Skip to main content



Emily Mitchell


List Price: 15.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A dazzling collection of stories about how the familiar can suddenly turn strange.

A guidebook introduces foreign visitors to a recognizable but dreamlike America, where mirrors are haunted and the Statue of Liberty wears a bowler hat. A department-store supervisor must discipline employees who don’t smile enough at customers, but finds himself unexpectedly drawn to the saddest of them all. A woman reluctantly agrees to buy her daughter a robot pet, then is horrified when her little girl chooses an enormous mechanical spider for a companion. The characters in these stories find that the world they thought they knew has shifted and changed, become bizarre and disorienting, and, occasionally, miraculous. Told with absurdist humor and sweet sadness, Viral is about being lost in places that are supposed to feel like home.

Praise For Viral: Stories

The stories in Viral are so brilliant at unearthing the private pains and obsessions of their characters, after turning the final page one is left feeling as though they have been let in on a marvelous secret. Emily Mitchell is a masterful, magical writer, and Viral is an astounding collection.

— Laura van den Berg, author of The Isle of Youth

W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393350531, 208pp.

Publication Date: June 29, 2015

About the Author

Emily Mitchell's stories have been published in Harper’s, Ploughshares, New England Review, and elsewhere. She teaches at the University of Maryland. Her novel The Last Summer of the World was published in 2007. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.