Novel set in Michigan, by Michigan raised author – HANNAH VERSUS THE TREE by Leland de la Durantaye (McSweeney’s, Nov 2018)

A novel of stark beauty and even starker consequence.” —Kirkus Reviews 

Unlike anything I have ever read —thriller, myth, dream, and poem combined … Written in an immaculate, lyrically charged, uncannily autonomous prose, this lovely novel is at once a modern story about money and politics and sexual violence, and an ancient fable of grievance and justice. —James Wood, staff writer and book critic, The New Yorker

Betrayal and vengeance have rarely been so elegantly rendered … The beautiful prose exposes and illumines the cost of underestimating an extraordinary girl.” —Amy Hempel


Hannah Versus the Tree coverHannah Versus the Tree

By Leland de la Durantaye

Published by McSweeney’s Books

US/Can publication date: November 20th 2018 (embargoed)

ISBN-13: 978-1-944211-50-9 / $18 / 176 pages

Contact: Jon Maunder | | 203.837.7630


How do you take revenge against someone protected by firewalls of wealth and power?

A radical departure from contemporary storytelling, HANNAH VERSUS THE TREE enthralls the reader immediately and unfolds as an unerringly beautiful fable of lifelong love and a terrific act of vengeance. It presents nothing less than a new literary genre, the mythopoetic thriller.

At the centre of the story is Hannah, a fiercely intelligent young women, and heiress to her powerful family’s fortune. A devastating wrong is done to her when she opposes a family business scheme and her response is a battle cry of astounding violence and beauty. HANNAH VERSUS THE TREE is a gripping fable for our times which burns brightly on every page. There is sex and drugs, punk rock and anarchism, social media scandal and hacking. Rooted in the ancient, it nevertheless captures the wonder, strangeness, and fear of living in the early 21st century.

Although drawing on ancient myths, it is the perfect book for anyone today raging against the regime, impacted by the #metoo movement, and for all those looking for an escape. It is an exquisitely rendered celebration of the art of revenge – in particular against forces which seem too powerful to ever face the consequences of their actions.



Leland de la Durantaye is a critic, translator, and professor. He taught at the École Normale Supérieure and at Harvard for many years and now lives in Los Angeles, where he is a professor of comparative literature at the Claremont Colleges. His journalism and criticism have appeared in The New York TimesThe London Review of BooksBookforumArtforumThe BelieverCabinet, and others. He is also a translator from French and Italian; his translation of the Jacques Jouet novel UPSTAGED (2011) was a finalist for the PEN Best Translated Book of the Year. HANNAH VERSUS THE TREE is his first novel.



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