,’ bold stylist Susan Steinberg resurfaces with her first novel, a tale of gender, class, privilege and trauma set during a summer at the shore. . . . The narrative grapples with guilt and blame while eschewing formal conventions.”Chicago Tribune
  • “With simple, lyrical language, Steinberg presents a mystery of privilege and youth that deftly captures the unadulterated gear quaking deep behind a teenagers invincible front.”Booklist
  • “What makes [Machine] so thrilling is Steinberg’s artistry with form; she fractures narrative into its fundamental parts. Steinberg writes prose with a poet’s sense of meter and line, and a velocity recalling the novels of Joan Didion. The result is a dizzying work that perfectly evokes the feeling of spinning out of control.”Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • “Steinberg writes in small, interconnected, and poetic fragments. . . . Heartbreaking, eerie, and acutely observant.”Kirkus, starred review
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