'Lone Women' by Professor Victor LaValle Coming This Spring

This March, Lone Women, the newest novel by Associate Professor Victor LaValle ’98, will be released from One World. 

Jessie Shohfi
January 23, 2023

This March, Lone Women, the newest novel by Associate Professor Victor LaValle ’98, will be released from One World. 

Lone Women originated as a short story of the same title, which appeared in the anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History. The novel, set in 1915, expands on the story’s themes, following his protagonist, Adelaide, from the moment she sets her family’s house on fire, her parents’ corpses inside. She soon flees to Montana, hoping it will be a place where a young Black woman can build a future for herself–but her secret, kept in a locked box by her side, isn’t so easily left behind. 

The novel’s Western setting is a departure for LaValle, whose previous work has taken place in New York City.

“I wanted to write about Montana because it was about as far away from my own experience as I could get, and because I discovered all this incredible history that I really wanted to share with people,” he said in an interview for Random House's Youtube channel. “The way I describe Lone Women to other people is I say, ‘Do you know anything about Montana’s history? Did you know that women homesteaded that land by themselves? Did you know that it wasn’t just white women–it was Black women, Latinas, there were Chinese women there? Did you know any of that?’ And usually the answer is ‘no’ and then I say, ‘I’ve got a story for you.’”

Already receiving critical attention from several media outlets, Lone Women appears on the “Most Anticipated” lists from both Salon and Vulture. In a starred review, Kirkus calls the novel “beguiling,” saying, “LaValle is prodigiously talented at playing with stylistic modes, and here he deftly combines Western, suspense, supernatural, and horror…the novel overall is a winning blend of brains and (occasionally violent) thrills.”

Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See, also praised the book, saying, "If the literary gods mixed together Haruki Murakami and Ralph Ellison, and threw in several fistfuls of twenty-first-century attitude, the result would be Victor LaValle."

Lone Women will be released on March 28, and is available for preorder now

Victor LaValle’s last novel, The Changeling, was named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by Time Magazine and USA Today and was named a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle and more. He is also the author of Slapboxing with Jesus, The Ecstatic, Big Machine, The Devil in Silver, and The Ballad of Black Tom. He is also the writer/creator of a comic book, Destroyer. His awards include the Whiting Writers Award, a USA Ford Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Shirley Jackson Award and a British World Fantasy Award among others.