book cover of The Lookback Window
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The Lookback Window

A novel by

An Electric Literature, Debutiful, and LGBTQ Reads Most Anticipated Book
“Hertz has managed to tell a story of queer healing with all the narrative force of a thriller and the searing fury of an indictment.”—The New York Times Book Review Review

A fearless debut novel of resilience, transcendence, and the elusive promise of justice.

Growing up in suburban New York, Dylan lived through the unfathomable: three years as a victim of sex trafficking at the hands of Vincent, a troubled young man who promised to marry Dylan when he turned eighteen. Years later—long after a police investigation that went nowhere, and after the statute of limitations for the crimes perpetrated against him have run out—the long shadow of Dylan’s trauma still looms over the fragile life in the city he’s managed to build with his fiancé, Moans, who knows little of Dylan’s past. His continued existence depends upon an all-important mantra:
To survive, you live through it, but never look back.

Then a groundbreaking new law—the Child Victims Act—opens a new way foreword: a one-year window during which Dylan can sue his abusers. But for someone who was trafficked as a child, does money represent justice—does his pain have a price? As Dylan is forced to look back at what happened to him and try to make sense of his past, he begins to explore a drug and sex-fueled world of bathhouses, clubs, and strangers’ apartments, only to emerge, barely alive, with a new clarity of purpose: a righteous determination to gaze, unflinching, upon the brutal men whose faces have haunted him for a decade, and to extract justice on his own terms.

By turns harrowing, lyrical, and beautiful, Hertz’s debut offers a startling glimpse at the unraveling of trauma—and the light that peeks, faintly, and often in surprising ways, from the other side of the window.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"The Lookback Window shines light in the darkest places - sometimes reflecting off the surface of a pool, other times off the blade of a knife, always gleaming. With elegant prose and propulsive energy, Hertz generates power by refusing to look away. The result is luminous." - Tess Gunty

"Kyle Dillon Hertz's The Lookback Window is fearless, by which I mean vulnerable. Sentence by sentence, it moves along with a fierce and psychedelic honesty reminiscent of Joan Didion's best work. I'm amazed by how much beauty and humor Hertz is able to mine from the most harrowing of circumstances. There's a multi-level testimony - and indictment - here for those brave enough to face it. The Lookback Window is audacious, scandalous, and startling in ways that can only be properly conveyed by a pen as careful and compassionate as Hertz's. A gutsy, unflinching debut." - Robert Jones Jr

"The Lookback Window is a beautiful and heartbreaking tour de force. Hertz writes vengeance as salvation, refusal as a reclamation of humanity." - Raven Leilani

"The Lookback Window is an unforgettable debut, as beautiful as it is brutal. Kyle Dillon Hertz's writing is immediate, unvarnished, and authentic, and his novel investigates all that is fragile and unbreakable in the human psyche. This is a powerful book that kept me up at night. It won't soon let go of me." - Edan Lepucki

"Raw and urgent, The Lookback Window dares us to follow in its search for justice - and what lies beyond. Kyle Dillon Hertz has written an uncompromising journey. An incredibly moving one, too." - Zak Salih

"Exceptional and electrifying, Kyle Dillon Hertz's The Lookback Window defies, challenges and escapes the/all rules, becoming an utterly unique, riveting and sensational work of fiction. A triumph, a masterful exploration of forgiving and forgetting - of the fight for what is right, and yours." - Pajtim Statovci

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