The Likely World

Single mom Mellie has just emerged from a shattering addiction to the memory drug, cloud, when a stranger who may be her baby’s father appears with a dangerous agenda.

Twenty years of addiction to cloud, a drug which wipes the user’s short-term memory, have left single mom Mellie with her mind in fragments. With the help of a tough-minded sponsor, and motivated by her own medically-challenged daughter, Mellie clings to a fragile sobriety. Then, on the evening of her twenty-ninth day sober, a stranger pulls into her driveway and her heart surges. However, when Mellie’s pursuit of this man and the past they may share threatens her sponsor, Mellie will have to put her tiny family and her recovery at risk in hopes of saving the woman who saved her first.


“Conroy-Goldman’s gritty street postmodernism will rewire your brain in ways that recall David Foster Wallace or Philip K. Dick. But it’s the depth of feeling here, about love, about motherhood, reminiscent of Rachel Kushner or Claire Vaye Watkins, that will break your heart.”—Peter Ho Davies, author of The Fortunes, a Chautauqua Prize winner

“The Likely World is bizarre and beautiful, equal parts brainy lit and gut-bucket pulp. Its heroine is unlike any female character I’ve ever encountered and I love her.”—Mary Gaitskill, author of Veronica, a finalist for the 2005 National Book Award

“Inside the strata of motherhood and memory a pulse throbs, a rhythm around a body that won’t quit asking: who are you? Where are you? Why? The woman at the center of The Likely World vibrates between addiction, memory, nostalgia and being in a future landscape about ten second from our present tense. To be sober in The Likely World is to risk having heart again; to be fully alive is to risk having your heart broken open. I love this mother. I love this daughter. I love this revision of what we mean when we say family–fragmenting its way into the future one glorious mind flip at a time. I fucking love this book.”—Lidia Yuknavitch, author of Verge

A grey background with a painting of a person who’s head is submerged inside a cloud, with white typography made to look like clouds spelling out The Likely World a novel by Melanie Conroy Goldman.

Melanie Conroy-Goldman ( Author Website )

Publication Date: August 4, 2020

Genre/Imprint: Fiction, Red Hen Press

$18.95 Tradepaper

Shop: Red Hen, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble

ISBN: 978-1-59709-808-3


Vanity Fair: Admiration Society

Lysley Tenorio, author of the trenchant family comedy The Son of Good Fortune, recommends The Likely World by Melanie Conroy Goldman. Check out the full feature in the July/August 2020 […]