Alumna Sara Davis '12 To Read from Debut Novel Alongside Professor Hilary Leichter '12

BY Nicole Saldarriaga, May 21, 2021

Alumna Sara Davis '12 recently published her debut novel, The Scapegoat (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux) and will read from the highly acclaimed work, as well as chat about the book with Adjunct Professor Hilary Leichter '12, at a virtual event for Point Reyes Books on May 25, 2021. 


The Scapegoat follows a protagonist referred to only as N—an eccentric professor at a prestigious university in California. N's life takes a turn into mystery and delusion when he begins investigating the strange circumstances that surround the death of his estranged father. As he gets closer to answers, N begins to have nearly hallucinatory daydreams, and the line between reality and delusion in the novel blurs as he comes closer to unveiling a terrible conspiracy. 


The novel has already received great praise from several reviews and Columbia professors. Assistant Professor Rivka Galchen called the novel "...ingenious, suspenseful, wise, sad, sometimes very frightening, and often very funny, too. The novel gets at the terrifyingly convincing lies (or stories) that we tell ourselves, inevitably about that which we most need to know. The Scapegoat made me fall in love again with the form of the novel!"


Associate Professor Victor Lavalle '98 called The Scapegoat " a novel of disquiet and disturbance, with an atmosphere of perfect dread. Think Patricia Highsmith or Jim Thompson, that blend of menace and brilliance. Sara Davis had me shivering. This is the debut novel of a marvelous new talent." 

Kirkus Reviews also dubbed the novel "Unnervingly good...An eerie and surprising reconstruction by an unreliable narrator," and The New York Times Book Review said "As our narrator loses his grip on reality, Davis drops her readers into successive scenes so fluidly that even we forget what just happened. I raced through the book, marveling at its precise, restrained prose and grasping paranoiacally at small details that might indicate what was real and what wasn’t. What does become clear by the end, though, are the dangers of dwelling on past miseries, which so thoroughly haunt the novel.” 


Davis' reading and conversation with Leichter is scheduled for 7pm PT on May 25, 2021. Register for the event here. 


Sara Davis, the daughter of two Stanford immunologists, grew up in Palo Alto, California and received her BA and MFA at Columbia University. She has taught creative writing in New York City and Detroit. She has been awarded residencies from Ucross, Vermont Studio Center, and Ragdale. She lives in Shanghai, China. The Scapegoat is her first book.