In a polygamist commune in the desert, a fourteen-year- old boy and a twelve-year-old girl fall in love and consummate that love, breaking religious law. They are caught, and a year later, she gives birth to his father’s child while the boy commits murder four hundred miles away—a crime that will slowly unravel the community.
Told by eight adolescent narrators, this is a story of how people use faith to justify cruelty, and how redemption can come from unexpected places. Though seemingly powerless in the face of their fundamentalist religion, these “strange children” shift into the central framework of their world as they come of age.
“A spellbinding, symphonic marvel of a novel. It could not be stranger, darker, or more illuminating. I found it impossible to put down.” —Rikki Ducornet, author of The Deep Zoo and The Jade Cabinet
“Harrowing and tender, this fiercely intense, exquisitelycomposed novel transports us from an isolated polygamist community in the wild desert of southern Utah to the bewildering buzz and glitter of urban streets in Salt Lake City, from the raptures of adolescent love to the violent extremes of sexual obsession. If we are biased, if we cling to comfortable misconceptions about people who live beyond our experience, these magnificently beautiful children will pierce and transfigure us.” —Melanie Rae Thon, author of Silence and Song
"I admire Strange Children for its mythic grandeur, its intoxicating cadences. This is a novel about a world unraveling, a desert place illuminated by the vulnerable young who belong to it—a place of child brides and murder, predation and exile, solace and exultation. Sadie Hoagland’s heart is spacious and her sentences are marvelously lush." —Noy Holland, author of Bird
American Grief in Four Stages, a collection of short fiction, asks the question: why does our country do so little for the bereaved? Why do we have only empty cliché to address the grief of others? Why do we expect people to just "get over" insurmountable tragedy?
"Hoagland is adept at showing the minuscule and almost imperceptible ways that life changes after a traumatic event....This remarkable collection, capturing all these varied experiences of loss and grief, ends up providing a shared language and understanding."
-Emily Webber, in Necessary Fiction
"A captivating debut collection...assured, haunting, and deeply empathetic."
-Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Terrifyingly true and dangerously perceptive, Sadie Hoagland’s provocative fictions deliver us to moments of maximum chaos.” –Melanie Rae Thon, author of SILENCE AND SONG
The book is available in bookstores and here: