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Some Other Town

A Novel

Elizabeth Collison


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Channeling the emotional intensity of Susan Minot and Amy Bloom—and infused with a witty, dream-like surrealism reminiscent of Margaret Atwood—this mesmerizing debut takes us inside the unsettling world of Margaret Lydia Benning, which turns upside down when she falls in love…and then unravels before our eyes.

“What I have to tell Ben is just this. At last I am certain. All the signs, all the dreams are in. And I know now I have made a terrible mistake. I was wrong, it turns out, about us.”

Margaret Lydia Benning lives adrift in the same Midwest town where she went to college. By day, she works at a low-level job for the Project, a university-sponsored educational publisher housed in a former sanatorium. There she shares the fourth floor with a squadron of eccentric editors and a resident ghost from the screamers’ wing. At night, Margaret returns to her small house on Mott Street, resigned to the disturbing overtures of her strange neighbor, Mrs. Eberline.

Emotionally sleepwalking through the days is no way to lead a life. But then Margaret meets Ben Adams, a visiting professor of art at the university. Despite the odds—and their best intentions—Margaret and her professor become lovers, and she glimpses a future she had never before imagined. For the first time, she has hope…until Ben inexplicably vanishes. In the wake of his disappearance, Margaret sets out to find him. Her journey will force her to question everything she believes to be true.

Told through intertwined perspectives, by turns incandescent and haunting, Some Other Town is an unforgettable tale, with a heart-breaking twist, of one woman’s awakening to her own possibility—and her ability to love, and love well.

Praise For Some Other Town: A Novel

“Wry, peculiar, and compelling…. The novel asks: how do you restart a stalled life? It’s not a new question, but Some Other Town is certainly a funny, fresh, and real answer.”

“In her charming, emotionally true debut novel, Elizabeth Collison captures the queasiness of young adulthood as an intelligent young woman discovers just what, and whom, she wants.”
— Michelle Huneven, author of Round Rock, Jamesland, Blame, and Off Course

“In Elizabeth Collison’s Some Other Town, bad neighbors, ghosts, and breakups converge into one beautiful story.”

“A character-driven book...[it] has an ending that will leave your jaw open…. It’s not your average, straightforward novel, and that’s what makes it so memorable.… Here’s to hoping Collison keeps producing such fine work.”

“A gently otherworldly debut.”

Harper Perennial, 9780062348821, 304pp.

Publication Date: February 24, 2015

About the Author

Elizabeth Collison grew up in the Midwest and now lives in the San Francisco Bay area. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and has worked as an editor, graphic artist, and technical writer. This is her first novel.