If We Had Known


By Elise Juska

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A literary tour de force from the acclaimed author of The Blessings-a riveting novel about one of the most urgent crises of our time.

One August afternoon, as single mother Maggie Daley prepares to send her only child off to college, their world is shattered by news of a mass shooting at the local mall in rural Maine. As reports and updates about the tragedy begin to roll in, Maggie, an English professor, is further stunned to learn that the gunman had been a student of hers: Nathan Dugan was an awkward, complicated young man whose quiet presence in her classroom had faded from her memory-but not, it seems, the memories of his classmates.

When a viral blog post hints at the existence of a dark, violence-tinged essay Nathan had written during Maggie’s freshman comp seminar, Maggie soon finds herself at the center of a heated national controversy. Could the overlooked essay have offered critical red flags that might have warned of, or even prevented, the murders to come? As the media storm grows around her, Maggie makes a series of desperate choices that threaten to destroy not just the personal and professional lives she’s worked so hard to build, but-more important-the happiness and safety of her sensitive daughter, Anna.

Engrossing and provocative, combining sharp plot twists with Juska’s award-winning, trademark literary sophistication, If We Had Known is at once an unforgettable mother-daughter journey, an exquisite portrait of a community in turmoil, and a harrowing examination of ethical and moral responsibility in a dangerously interconnected digital world.


Part One


It was an unseasonably hot late summer day in Maine when Maggie's daughter read about the shooting. The kind of hot you could sense just by looking: the sky that flat, empty blue. Along the back of Maggie's yard, the trees stood motionless and silent, thick green spruces and pale, thin-stemmed birches. The heat was like a haze, a filter through which the world appeared grayer, more obscure, like fog on glass.

It was just before noon, a Friday. In a little over a week, Maggie would be back to teaching, her life built around her classes and crowded with her students, but these final days of August were still long and shapeless, defined by the immediacy of Anna's leaving. Maggie looked up from where she knelt in her garden, pushed a lock of hair off her damp brow, and surveyed her property: a shaggy two acres strewn with rocks and wildflowers, an old red barn, woods on three sides. Later, looking back, the stillness of the trees that day would seem different—tense, knowing, braced for something—but in the moment, they appeared only sleepy in the heat.

Maggie tore a final handful of weeds from the garden, pushed herself to standing, closed and latched the fence gate, and headed for the back door. Inside, she let the screen flap shut behind her. The house was quiet. Anna was upstairs, packing. Maggie spied a few things—down comforter, windbreaker, old scuffed leather boots—in a pile by the front door. She had just turned on the faucet and was rinsing dirt from her hands when Anna shouted: "Mom?"

"Yes?" Maggie called back over the rush of water.


Even from a floor below, Maggie could hear the telltale edge in her voice. "What?" she said, twisting the faucet off, and paused, leaning on the knob.

"Did you ever have Nathan Dugan?"

Right away Maggie recognized the name. She prided herself on her memory of her students—would argue she could summon up any one of them given ten seconds—and with this one she didn't miss a beat. "He was in my comp," Maggie said. She straightened and stood still, waiting, hands dripping over the sink. She heard movement in Anna's bedroom, footsteps hurrying down the hall. "Why?"

"So you knew him?" Anna said, louder as she ran downstairs.

"Of course," Maggie replied, calmly, but felt a kernel of worry. "He was my student." She pressed her wet palms to her jeans. "What is it, Anna?" she said as her daughter rushed into the room. She was still wearing the clothes she'd slept in—old T-shirt, plaid pajama bottoms—hair tied in a loose ponytail. But her expression was awake, alarmed: This was more than nerves, Maggie thought. Her eyes were wide, almost pleading, cheeks pale beneath her summer freckles. She carried her laptop under her arm. As she set it on the table, she kept her eyes on Maggie's face.




"Oh my God," Maggie said. She could hear the stillness in her voice; she was conscious of the body's instinct to freeze, flatten and protect itself. "Oh my God," she repeated. It had happened again, happened here, just fifteen minutes down the road. As Anna scrolled down the screen, Maggie took in a photo of two teenagers standing outside the mall, hugging. A mother clutching her baby, her face such a raw mask of pain that Maggie felt indignant it had been put online. And suddenly: Nathan Dugan. Alleged gunman takes own life, the caption read. The picture was just his face. It was him, no question, though he looked considerably older—older than the number of years (four? five?) it had been since he was in her class. He was bigger now, heavier. His face seemed thicker. The buzz cut he'd worn as a freshman had grown past his ears. He had two faint lines of mustache, a cap with some kind of cartoon animal on it. His chin was raised, eyes angled down toward the camera, although his expression looked preoccupied, as if residing in his own private world. It was the thing that looked most the same about him. He'd worn that same look in class.

"Is that him?" Anna asked. She had folded herself into a kitchen chair, arms wrapped around her knees.

"That's him."

"Was he creepy?"

"Creepy," Maggie repeated. "I wouldn't say that."

Usually, this would have prompted a roll of the eyes—Maggie was a stickler for language, always looking for the best, the most accurate word—but her daughter had fallen quiet, reverent before the faint glow of the screen.

"What was he like?"

"He was—different." A simplistic word, and an obvious one. Her mind roamed, looking for a better way, the right way, to describe him. "He wasn't too engaged," she said. Other details were returning. The way, during class, Nathan always kept his eyes on the desktop, jiggling one shoe—heavy brown boots with thick, ridged soles—on the dusty tiles. The pair of headphones he'd kept around his neck and, the minute class was over, clamped back on his ears. He sometimes brought his dog to class—a chocolate Lab, who slept with its flank pressed against the radiator. To Maggie's recollection, Nathan never acknowledged the dog, and she didn't either.

"He didn't seem to care much about being there," she said. "He was restless."

"Restless how?" Anna asked. "Like anxious?"

"No, I don't think so," Maggie said, with a glance at her daughter's face. "More like—" She paused. "Distracted. Checked out."

She remembered how, if he spoke, which was rare, Nathan never raised his hand. He'd called her Mrs. Daley, even though she always told students to call her Maggie. She remembered his essays too—not the content so much as the look of them, long unbroken paragraphs and small, stifled font.

"He wasn't really a part of things," she said. "Part of the group." She thought again. "He was hard to get to know."

"Creepy, you mean."

She remembered his coat: a heavy olive-green parka with a hood trimmed in dirty, peppery gray fur. In winter, he'd never take it off. The coat would fill the small desk, the hood blocking Maggie's view of the students behind him and giving the permanent impression that class was about to end. With another student, she would have said, Relax and stay awhile, but with Nathan, she was certain she'd said nothing—his response would have been too literal, too humorless. And the coat, surely, would have stayed on, in so doing growing only more visible to the rest of them.

"Was he a good student?" Anna said, her eyes still on the laptop.

"In a way," Maggie said. "He was diligent, as I recall."

"Did he have friends?"

"Not that I knew of." She studied Nathan Dugan's face. His cheeks looked rougher, acne-scarred maybe, though it was hard to tell on the screen. "But I wouldn't have known, necessarily."

"Did you like him?"

Maggie did not think of her students in those terms, made a point of it, like parents with their children. But in fact: No, she hadn't liked him.

"I don't think of my students that way," she said.

From the living room, Anna's cell phone started ringing: the aftermath beginning. Outside, remarkably enough, the world looked as it had just moments before. The sky seemed muted, absent of everything: wind, colors, clouds. Against all that emptiness, the old red barn stood proud, near pristine, etched starkly against the pale afternoon.


Freshman Composition was a required course for all students at Central Maine State University, so it was one that most faculty resented teaching. It was invariably populated by freshmen who didn't want to be there—athletes, slackers, diligent but uninterested math and science majors—but Maggie didn't mind. She liked the challenge of convincing them to love a class they thought they didn't want to take. She prided herself on coaxing even the most passive among them to care about their writing. Write about what matters, she insisted. Anything else is a waste of time.

And they did—just last semester Tyler Barrington, a thickly bearded, 250-pound eighteen-year-old Forestry major and volunteer firefighter, produced lovely elegies to nature. Stacey Cole, who never spoke in class, wrote a moving description of silently building a campfire with her equally silent dad. After twenty-eight years, Maggie could rely on the arc of a semester: the way, in the beginning, the freshmen would be tentative, wary, fifteen variations on insecurity—the glibness, the shyness, the overwrought machismo; was there any teenage behavior without insecurity at the root?—but as the weeks passed, they gained confidence in their work. They came to care about their classmates' essays, respond to them with earnest nods and furrowed brows, script careful comments in the margins. Maggie took them seriously, so they took themselves seriously. (This, she maintained, was the key to being a good teacher: Care so much it's impossible for the students to not care back.)

At the end of fifteen weeks, her students' growth was palpable. On the last day, Maggie always delivered a speech. I'm proud of what you've accomplished, she told them, voice thick with feeling. I will truly miss this class. Often the students lingered, making promises to stay in touch, and Maggie smiled, knowing what they didn't: that despite all good intentions, the course was done. Fifteen weeks: a closed loop. The nostalgic fever of that final hour wouldn't last, and shouldn't; they would head back to their lives, remember the class fondly, and that was fine. The class would begin again. Still, Maggie sometimes felt a sharp sense of loss, almost like grief, driving home on the evening of the last class, final papers huddled in shopping bags on her backseat.

The irony was, outside the classroom, she was not a particularly emotional person. Unshakable—this was one of the more memorable words Tom had lobbed at her, out in the barn, where Anna wouldn't hear. He hadn't meant it kindly. You're so closed off so rigid incapable of seeing things any other—one subject bled into the next, spilling onto the old barn floor. Maggie had been stunned, gutted. Tom had always been easygoing, gentle—passive, even—but suddenly the muck that had been collecting silently inside him for seventeen years exploded like a burst pipe. There was another woman. Naturally. A social worker, from Portland. She's helped me realize how unfulfilled I am, he said, how lonely, and Maggie had not helped dispel these accusations by letting herself go empty, floating toward the ceiling, listening with a soothing sort of detachment, a faint humming sound in her ears.

With students, though, Maggie took comfort in knowing that things would never get so messy. She could state her feelings safely, framed by the contents of their essays, the language and the themes. They were the students and she the teacher—it could go only so far. Even when her marriage was collapsing, and the first true glints of Anna's anxiety were surfacing, and Maggie drove home down the dark wooded roads waiting for the evening when her husband's unhappiness solidified into something—suitcase standing by the door, Anna weeping on the porch—even then Maggie had relied on this structure: Whatever else was happening with her family, in the classroom she could maintain a certain pose, fervent and energetic, tough but affectionate, never breaking character, for ninety minutes focused on nothing but the lesson, on the welfare of the bright young people assembled before her. It was one of the pleasures of teaching. You could forget everything else.


What they knew so far was this: The gun was an AR-15. At eleven thirty, Nathan had entered the Millview Mall through the entrance by the food court, carrying a duffel bag holding two semiautomatic weapons and five spare magazines. He was a fifth-year senior, due to graduate in December, an Engineering major. (Maggie wondered about the reasons for the extra semester—failed classes, unfulfilled credits? Or something more fraught?) There was no word yet on why he'd done it. On the news, the same photo of him was shown repeatedly, over audio of the frantic 911 calls: There's someone shooting! I think he just shot someone! He'd killed at least three people and critically wounded another. The police had found him dead at the scene.

There were live aerial shots of the mall, of people who had been hiding in stores and in stockrooms now running into the parking lot where loved ones had gathered, clutching text messages confirming they were safe. In interviews, survivors were alternately shocked and weeping. They described the chaos, people huddling under tables in the food court or racing for the exits, the trampling of limbs. The sounds of screaming, then the tense, muffled quiet as they tried not to draw attention to themselves. There was the mother Maggie had seen on the Internet. She'd sat on the floor behind a jewelry kiosk, she said, breastfeeding her baby to keep her from making any sound; the baby now slept in her arms. Another woman had been in a Sears dressing room, and as she ran to the food court to find her son, she said, the security tag kept setting off alarms. The food court had been crowded, everyone said. The whole mall was crowded. Ninety degrees out. The mall was air-conditioned: It was someplace to be.

From Maggie's living room, fifteen minutes down the road, the helicopters over the mall were a faint but steady rattle. The kitchen phone rang frequently, the old rotary on the wall by the back door. Most of these calls were from Anna's classmates' mothers—not women Maggie was particularly close to, but they all checked in, a tribe of parents accounting for their children—while Anna hunkered down with her phone in the bay window, checking with friends to see if anyone knew anyone who had been there. It was not impossible, Maggie knew. Especially in the summer, Anna and her classmates were at the mall all the time. She found herself grateful, for once, that none of them rose before noon.

Before long, Anna had heard something: Kim's little brother's best friend, CJ. He'd been working at the Sbarro in the food court. Then, minutes later: a junior, someone named Laura, a friend of Janie's from the basketball team. They were both home now, Anna said, they were okay, but they had been there. Her voice was trembling, but Maggie nodded, kept nodding, trying to keep her as calm as possible. She could see how, for Anna, these personal connections were bringing the tragedy into ghastly focus, and was acutely aware of the anxieties that lay barely dormant inside her. In two days, Anna would be leaving, and Maggie was desperate to keep her from getting thrown off-course. Over the past year, she'd watched as her daughter pieced herself back together, as if seeing the path to college, she'd finally had the incentive to get better. She'd gotten off the Lexapro. She'd stopped starving herself, gained back some of the weight she'd lost. She had applied early to Bradford College in Boston and been accepted, the work ethic that had at times seemed obsessive, even symptomatic, paying off.

It was nearly three thirty when Maggie's cell phone finally buzzed once: call me, the screen said. Maggie glanced at her daughter, texting feverishly, then crept upstairs. "Hi," she said, and closed the bedroom door.

"Can you believe this goddamn thing?"

Maggie sank to the edge of the bed. It was still unmade from that morning, covers peeled back neatly at one corner, like a tabbed page of a book. "I know."

"Walked right into the mall and started shooting. Fucking Christ."

It was one of the things she appreciated about Robert: his directness, lack of filter. Tom was always so even-tempered that when finally he'd burst she was blindsided, but Robert's outrage relaxed her, most of the time.

"It's terrible," she said, her mind roaming for another word, a bigger word, one that would do the thing justice. "It's—unthinkable."

"You didn't have him, did you?"

In the open window, the curtains hung limp as tongues. The air didn't move. The house wasn't air-conditioned, so on rare days like this one, the heat collected like tide pools in the rooms upstairs.

"As a matter of fact," Maggie said, "I can't believe it, but I did." Then she laughed, though she wasn't sure why.

"Me too."

"Did you?" The sharpness of her relief took her by surprise. She sat up straighter. "And?"

"And nothing," Robert said. Maggie could picture how he looked, agitated, pushing one hand through his hair. "I checked my files. He was in my 101 four years ago and I don't remember a damn thing about him. A future killer sitting in my classroom and his name doesn't even ring a bell until I dredge up an old roster and see it sitting there." Robert was clearly bothered, but his lapse was justified. Introduction to American Government was enormous, a lecture course with a reputation for being one of the simplest routes to satisfying a Gen Ed. The class was so large and so popular that it was held in a small theater. There was no attendance policy. Exams were fact-based, objective, dots to darken and feed through a machine—it was nearly impossible to really get to know students in a class like this.

"It's different." She spread her free hand in her lap, bare and freckled, the nails rimmed with dirt. "A class like yours."

"Is it?"

"It's a lecture. It's so much more impersonal."

"What class did you have him in?"

"Comp, of course."

"Why of course?"

"Does this seem like a kid who was taking upper-level writing classes?"

"Why? Because he was a psychopath?"

"No," she said evenly. "Because he was an Engineering major. He wouldn't have taken any writing class but mine."

"You never know, though, do you?"

Maggie didn't reply; she was generalizing, yes, but she knew she wasn't wrong. She stared at the wall above her dresser, where the ceiling sloped steeply downward and the old flowered wallpaper was wrinkled and swollen, stained at the seams. Melted snow had crept through the roof last winter. Five, six feet of snow. Record-setting snow. Route 18 had been a tunnel of darkness, the ten-foot drifts on either side blocking the sun.

"So he was a freshman when you had him," Robert said.

The connection wavered, and Maggie angled slightly toward the window. The reception in here was notoriously shaky; Anna frequently complained that the bay window in the living room was the only reliable spot in the house. Before Robert, this hadn't affected her, as Maggie had never used a cell phone—she despised the cumbersome effort of texting, the electric warmth of metal against her cheek—but she didn't want to talk with him in front of Anna. "Right," she said. "A freshman."

"Was he a whack job?"

"I wouldn't call him that," she said, bristling at the term.

"What would you call him?"

Through the cast-iron grate in the floor, Maggie heard the low hum of the news, the sharp dip and rise of Anna's voice. "Well, I don't know," she said. "It was years ago, after all. Four years ago."

"Point taken," Robert said. Then, thankfully, moved on. Maggie liked this about him too: He never prodded beneath the surface of a thing, wondering what was simmering there unsaid. In part, this was just his personality—big and broad and external, not attuned to nuance—but it was also because their relationship was still relatively new. Because he didn't really know her. He wouldn't know, for example, that she never forgot a student.

"This is going to be hard on the school," he said then. "Enrollment will take a hit."

It was just the kind of thing Robert thought about and Maggie didn't. "But it didn't happen on campus," she said.

"Doesn't matter. He was a student. A current student. A killer in our midst, and nobody picked up on it."

Maggie gave a short laugh. "Sounds like an awful TV movie," she said.

"Bad for business is what it is," Robert replied, which struck her as crass, though he was probably right; after four semesters on campus, Robert had a keener grasp of university politics than she did after almost thirty years. For better or worse, Maggie had always stayed away from all that: She focused on the students, cared little about the rest.

Then he said, "I wish I could be with you right now."

It was disorienting on such a day, in such a moment, but Maggie felt a low flicker of desire. She closed her eyes and pictured Robert there beside her, his sure hands and strong shoulders. His thick hair, still brown but for two blasts of gray at the temples. Tom was a big man too, but lanky and unassuming. Robert was physical, vital, all volume and energy. He rode his bike to campus, swept her up in long kisses. He spoke what was on his mind.

"I want to see you," he said. "I want you, period."

She opened her eyes. "Well, you know," she replied. She let the words just hang there, bloated with implication—well, you know, get a divorce. Well, you know, move out of your house. Robert and his wife were separated but still living together—he occupying one part of the house and she another—though Maggie had played no part in their separation (by the time she met him, on a committee of all things, Robert had already been sleeping in his guest bed). He'd assured her repeatedly that the marriage was over, he just didn't feel he could leave yet. His wife was fragile, possibly depressed. He felt a responsibility to her; he was the reason they had moved to Stafford. Maggie felt uneasy about the arrangement, but understood it, even admired Robert for putting his wife's feelings first. She knew, though, that other people would make assumptions. It was why they never went out in public, why they met mostly in Robert's (larger, less conspicuous) office in Strathmere Hall. This summer, they had barely seen each other, with Anna home and neither of them teaching. A small town, a college campus: One never knew how things could be perceived.

Now he asked, "When does that daughter of yours leave?"

His tone was playful, but still, it bothered her. He knew she didn't like when he referred to Anna, not even lightly. "That's not what's keeping us from being together," she said.

"Oh, Maggie. A joke." He sighed. "I just wish I could see you, that's all."

"Well, I'm available," she said, but cringed at the neediness in her voice. Most of the time, being the one who was legitimately unattached was a safe berth, a role that reassured her. Other times, like now, it made her feel insecure, a high school girl waiting for an invitation to the prom.

"You know I hate this too," Robert said. "But I wish you'd let me in a little."

Outside, the maple stood red-tipped, motionless in the heat. Maggie didn't know how to reply. Tom had accused her of being closed off, but this was different. To put herself out there would be reckless, foolish. Until Robert left his wife, moved out of his house, there was no future here. Whatever he and Maggie were doing together remained within limits; sometimes their whole relationship felt scarcely real.

Then he said, "Okay then," with a suddenness that made clear Suzanne had just entered the room. "Thanks for calling," he added, and like that, he was gone. Call Ended, the screen confirmed. She felt stung, though she had no right. She'd told Robert she wasn't comfortable talking on the phone with his wife in earshot; even if they were separated, it seemed unnecessarily cruel. She placed the phone on one knee and fixed on the old oak dresser, the one that had been her parents' and listed to one side. She pictured Robert's house, a few blocks from the college, an elaborate Victorian she had several times driven by, not accidentally, on her way home from school. Pictured Suzanne appearing in his office doorway, sensing somehow he was on the phone. Maggie had seen her only once, at the university holiday party the previous winter, tall and pale, a native Southerner not cut out for the Maine cold. She'd spent all night by her husband's side. At the time, Maggie had known Robert only a little, but found him so dynamic that she'd been surprised to find he'd married someone so obviously uncomfortable at a party. Her shoulders were slightly stooped, as if curved permanently inward. Fragile, Robert had described her, and Maggie had thought, even in that glimpse, she saw what he meant.

Then again: There were two sides to any story. She'd heard this from Jim Whittier, the couples counselor in whose office she and Tom had spent seven excruciating hours. She preached it to her freshmen every semester, when teaching the significant personal experience essay—everything is a matter of perspective, she told them. Every story of what happened is just a version of what happened. Memory is subjective. Fact and truth are two different things.

Maggie closed her eyes. She was overwhelmed by the desire to lie down. Robert had stayed here at her house just once, early on. A Saturday in March, when Anna's weekend with Tom coincided with Suzanne's visit to her family in South Carolina. It had snowed, and they had stayed inside all weekend, in bed mostly, emerging to make coffee and feed the fire and retrieve the paper—ordinary things, but off-limits they had taken on the quality of a dream. Maggie had sworn, after Tom's affair, she would never be the other woman, and technically, she wasn't. Still, late Sunday morning, when Robert's car drove away, the sight of it had sent a storm of heat to her cheeks. How exposed they had been: Robert's brazen red Jeep rambling down her snowy driveway, flanked with winter maples, visible as a cardinal in a bare tree.



  • "In elegant, gripping prose, If We Had Known offers a startling and empathetic look at the humanity behind the all-too-frequent headlines. Juska has produced that rarest and best kind of literature-a page-turner with a message and a heart."—Darin Strauss, National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author of Half a Life
  • "What a gripping and wise book this is. Elise Juska's unparalleled ability to convey how a single tragic event reaches out to change the lives of many is on full and compelling display here. I love when I read a book like If We Had Known and discover my next go-to gift for all my favorite readers."—Robin Black, author of Life Drawing
  • "[Juska] strikes a cozy tone that is the literary opposite of toxic masculinity...In our age of political rancor and tweet storms befitting our state of emergency, there is something radical about a take on the gun problem that concerns itself more with raising questions than ire."—New York Times Book Review
  • "A tender, whip-smart meditation on the origins and aftermath of tragedy. Here Juska asks us an important and quietly devastating question: In what ways are we responsible to and for each other?"—Carmen Maria Machado, author of the National Book Award Finalist Her Body and Other Parties
  • "Switching between viewpoints, Juska contrasts the actions of a split second and the slow burn of a lifetime of behavior to show that both can have extensive, damning consequences that are rarely foreseen."—Booklist
  • "Captivates through the close and honest lens it places upon each of its characters."—RT Book Review
  • "Juska's story nests in a thicket of current issues: social media, gun violence, teenage anxiety and anorexia, and the responsibility of academics with regard to troubled students. Well-written, realistic, and suspenseful to the point of dread."—Kirkus Reviews
  • "Juska's compelling narrative tackles complex issues about society's judgment of and responsibility for others. Can we accurately predict violent acts? Who is responsible for intervening?"—Shelf Awareness
  • "An incident as timely as the day's headlines-a mall shooting that leaves five dead, including the gunman-catalyzes the plot of this compassionate, searching novel....Moving and memorable in its portrayal of people unexpectedly involved in devastating events."—Publisher's Weekly
  • "A literary tour de force...a riveting new novel about one of the most urgent crisis of our time....Engrossing and provocative, combining sharp plot twists with Juska's award-winning, trademark literary sophistication, If We Had Known is at once an unforgettable mother-daughter journey, an exquisite portrait of a community in turmoil, and a harrowing examination of ethical and moral responsibility in a dangerously interconnected digital world."—Book Bub
  • "Highly readable... Juska constructs "If We Had Known" with intelligence [and] sensitivity...digging deep into her characterizations and settings. Juska also critiques the lure of social media, clearly and smartly depicting its potential for unthinking destructiveness."
    Portland Press Herald
  • "This brilliantly-written novel is a great read for those who look for good fiction built around serious issues."
  • Washington Book Review
  • "Juska explores the aftermath of a violent event in a story that successfully speaks to issues of gun violence, the rise of anxiety in young people, the use and abuse of social media, and the role of educators today, capturing human vulnerability and the impact of tragedy on survivors. Recommended."—Library Journal

On Sale
Apr 17, 2018
Page Count
272 pages

Elise Juska

About the Author

Elise Juska‘s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Ploughshares, Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review, Good Housekeeping, The Hudson Review, and many other publications. She is the recipient of the Alice Hoffman Prize for Fiction from Ploughshares and her work has been cited in The Best American Short Stories. She lives in Philadelphia, where she is the director of the undergraduate creative writing program at the University of the Arts.

Learn more about this author