book cover of Beautyland
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Beautyland

(2024)
A novel by

 
 
A Dakota Johnson x TeaTime Book Club Pick
A Must-Read:
Nylon, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Review of Books, Literary Hub, The Millions, Kirkus Reviews, BookRiot, The Christian Science Monitor, Our Culture, The Saturday Evening Post

“A book that I will recommend to people for the rest of my life.” —Dakota Johnson, Bustle

From the acclaimed author of Parakeet, Marie-Helene Bertino’s Beautyland is a wise, tender novel about a woman who doesn't feel at home on Earth.

At the moment when Voyager 1 is launched into space carrying its famous golden record, a baby of unusual perception is born to a single mother in Philadelphia. Adina Giorno is tiny and jaundiced, but she reaches for warmth and light. As a child, she recognizes that she is different: She possesses knowledge of a faraway planet. The arrival of a fax machine enables her to contact her extraterrestrial relatives, beings who have sent her to report on the oddities of Earthlings.

For years, as she moves through the world and makes a life for herself among humans, she dispatches transmissions on the terrors and surprising joys of their existence. Then, at a precarious moment, a beloved friend urges Adina to share her messages with the world. Is there a chance she is not alone?

Marie-Helene Bertino’s
Beautyland is a novel of startling originality about the fragility and resilience of life on our Earth and in our universe. It is a remarkable evocation of the feeling of being in exile at home, and it introduces a gentle, unforgettable alien for our times.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"Marie-Helene Bertino's delicious, uncanny vision throughout Beautyland makes everything feel brand-new-a roller coaster is 'a series of problems on a steel track,' chardonnay smells like 'pee and flowers,' death is 'merely a diminishment of one perspective.' Bertino's strangering prose delights with baffle and surprise, and the chapters are so propulsive one doesn't even fully notice the way she's subtly deconstructing the world. One page swiftly returns ubiquity to wonder, while the next reminds us that cruelty is a choice, that nothing is inevitable but death. It's impossible for a book to feel this fun and this urgent. Beautyland is a miracle. I'll be re-reading it forever." - Kaveh Akbar

"In Beautyland, Marie-Helene Bertino's Adina (maybe an alien, maybe a troubled human, always both) takes the tired old world and describes it so perfectly that we see it as if for the first time. Sparkling and alive, funny and magnificently true, this book woke me up. It made me weep with appreciation for the hard, strange, small-but-huge lives we lead. It made me fall back in love with this universe." - Ramona Ausubel

"Beautyland is both an otherworldly and completely human look into one girl's life, written in concise, lyrical prose. It is richly allusive, funny, and hypersmart. Marie-Helene Bertino has knocked it out of the park with this one. I loved it." - Brandon Hobson

"This book is endlessly surprising on the sentence level, but also as a story, and also in its tenderness. We might all need the unexpected love and perspective of a child alien at this point in human history. Beautyland is beautiful and hilarious and transcendent. It honestly feels like a message from another planet. Marie-Helene Bertino is an otherworldly talent." - Tommy Orange


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