Debut Novel ‘Immediate Family’ by Ashley Nelson Levy '12 Out Now

BY Rebecca Pinwei Tseng, January 24, 2022

Farrar, Straus and Giroux recently published Immediate Family by alumna Ashley Nelson Levy '12. Immediate Family is now available for purchase.


Levy’s debut novel follows an unnamed narrator on the day of her brother’s wedding. When her brother Danny asks her to make a toast, she doesn’t know how to put words to their kind of love. She was nine years old and Danny was three when she and her parents traveled to Thailand to meet him. In a long, heartfelt letter addressed to Danny, the narrator details their childhood in Northern California and invokes everything from childless women in literature to the classic Victorian adoption plot. Through Immediate Family, Levy explores the complexities of motherhood, infertility, race, and the many definitions of family.


Immediate Family was met with rave reviews. Annie Bostrom for Booklist called the book "touching and tightly crafted…Gifted with a lifelike finesse, the narrator's piercing tales of family and self are love-wrought, delivered in Levy's honed, beautiful writing."



Author Rachel Khong also praised the novel. “This unsparing and absorbing family portrait broke my heart and remade it a hundred times over," she said. "In prose that is distilled, astute, and precise, Immediate Family covers the territory of life that words are often insufficient for, those challenges that are at once isolating and universal—waiting, the imperfect love that binds a family, what you choose and what is chosen for you.”


According to goop, which lists Immediate Family as a Book Club selection, "This short, unsparing novel is a beautiful and provocative snapshot of a family and the complicated, imperfect love that binds one member of it to another.”


Levy’s work has been published in BOMB, ZYZZYVA, Electric Literature, Lit Hub, Catapult, Largehearted Boy, and was a 2017 Notable Mention in Best American Nonrequired Reading. In 2015, Levy co-founded Transit Books, an independent publishing house with a focus on international literature.