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Book Title

Sterling Karat Gold

A Novel
Author 1
Isabel Waidner
Sterling Beckenbauer is plunged into a terrifying and nonsensical world one morning when they are attacked, then unfairly arrested, in their neighborhood in London. With the help of their friends, Sterling hosts a trial of their own in order to exonerate themselves and to hold the powers that be to account.
Sterling Karat Gold, in the words of Kamila Shamsie, is “a madly brilliant and deeply sane novel that reveals surrealism as possibly the most effective way of talking about the political moment we find ourselves in.” In it, Isabel Waidner concocts a world replete with bullfighters, high fashion, DIY theater, the Beach Boys, and time-traveling spaceships. The acclaimed winner of the 2021 Goldsmiths Prize for fiction that breaks the mold and extends the possibilities of the form, this novel explores the phantasmagoric nature of contemporary life, especially for nonbinary migrants, and daringly revises how solidarity and justice might be sought and won. Sterling Karat Gold couldn’t be a better North American introduction to a writer with an irresistible style and unforgettable vision.

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Like Franz Kafka’s The Trial for the post-truth era, at once “surreal, polemical, and fun” (The Telegraph UK)

About the Author

Isabel  Waidner
Credit: Robin Silas Christian
Isabel Waidner is the author of Sterling Karat GoldWe Are Made of Diamond Stuff, and Gaudy Bauble. They are the winner of the Goldsmiths Prize and cofounded the event series Queers Read This. They live in London.
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  • “Waidner’s novel is actually a strange collage, which performs much the same function as the performance art series that Sterling organizes: It destabilizes the notion of reality and conjures a ‘counternarrative’ to our oppressive sense of normality. . . . A rollicking good time.”—Charlie Jane Anders, The Washington Post
  • “This novel is part Franz Kafka, part Hieronymus Bosch, and part Monty Python, but mostly it’s completely sui generis. And it succeeds on every level a novel can. Dizzying, unsettling, and extremely smart.”Kirkus Reviews, starred review

  • “[Waidner's] explosive sensibility and style are as far removed from mediocre prose and middle-class manners as you can imagine. This alone is reason to read them.”—Bernardine Evaristo, The New York Times Book Review
  • Winner of the 2021 Goldsmiths Prize
    Finalist for the 2022 Orwell Prize for Political Fiction
    Finalist for the 2022 Republic of Consciousness Prize
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