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The Minnow Would Be Lost

by Nora Chassler

‘This could be in any order. Go back.’

Starting on Gilligan's island, with Aristotle clapping the 'fearless crew' 'in front of a live studio audience and from deep within it', Nora Chassler's book-length poem The Minnow Would Be Lost is a deeply imaginative, lyrical and personal journey through the lives of the author (inner, outer and otherwise), from Chicago to New York City, to Edinburgh, Prague, Moscow and beyond, to the edges of reality and the limits of the human experience.

Epic in every sense, this is a no-holds-barred work of literature that scolds, loves and damns its denizens in equal measure. Scathing and appreciative, nihilistic and hopeful, arch and vulnerable, this is the author's most original, ambitious, unforgettable achievement yet – one that ceaselessly communicates with our cultural history at all levels, whilst standing utterly alone amongst it.

Praise for Nora Chassler:

“Nora Chassler is the best writer you’ve never heard of.”
— Rónán Hession, The Irish Times

“There are very few books you wish to reread immediately upon finishing, but [Madame Bildungsroman] was one for me. I highly recommend her other books as well. In a hundred years having known Nora will be the other thing I am remembered for.”
— Sean Ono Lennon

“Nora Chassler’s extraordinary Grandmother Divided by Monkey Equals Outer Space breaks all moulds ... a triumphant vindication of the edgy, eccentric demotic as a compelling narrative voice.”
— William Boyd, The Guardian

“Offers a brilliant perspective on existence through fragments and aperçus: ambiguous, acerbic, moving and searingly intelligent.”
— Regi Claire


Nora Chassler was born in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1972, and grew up in New York City. She has an undergraduate degree in English from Hunter College, CUNY, in New York, and a Masters in Creative Writing from St Andrews. She has worked as a model and a social worker. She lives in Edinburgh.

Her first novel, Miss Thing, was published by Two Ravens Press in 2010. Her second, Grandmother Divided by Monkey Equals Outer Space, was published by Valley Press in 2015. A collection of ‘fragments, pensées and table-talk’ titled Madame Bildungsroman’s Optimistic Worldview followed in 2017, and an epic poem, The Minnow Would Be Lost, in October 2020.


Edition: First

Date Published: 2020-10-22

ISBN: 9781912436309

Catalogue Number: VP0150

Number of Pages: 128

Cover design by Jamie McGarry

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