book cover of All This Could Be Different
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All This Could Be Different

(2022)
A novel by

 
 
2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST

ONE OF THE
LOS ANGELES TIMES'TOP 5 FICTION BOOKS OF THE YEAR

ONE OF
TIME AND SLATE'S TOP 10 BOOKS OF THE YEAR

Named one of the BEST BOOKS OF 2022 by NPR, Vogue, Vulture, BuzzFeed, Harper's Bazaar, and more

One of the buzziest, most human novels of the year…breathless, dizzying, and completely beautiful.” Vogue

“Dazzling and wholly original...[written] with such mordant wit, insight, and specificity, it feels like watching a new literary star being born in real time.” Entertainment Weekly

From a brilliant new voice comes an electrifying novel of a young immigrant building a life for herself—a warm, dazzling, and profound saga of queer love, friendship, work, and precarity in twenty-first century America


Graduating into the long maw of an American recession, Sneha is one of the fortunate ones. She’s moved to Milwaukee for an entry-level corporate job that, grueling as it may be, is the key that unlocks every door: she can pick up the tab at dinner with her new friend Tig, get her college buddy Thom hired alongside her, and send money to her parents back in India. She begins dating women—soon developing a burning crush on Marina, a beguiling and beautiful dancer who always seems just out of reach.

But before long, trouble arrives. Painful secrets rear their heads; jobs go off the rails; evictions loom. Sneha struggles to be truly close and open with anybody, even as her friendships deepen, even as she throws herself headlong into a dizzying romance with Marina. It’s then that Tig begins to draw up a radical solution to their problems, hoping to save them all.

A beautiful and capacious novel rendered in singular, unforgettable prose,
All This Could Be Different is a wise, tender, and riveting group portrait of young people forging love and community amidst struggle, and a moving story of one immigrant’s journey to make her home in the world.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"Some books are merely luminous - this one is iridescent: with joy and pain, isolation and communion, solemnity and irreverent humor. Even the title has twin meanings. 'All this could be different' is a sorrowing observation of our contemporary precarity, but 'All this could be different' is equally - and ultimately - a declaration, an electrifying act of resistance." - Susan Choi

"All This Could Be Different is an extraordinary novel, spiny and delicate, scathingly funny and wildly moving. Sarah Thankam Mathews is a brilliant writer, one whose every ringing sentence holds both bite and heart." - Lauren Groff

"Sarah Thankam Mathews's All This Could Be Different is a deeply honest and compelling testimony. It is breathtaking in its beauty and profound in its meaning. Mathews captures the complexities, contradictions, and dissonances of life with astounding aplomb and care. All This Could Be Different is quietly epic." - Robert Jones Jr

"Sarah Thankam Mathews' prose is undeniable and hyper attuned to the terrible privacy of the mind. In All This Could Be Different, she captures the sneaky, unsayable parts of longing and writes sharply about the long shadow of family." - Raven Leilani

"Sarah Thankam Mathews' All This Could Be Different is an exquisite debut. Mathews' is a completely original voice that is, by turns, fierce, witty, musical, poignant, and, yes, deeply sexy. Simultaneously a tender portrait of chosen family, a stunningly rendered queer romance, and a keen reflection on work in a monstrous economy, this novel also thrums with a persistent, private hope for another, better world. It is the kind of book one should read not only to be entertained or impressed, but also to feel less alone." - Sanjena Sathian

"Sharply observed and deeply empathetic, All This Could Be Different is a gorgeous story of dreaming and daring against the odds. I loved these flawed, funny friends and I rooted for them, and as I raced toward the end I felt an ache in my chest, missing them already." - Dawnie Walton

"Battle cry and love song both, All This Could Be Different is an ode - tender, sexy, and smart - to coming of age in turbulent times. As Sneha navigates the hilarious and deadly serious work of being a good friend, lover, daughter, immigrant, adult, queer woman, and worker under late stage capitalism, what emerges is a portrait of a woman determined to live her life to its brim--no matter what. Sarah Thankam Mathews writes like a blaze, and this book will remind you what it is to be young and powerfully alive." - C Pam Zhang


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