Rainey Royal (Hardcover)

By Dylan Landis

Soho Press, 9781616954529, 247pp.

Publication Date: September 9, 2014



Set in the bohemian Greenwich Village of the 1970s, Dylan Landis, winner of a 2014 O. Henry Prize (for "Trust," a section of this novel) weaves a powerful story of girlhood, friendship, and sexuality.
Fourteen-year-old Rainey Royal lives with her father, a jazz musician with a cultish personality, in a once-elegant, now-decaying brownstone. Her mother has abandoned the family, and Rainey fends off advances from her father's best friend while trying desperately to nurture her own creative drives and build a substitute family. She's a rebel, even a criminal, but she's also deeply vulnerable, fighting to figure out how to put back in place the boundaries her life has knocked down, and more than that, struggling to learn how to be an artist and a person in a broken world.
Rainey Royal is told in 14 narratives of scarred and aching beauty that build into a fiercely powerful novel: the harrowing and ultimately affirming story of a young artist.

About the Author

Dylan Landis is the author of Rainey Royal, her debut novel, which includes a 2014 O. Henry Prize selection, and the story collection Normal People Don t Live Like This. Her work has appeared in Tin House, BOMB, and The New York Times. In a past life she wrote six books on interior design. She lives in New York City."

Praise For Rainey Royal

Praise for Rainey Royal

"In the stunning debut novel, Rainey Royal, Dylan Landis introduces us to girls who play games, girls who play with fire, and girls who distrust each other, drawing them into a friendship so profoundly real, it feels as if she knows our secrets. For those of us who were once these girls, and for those of us who were once afraid of these girls, this story unleashes memory both unnerving and thrilling. Deeply human. Surprisingly tender. Pure poetry."
—Susan Henderson, author of Up From the Blue

"Rainey Royal gets under your skin, pushes you out of your comfort zone, and takes you to a truer, more frightening place.  Dylan Landis captures the innocence and cruelty of teenage girls in flamey, jewel-like sentences that hover on the edge of rapture: read these stories with your heart in your throat."
—Ellis Avery, author of The Last Nude

Praise for Normal People Don't Live Like This

“Wonderful! Leah and Helen are authentic, vulnerable characters, whose intimate truths are exposed at perfect, unexpected moments.”
—Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge

“The characters in Dylan Landis's debut story collection, Normal People Don't Live Like This, are blessedly extraordinary.”
—Elissa Schappell for Vanity Fair

“Watch [Landis] very carefully. Once you can create characters like Leah (or Angeline, Rainey and Helen), there's no stopping you.”
Los Angeles Times

“The tales in this bravura work are timeless: They could easily belong to our daughters’ generation instead of our own.”
MORE Magazine

“[A] lean, beguiling novel in stories . . . Elegantly written.”

“Some delicious writing . . . Buy this for your literary fiction readers and short story fans."