JENNIFER duBOIS is the author of A Partial History of Lost Causes, which won a California Book Award for Fiction, a Northern California Book Award for First Fiction, and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Prize for Debut Fiction. The National Book Foundation named her one of its 5 Under 35 authors. Her second novel, Cartwheel, was the winner of the Housatonic Book Award for fiction and was a finalist for a New York Public Library Young Lions Award. An alumna of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Stanford University’s Stegner Fellowship, duBois is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Lapham’s Quarterly, American Short Fiction, The Missouri Review, The Kenyon Review, Salon, Cosmopolitan, ZYZZYVA, and elsewhere. A native of western Massachusetts, duBois teaches in the MFA program at Texas State University.
“Jennifer duBois is a brilliant writer.”—Karen Russell, author of Vampires in the Lemon Grove
“Jennifer duBois is one of a handful of living American novelists who can comprehend both the long arc of history and the minute details that animate it. The Spectators is yet another triumph in an impressive oeuvre: a brave and painfully vivid excavation of the AIDS crisis in New York that, with its fine prose, breathes life back into an era of death.”—Karan Mahajan, author of the National Book Award finalist The Association of Small Bombs
With wit, heart, and crackling intelligence, The Spectators examines the human capacity for reinvention—and forces us to ask ourselves what we choose to look at, and why.
Talk show host Matthew Miller has made his fame by shining a spotlight on the most unlikely and bizarre secrets of society, exposing them on live television in front of millions of gawking viewers. However, the man behind The Mattie M Show remains a mystery—both to his enormous audience and to those who work alongside him every day. But when the high school students responsible for a mass shooting are found to be devoted fans, Mattie is thrust into the glare of public scrutiny, seen as the wry, detached herald of a culture going downhill and going way too far. Soon, the secrets of Mattie’s past as a brilliant young politician in a crime-ridden New York City begin to push their way to the surface.
In her most daring and multidimensional novel yet, Jennifer duBois vividly portrays the heyday of gay liberation in the seventies and the grip of the AIDS crisis in the eighties, alongside a backstage view of nineties television in an age of moral panic. DuBois explores an enigmatic man’s downfall through the perspectives of two spectators—Cel, Mattie’s skeptical publicist, and Semi, the disillusioned lover from his past.
MICHAEL DEAGLER’s fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train, New England Review, Kenyon Review Online, Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, and elsewhere. He has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska City.