Eat Only When You're Hungry (Hardcover)
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374146153, 224pp.
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Finalist for the 2017 Chicago Review of Books Fiction Award and a 2017 NPR Great Read
Recommended reading by Nylon, Buzzfeed, Vulture, Lit Hub, Chicago Review of Books and Chicago Reader
"With this novel, Hunter establishes herself as an unforgettable voice in American letters. Her work here, as ever, is unparalleled." --Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist and Hunger
Achingly funny and full of feeling, Eat Only When You're Hungry follows fifty-eight-year-old Greg as he searches for his son, GJ, an addict who has been missing for three weeks. Greg is bored, demoralized, obese, and as dubious of GJ's desire to be found as he is of his own motivation to go looking. Almost on a whim, Greg embarks on a road trip to central Florida--a noble search for his son, or so he tells himself.
Greg takes us on a tour of highway and roadside, of Taco Bell, KFC, gas-station Slurpees, sticky strip-club floors, pooling sweat, candy wrappers and crumpled panes of cellophane and wrinkled plastic bags tumbling along the interstate. This is the America Greg knows, one he feels closer to than to his youthful idealism, closer even than to his younger second wife. As his journey continues, through drive-thru windows and into the living rooms of his alluring ex-wife and his distant, curmudgeonly father, Greg's urgent search for GJ slowly recedes into the background, replaced with a painstaking, illuminating, and unavoidable look at Greg's own mistakes--as a father, as a husband, and as a man.
Brimming with the same visceral regret and joy that leak from the fast food Greg inhales, Eat Only When You're Hungry is a wild and biting study of addiction, perseverance, and the insurmountable struggle to change. With America's desolate underbelly serving as her guide, Lindsay Hunter elicits a singular type of sympathy for her characters, using them to challenge our preconceived notions about addiction and to explore the innumerable ways we fail ourselves.