Black Wave by Michelle Tea

‘I worship at the altar of this book.’
Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts

Michelle Tea

Price: £10 (print), £5 (ebook)

B format paperback


eBook ISBN:

Original language:

Published by:
And Other Stories

Publication date:
9 February 2017

Grungy and queer, Michelle is a grrrl hung up on a city in riot. It’s San Francisco and it’s 1999. Determined to quell her addictions to heroin, catastrophic romance, and the city itself, she heads south for LA, just as the news hits: in one year the world is Officially Over. The suicides have begun. And it’s here that Black Wave breaks itself open, splitting into every possible story, questioning who has the right to write about whom. People begin to dream the lovers they will never have, while Michelle takes haven in a bookshop, where she contemplates writing about her past (sort of), dating Matt Dillon (kind of), and riding out the end of the world (maybe).

New from Michelle Tea, novelist, essayist, and queer counter-culture icon, Black Wave is a punk feminist masterpiece and a raucously funny read for everyone … except, perhaps, for Scientologists.

Advance Praise for Black Wave

  • Black Wave[‘s rawness is] so disarming, a rollicking hallucinatory fantasy that’s as sobering as cold air . . . It’s sentimental and reckless and not quite like anything I’ve read before. An apocalypse novel that makes you feel hopeful about the world: could anything be more timely?’ Olivia Laing, The Guardian
  • ‘Tea knows how to turn the conundrums of life-writing inside out. There is an apocalypse on the horizon but Michelle doesn’t read the news, just the horoscopes . . . The language with which she describes the space between cities is that of her world, sexual and brazen, with a dark wit, because what is landscape without its human framing?’ Hannah Gregory, Financial Times
  • ‘Exhilarating . . . A metaliterary novel with flashes of mysticism. [Black Wave] takes a mind-bending shift into the world of apocalyptic fiction, a hugely inventive twist that takes the road-to-recovery storyline and literally smashes it to pieces.’ Sarah Gilmartin, Irish Times
  • ‘Out of a messy, scabrous delve into the personal, Tea has created something uncomfortably funny and bleakly gorgeous.’ Sarah Ditum, New Statesman
  • Black Wave, part fictionalized memoir, part apocalyptic fantasia, blends dark humor with touches of mysticism to suggest how misleading the phrase “settling down” is. In Tea’s hands, sobriety, love and something like happiness are stranger and more unsettling than bohemian decadence could ever hope to be.’ Laura Tanenbaum, New York Times
  • ‘This surreal tale—part memoir, part metafiction—is narrated with total conviction. [Events] powerfully express the intensity both of attaining sobriety and of the writing process.’ New Yorker
  • ‘A love letter to literature’s lasting power and the ability of writing to save one’s future . . . If the world is going to end, then Tea’s way out isn’t so bad.’ Anisse Gross, San Francisco Chronicle
  • Black Wave reads much like memoir – and even its impending doomsday doesn’t seem too fanciful given current events in the US . . . Michelle holes up in an abandoned bookstore to write a universal story.’ Big Issue North
  • ‘An unexpected and thoroughly entertainingly mind-bending read . . . Hard to explain so I’m not going to try, I just think you should grab it instead.’ Rick O’Shea
  • ‘This beautiful fever dream of a book is so important to read right now, not only because of its inherently rebellious, even revolutionary message that there is no need to conform to a world that rejects us over and over, but also because Tea’s compelling prose is a testament to the importance of storytelling—and of having women doing the telling.’ Kristen Iversen, Nylon
  • ‘Charged with an urgent velocity’ Village Voice Books of the 2016
  • ‘I worship at the altar of this book. A keen portrait of a subculture, an instant classic in life-writing, a go-for-broke exemplar of queer feminist imagination, a contribution to crucial, ongoing conversations about whose lives matter, Black Wave is a rollicking triumph.’ Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts
  • Black Wave is definitely Michelle Tea’s most fearless book. It’s a radically honest and scary book. And trust me, it’s a bloody and wonderful place Michelle has spun, fantastic, dark, and entirely awake. It shook me up.’ Eileen Myles, author of Chelsea Girls
  • ‘When the world does end I hope it ends like this.’ Megan Bradbury, author of Everyone is Watching
  • ‘Michelle Tea is like no other writer. Black Wave amps her uniquely seductive whirl of ugliness, hilarity, and brainy, sexy, revelry to produce a work with the centripetal pull of a maelstrom. You will be sucked in.’ Heidi Julavits, author of The Uses of Enchantment
  • ‘Gliding deftly through issues of addiction and recovery, erasure and assimilation, environmental devastation and mass delusion about our own pernicious tendencies, this is a genre- and reality-bending story of quiet triumph for the perennial screw-up and unabashed outsider. A biting, sagacious, and delightfully dark metaliterary novel about finding your way in a world on fire.’ Starred review, Kirkus
  • ‘Tea paints a terrific portrait, but her great gift is how she makes readers look more closely at themselves.’ Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal


More information on Black Wave

  • If you had subscribed to And Other Stories before the subscription deadline, you would have received Black Wave as one of 2, 4 or 6 books as part of your subscription. You can find out more about our subscription service here.
  • You can read an interview with Michelle Tea in BOMB Magazine here.

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