In this fresh take on the survivor narrative, a young lawyer’s family reunion brings long-buried pain and anger to the surface, threatening her career, her values, and all of her relationships—a story of trauma, healing, and the power of ride-or-die female friendship for fans of Roxane Gay, Brandon Taylor, and Raven Leilani.
To the outside observer, Vivian is a success story—a dedicated lawyer who advocates for mentally ill patients at a New York City psychiatric hospital. But privately, Vivian has more in common with some of her clients than she would care to admit. Haunted by the abuse she suffered as a child—compounded by the everyday stresses of being a Black Latinx woman in America—she lives in a constant state of hypervigilant awareness that makes even a simple subway ride into a heart-pounding drama.
For years, Vivian has white-knuckled her way through, self-medicating with a mix of humor, dieting, intellectualizing, and smoking weed with her BFF—and main support system—Jane. But after a family reunion prompts Vivian to take a bold step, she finds herself alone in new and terrifying ways, without even Jane to confide in. Plagued by obsessive thoughts, she grasps at new coping strategies, and as each one backfires she unravels further. Will she find a way to repair what matters most to her?
A debut from a stunning talent, POST-TRAUMATIC is a new kind of survivor narrative, featuring a complex heroine who is blazingly, indelibly alive. With razor-sharp prose and mordant wit, Chantal V. Johnson performs an extraordinary feat, giving us a psychologically astute story about the aftermath of trauma that somehow manages to brim with warmth, laughter, and hope—a celebration of all that makes our painful lives worth living.