Amy Shearn is the author of the critically acclaimed novels How Far Is the Ocean from Here, chosen as a notable debut by Poets & Writers and a hot summer read by the Chicago Tribune, and The Mermaid of Brooklyn, which was a selection of Target’s Emerging Authors program, a Hudson News Summer Reads pick, and was also published in the UK and as an audiobook. She is a fiction editor for Joyland Magazine, and her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Real Simple, and many literary publications. She earned an MFA from the University of Minnesota, has received a Promise Award grant from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and has participated in residencies at SPACE on Ryder Farm and elsewhere. Amy lives in New York City with her two children.
Publication Date: September 29, 2020
Unseen City is a multi-generational portrait of New York and the unexpected connections between a lonely Brooklyn librarian, a widower returning to his roots, and a ghost still lingering in a home that was once part of an activist-founded farming settlement.
In a city teeming with stories, how do lost souls find one another? It’s a question Meg Rhys doesn’t think she’s asking. Meg is a self-identified spinster librarian, satisfied with living with her cat, stacks of books, and her dead sister’s ghost in her New York City apartment. Then she becomes obsessed with an intriguing library patron and the haunted house he’s trying to research. The house has its own story to tell too, of love and war, of racism’s fallout and the ghost story that is gentrification, and of Brooklyn before it was Brooklyn. What follows is an exploration of what home is, how we live with loss, who belongs in the city and to whom the city belongs, and the possibilities and power of love.
AWARDS AND DISTINCTIONS
GOLD MEDAL in the 2021 Independent Publisher Book Awards in Literary Fiction
“Gripping, moving, and vital, Unseen City asks how human life might defy its lifespan—in the throes of love, the conviction of belief, and each person’s mark upon a city that will survive them. For two days, I laughed at Amy Shearn’s wry humor and gasped at her gorgeous sentences; I couldn’t put this brilliant book down until its perfect final line (and I’m haunted still—which is appropriate, I suppose)!”—Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, bestselling author of June and Bittersweet
“Atmospheric, poignant, well-observed, and sneakily funny, Amy Shearn’s Unseen City is one from the heart, an absorbing read for all those who love Brooklyn, great writing, and the human spirit.”—Kevin Baker, bestselling author of The Big Crowd and America the Ingenious
“If Amy Shearn’s fiction is as much fun to write as it is to read, that’s welcome news because it’s impossible to read her novels without wanting more, more, more. In true Shearn style, Unseen City is whip-smart, hilarious, and also deeply touching, and this story about mismatched New Yorkers finding common ground in a city they’ve decided—come hell or higher rent—to adore, will delight and charm you long after the last page.”—Courtney Maum, author of I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You and Touch and founder of the learning collaborative, The Cabins.
“In Unseen City Amy Shearn has written a sad and funny and profound book. This is a novel about grief and human connection, about today and yesterday. And it is damn hard to put down.”—Darin Strauss, bestselling author of Half a Life and More Than It Hurts You
“I wish I had written this book. I wish I could publish this book tomorrow. It’s smart, funny, and gorgeously written. I am in awe.”—Julia Fierro, author of The Gypsy Moth Summer and Cutting Teeth, and director of the Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop
“Unseen City is a bold take on the way that history binds us and how our stories are woven into and overlap in the very interstices of the city. It is an entrancing story of falling in and out of love and grief with a city, a person, a home.”—Naomi Jackson, award-winning author of The Star Side of Bird Hill