Thieves: A Novel (Fence Modern Prize in Prose) (Paperback)

Thieves: A Novel (Fence Modern Prize in Prose) By Valerie Werder Cover Image
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"Sly, witty, and utterly compelling, Valerie Werder's Thieves illuminates how we create and examine our selves in thrall to late capitalism--and how we're all thieves of one kind or another. This novel gives immense pleasure..."


Valerie Werder's debut novel, Thieves, is an autofictional account of the strivings and humiliations of a gallery girl, also named Valerie. The tale of Valerie's maturation, her life and adventures in sex and crime, exquisitely eviscerates the industries of desire and consumption which produce, place a value on, and limit her creativity, freedoms, and responsibilities.

As the novel begins, Valerie is an art worker in New York CIty, a product of an American childhood in a small place where she learned to cherish objects and their promise. The magic of being, thinking, speaking, and writing is all bound up for Valerie, a self-aware creature and expert weaver of language in "the sales game." Valerie generates scaffolds of empty sales copy and lives in a storm of things, many of which are commodities--including herself. All the while, she becomes increasingly aware of the ways she can acquire and be acquired.

Watch as Valerie falls for the dashing and irresistible master shoplifter, Ted. Follow along as she begins to uncover Ted's shady past and secret lives. Along the way, you will, with Valerie, encounter: bleeding meats suavely tucked into Ted's loose jeans, the strangely seductive language of the highly personalized and persistent emails sent to Valerie from her local bank branch, and Valerie's vivid dreams, including one in which the minds of the women of New York City are uploaded into identical metallic cyborg bodies.

In whip-smart, sharply humorous prose, Thieves is a wild, dark, and rollicking ride through a beguiling and dangerous Willy Wonka factory of gender, capitalism, sex, and art.

Selected for The Fence Modern Prize in Prose

For readers of ...* Chris Kraus * Ben Lerner* Lynne Tillman* Joan Didion* Ottessa Moshfegh* Tao Lin* Wayne Koestenbaum* Natasha Stagg* Cecelia Pav n

About the Author

Valerie Werder is a fiction writer, recovering art worker, and doctoral candidate in film and visual studies at Harvard University. Her writing has been published in Public Culture, BOMB, and Flash Art, and performed at Participant Inc, New York, and Artspace New Haven. Werder is a 2023-23 PEN America Prison and Justice Writing Program Mentor. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with a black cat and hundreds of books.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781944380212
ISBN-10: 1944380213
Publisher: Fence Books
Publication Date: August 8th, 2023
Pages: 256
Language: English
Series: Fence Modern Prize in Prose