Michelle Tea

Black Wave

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.

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Ebook: £5

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  • 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.
Print status: Available
Author: Michelle Tea
Original language: English
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date: 9 February 2017
ISBN: 9781908276902
Ebook ISBN: 9781908276919
Availability: UK, Europe and Commonwealth (excl. Canada)
Number of pages: 344


Olivia Laing
The Guardian

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?’

Hannah Gregory
The Financial Times

‘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?’

Sarah Gilmartin
Irish 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 Ditum
The New Statesman

‘Out of a messy, scabrous delve into the personal, Tea has created something uncomfortably funny and bleakly gorgeous.’

Laura Tanenbaum
The New York Times

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.’

The New Yorker

‘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.’

Kristen Iversen

‘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.’

Village Voice

‘Charged with an urgent velocity’

Eileen Myles

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.’

Maggie Nelson

‘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