The Lookback Window: A Novel (Hardcover)

The Lookback Window: A Novel By Kyle Dillon Hertz Cover Image
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New York Times Editors’ Choice
Debutiful Best Book of the Year
One of Crimereads Best Crime Novels of 2023
“Hertz has managed to tell a story of queer healing with all the narrative force of a thriller and the searing fury of an indictment.” —The New York Times Book Review

A fearless debut novel of resilience, transcendence, and the elusive promise of justice.

Growing up in suburban New York, Dylan lived through the unfathomable: three years as a victim of sex trafficking at the hands of Vincent, a troubled young man who promised to marry Dylan when he turned eighteen. Years later—long after a police investigation that went nowhere, and after the statute of limitations for the crimes perpetrated against him have run out—the long shadow of Dylan’s trauma still looms over the fragile life in the city he’s managed to build with his fiancé, Moans, who knows little of Dylan’s past. His continued existence depends upon an all-important mantra: To survive, you live through it, but never look back.

Then a groundbreaking new law—the Child Victims Act—opens a new way foreword: a one-year window during which Dylan can sue his abusers. But for someone who was trafficked as a child, does money represent justice—does his pain have a price? As Dylan is forced to look back at what happened to him and try to make sense of his past, he begins to explore a drug and sex-fueled world of bathhouses, clubs, and strangers’ apartments, only to emerge, barely alive, with a new clarity of purpose: a righteous determination to gaze, unflinching, upon the brutal men whose faces have haunted him for a decade, and to extract justice on his own terms.

“Hertz writes with a powerful blend of publicly experienced scene and deeply private interiority...[he] expertly presents both the rapturous façade of post-closet gay life and the cracks in its hastily constructed foundation,” (Slant). Hertz’s debut is “cathartic and revelatory…[and] a gritty recovery story that packs a punch” (The Bay Area Reporter). It offers a startling glimpse at the unraveling of trauma—and the light that peeks, faintly, and often in surprising ways, from the other side of the window.

About the Author


Kyle Dillon Hertz is the author of The Lookback Window, a New York Times Editors’ Choice. His work can be found in Esquire, Freemans, Time, and more. He received his MFA from NYU and a residency from Yaddo. He teaches at The New School. 

Praise For…


**A PW Writer to Watch**
Electric Literature: “The Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Books for Summer 2023”
New York Times Editors’ Choice
One of Vanity Fair's "20 Favorite Books of 2023
Debutiful Best Book of the Year
One of CrimeReads' Best Crime Novels of 2023


"Hertz has managed to tell a story of queer healing with all the narrative force of a thriller and the searing fury of an indictment. It’s an achievement of language, of style, in which the process of finding one’s way back to the world is considered at least in part as an act of learning to 'speak the unspeakable.' It’s a matter, Hertz seems to say, of finding the right words....At his best, Hertz sheds the trappings of traditional realism, adopting instead a swerving, almost psychedelic style that mirrors the abrupt and mercurial perceptions of a turbulent mind. He follows the worthy example of writers like Jean Rhys, Gary Indiana and Denis Johnson."
—The New York Times Book Review

"At turns poetic and chilling—and wholly, unapologetically queer—The Lookback Window...is brutally told. I had to look away, put the book down, take a deep breath often. But it proved impossible to ever stay away from."—Tyler Breitfeller, Vanity Fair

"[The Lookback Window is] a herald of disruption, transcendence, and resilience, and its momentum is unlikely to halt anytime soon."BOMB

"Hertz writes with a powerful blend of publicly experienced scene and deeply private interiority...[he] expertly presents both the rapturous façade of post-closet gay life and the cracks in its hastily constructed foundation."Slant Magazine

"Cathartic and revelatory, this is a gritty recovery story that packs a punch."Bay Area Reporter

“Hertz’s haunting debut gazes unwaveringly into the darkness—and unexpected light—of memory."
—Electric Literature 
 
"The prose is remarkable, alternating from lush sensuality to unsparing brutality to quick cutting asides. This marks the arrival of a vital new talent."
—Publishers Weekly 
 
“A promising debut seeking storytelling to match the trauma it evokes.” 
—Kirkus
 
“This forceful, necessary novel…depicts the often silent suffering and unfathomable effects of sexual abuse. Readers of Garth Greenwell or Eimear McBride will find it well worth diving into.”
—Library Journal
 

"The Lookback Window will shake you to your core... Kyle Dillon Hertz’s phenomenal prose is tender and powerful and provides moments of beauty and hope even in the darkest and more harrowing moments."
—Debutiful 
 
“…in its sensitive portrayal of the profoundly social nature of recovery and justice, The Lookback Window asks us to consider in all its complexity the question of how we might be able to make a better world together.”
—Interview Magazine
 
“Kyle Dillon Hertz’s searing debut novel puts a spotlight on male sexual abuse and a path toward healing…The Lookback Window powerfully explores the lasting effects of childhood trauma.” 
—Shondaland

"Once in a while a book rattles your soul and you know it will stay with you forever. This is a stunner."—Steven Rowley, bestselling author of The Guncle 

The Lookback Window is a beautiful and heartbreaking tour de force. Hertz writes vengeance as salvation, refusal as a reclamation of humanity.”
—Raven Leilani, New York Times bestselling author of Luster 
 
"The Lookback Window shines light in the darkest places—sometimes reflecting off the surface of a pool, other times off the blade of a knife, always gleaming. With elegant prose and propulsive energy, Hertz generates power by refusing to look away. The result is luminous."
—Tess Gunty, winner of the National Book Award for The Rabbit Hutch 
 

"Kyle Dillon Hertz's The Lookback Window is fearless, by which I mean vulnerable. Sentence by sentence, it moves along with a fierce and psychedelic honesty reminiscent of Joan Didion's best work. I'm amazed by how much beauty and humor Hertz is able to mine from the most harrowing of circumstances. There's a multi-level testimony—and indictment—here for those brave enough to face it. The Lookback Window is audacious, scandalous, and startling in ways that can only be properly conveyed by a pen as careful and compassionate as Hertz's. A gutsy, unflinching debut."
—Robert Jones, Jr., author of The New York Times bestseller, The Prophets, a finalist National Book Award
 
"Exceptional and electrifying, Kyle Dillon Hertz's The Lookback Window defies, challenges and escapes the/all rules, becoming an utterly unique, riveting and sensational work of fiction. A triumph, a masterful exploration of forgiving and forgetting—of the fight for what is right, and yours."
—Pajtim Statovci, author of National Book Award finalist Crossing
 
The Lookback Window is an unforgettable debut, as beautiful as it is brutal. Kyle Dillon Hertz's writing is immediate, unvarnished, and authentic, and his novel investigates all that is fragile and unbreakable in the human psyche. This is a powerful book that kept me up at night. It won't soon let go of me.” 
—Edan Lepucki, author of the New York Times bestseller California 
 
“Raw and urgent, The Lookback Window dares us to follow in its search for justice—and what lies beyond. Kyle Dillon Hertz has written an uncompromising journey. An incredibly moving one, too.”
—Zak Salih, author of Let’s Get Back to the Party


Product Details
ISBN: 9781668005873
ISBN-10: 1668005875
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: August 1st, 2023
Pages: 288
Language: English
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