A mountain lion is on the brink of starvation in the urban landscape of Los Angeles. As it observes the city’s perilous beauty and confronts climate change, inequality and love, the animal asks itself: Does it want to eat a human, or become one?
by Henry Hoke
MCD/ Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Summer 2023
(via Sterling Lord Literistic)
A stinging, elegiac snapshot of contemporary Los Angeles, told, you guessed it, from the perspective of a queer, dangerously hungry mountain lion, isolated and struggling to survive in a drought-devastated Griffith Park. As it protects the precarious welfare of a nearby homeless encampment from its thicket, it confronts a carousel of temptations and threats, taking us on a tour that spans the city’s cruel inequalities to the toll of climate grief, all while grappling with the complexities of its own gender identity and memories of a vicious, absent father.
In stinging, unpunctuated prose, OPEN THROAT delivers searching, exclamatory observations of a strange, seductive and elusive world, rich with wonder and menace, for a creature who knows it’s come to the wrong place at the wrong time. Even as salvation (in the form of a loving and witchy teen daughter of an aging rock star) appears within reach, there’s no escaping our primal pressures as the inevitable reckoning rushes in like wildfire.
Henry Hoke is the author of the memoir, Sticker (Bloomsbury Object Lessons), The Book of Endless Sleepovers, the story collection, Genevieves, and the novel, The Groundhog Forever. His work has appeared in Electric Literature, Triangle House, The Offing, and the Catapult anthology, Tiny Crimes. He holds an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, where he taught for five years, and presently teaches at the University of Virginia Young Writers Workshop and lives in Brooklyn. Praise for his work can be found here: https://henryhoke.com/