'Something New Under the Sun' by Alumna Alexandra Kleeman '12 Forthcoming in August
BY Nicole Saldarriaga, February 23, 2021
Something New Under the Sun, the second novel by alumna Alexandra Kleeman '12, will be published by Hogarth Press and released on August 3, 2021. The novel is also forthcoming from 4th Estate in the UK and Black Coffee Press in Italy. It is available for pre-order here.
The novel, which is set in a near-future LA, follows protagonist Patrick Hamlin, a novelist from the East Coast who travels to Hollywood to supervise the making of his book into a film. In a town where the ecological crisis has reached a climax and most citizens now have to drink WAT-R, a synthetic substitute for water, Hamlin partners up with one of the actresses working on the film to investigate how the company behind WAT-R may be playing a more active role in the environmental collapse than anyone realizes.
Kleeman worked on the novel while she was an Artist in Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts in 2019 and said in her artist's statement that the book "brings my fascination with consumerism, artificiality, and biopolitics to bear on the California water crisis, an ecological catastrophe unfolding in slow motion...The natural landscape is often pushed to the background of human-centered stories—my goal is to write about this landscape in a way that gives it agency, insists on its role in everything we do, and highlights the way in which supposedly minor changes to our relationship with our surroundings can have truly catastrophic ramifications."
Kleeman's work on Something New Under the Sun was also supported by her recent reception of the 2020-21 Berlin Prize, a semester-long residential fellowship awarded to US-based artists, scholars, and composers who demonstrate excellence in their field of work.
Alexandra Kleeman is the author of Intimations, a short story collection, and the novel You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine, which was awarded the 2016 Bard Fiction Prize and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. In 2020, she was awarded the Rome Prize and the Berlin Prize. Her fiction has been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Zoetrope, Conjunctions, and Guernica, among others, and other writing has appeared in Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, VOGUE, Tin House, n+1, and The Guardian. Her work has received fellowships and support from Bread Loaf, Djerassi, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Headlands Center for the Arts. She is an Assistant Professor at the New School.