Nobody, Somebody, Anybody: A Novel

Nobody, Somebody, Anybody: A Novel

by Kelly McClorey

Narrated by Sarah Naughton

Unabridged — 8 hours, 6 minutes

Kelly McClorey
Nobody, Somebody, Anybody: A Novel

Nobody, Somebody, Anybody: A Novel

by Kelly McClorey

Narrated by Sarah Naughton

Unabridged — 8 hours, 6 minutes

Kelly McClorey

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Overview

“It's My Year of Rest and Relaxation, but with fewer pills and more boats.” -Entertainment Weekly

A moving and darkly comic debut novel about an anxious young woman who administers a self-made “placebo” treatment in a last-ditch attempt to rebuild her life

Amy Hanley has a job as a maid for the summer, but on August 25, she will take the exam to become an EMT (third time's the charm!) and finally move on with her life. In the meantime, she doesn't mind scrubbing toilets immaculately clean or tucking the sheet corners just so. In fact, she tells herself that her work is a noble act of service to the rich guests at the yacht club.

Amy's profound isolation colors everything: her job, her aspirations, even her interactions with the woman at the deli counter. And as the date for the EMT exam comes closer, Amy's anxiety ratchets up in a way that is both familiar and troubling. In desperation, she concocts a “placebo” program-a self-prescribed regimen for her confidence, devised to trick herself into succeeding.

When her landlord, Gary, starts to invite her over for dinner-to practice his cooking skills as he awaits approval of his Ukrainian fiancé's visa-Amy makes her first friend since her mother's passing. Alongside this unexpected connection comes a surge of hopeful obsession that Amy knows she must reckon with before the summer's end.

Tender and laugh-out-loud funny, Nobody, Somebody, Anybody explores the shadowy corners of a young woman's inner world of grief, delusion, and self-loathing, revealing the creeping loneliness of modern life and our endless search for connection. Kelly McClorey captures the hilarity and heartbreak of American ambition.



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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

10/11/2021

In McClorey’s droll debut, a young woman is on the brink of getting her life together, or so she hopes. After dropping out of “a rather elite university,” Amy Hanley scrubs toilets as a chambermaid at the Salters Cove Yacht Club outside Boston, buoyed by thoughts of Florence Nightingale and the value of cleanliness as she studies for her third and final attempt at the EMT cognitive exam. Inspired by the “placebo effect” from her studies, she forges a test result and certification card, hoping they will help put her in the right mindset to achieve success. To combat her suffocating loneliness, she begins opening her landlord Gary’s mail, and learns he’s awaiting the arrival of his fiancée, Irina, whom he met on an international dating service cruise. Amy and Gary form an unlikely bond as she helps him prepare for Irina’s arrival, and the placebo effect extends beyond her work life as she strives to find companionship with a man but sabotages her efforts with random hookups and deceit. With dark humor, McClorey conveys Amy’s denial and hope in equal measures as she struggles through the minefield of her 20s hoping to find someone to share her life with. Fans of Ottessa Moshfegh will want to give this a shot. Agent: Sarah Bowlin, Aevitas Creative Management. (July)

From the Publisher

A poignant, empathic debut novel. . . . It’s a moving story, well told, and Amy, who you might not want to spend time with in real life, will linger in your imagination long after the final pages.” — Boston Globe

"McClorey manages to capture the human desire to shape our lives with narratives — and how devastating it can be when reality departs from them." — New York Times Book Review

“A startling and charming debut…. McClorey has more than a trace of John Kennedy Toole’s uproarious plot making and brilliant craftsmanship to her, with interior and exterior dialogue that sings and descriptions that slice through the daily world…. With a singular voice, a carousing, quixotic, dauntless protagonist, rich and organic humor, the disarming, thought provoking ending, and above all, the current of sadness and depth of humanity that runs below the surface, time and again the reader finds themselves simply impressed with Nobody, Somebody, Anybody.” — Chicago Review of Books

“Darkly funny.” — Entertainment Weekly

“A poignant comedy starring an endearing female character.” — Kirkus Reviews

"In this debut novel about mothers and daughters and growing up, McClorey unfurls Amy’s lonely, paranoid, angry, delusional, and paralyzed life in one cringe-inducing encounter after another.... With beautiful subtlety, McClorey conveys warping loneliness." — Booklist

“Kelly McClorey's Nobody, Somebody, Anybody is a beautiful book about very messy people. McClorey's writing is sharp and witty and her novel is thoroughly hilarious. This book forces us to examine the desperately human, utterly embarrassing ways that people can f— up and gives us permission to revel in it. Compulsively readable, Nobody, Somebody, Anybody is spectacular and Kelly McClorey is a dynamo.” — Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things

“I read Nobody, Somebody, Anybody the way I watch horror films: half-hiding behind my fingers, both worried for the anxious young protagonist and eager to know what trouble she’d find herself in next. Kelly McClorey’s voice is funny, heartbreaking, and singular—unlike anything I’ve ever read. This is a book for anyone who’s ever been sad or stuck, or longed to be somewhere or someone else. I loved it.”  — Rachel Khong, author of Goodbye, Vitamin

“Is there anything more heartbreaking and hopeful than a young woman hurtling through the present to an unknown future? Amy in Nobody, Somebody, Anybody is everyone we used to be before becoming ourselves — anxious; comically obsessive; existentially lost. And just when we fear she’ll never find her way, her story reminds us that if you can survive your youth, you can survive absolutely anything.” — Laura Zigman, author of Separation Anxiety

“You can drop the debut novel stuff and just call McClorey's Nobody, Somebody, Anybody a wonderful novel, period. Mercifully lacking in pretentiousness (thank god), Amy's voice is so propulsive a reader will follow her anywhere—even when it's not quite anywhere, which is the beauty of it. Some rare books you fall into from the opening sentence and this is one of those. Nothing more this reader could want.” — Peter Orner, author of Love and Shame and Love

Chicago Review of Books

A startling and charming debut…. McClorey has more than a trace of John Kennedy Toole’s uproarious plot making and brilliant craftsmanship to her, with interior and exterior dialogue that sings and descriptions that slice through the daily world…. With a singular voice, a carousing, quixotic, dauntless protagonist, rich and organic humor, the disarming, thought provoking ending, and above all, the current of sadness and depth of humanity that runs below the surface, time and again the reader finds themselves simply impressed with Nobody, Somebody, Anybody.

Rachel Khong

I read Nobody, Somebody, Anybody the way I watch horror films: half-hiding behind my fingers, both worried for the anxious young protagonist and eager to know what trouble she’d find herself in next. Kelly McClorey’s voice is funny, heartbreaking, and singular—unlike anything I’ve ever read. This is a book for anyone who’s ever been sad or stuck, or longed to be somewhere or someone else. I loved it.” 

Entertainment Weekly

Darkly funny.

Boston Globe

A poignant, empathic debut novel. . . . It’s a moving story, well told, and Amy, who you might not want to spend time with in real life, will linger in your imagination long after the final pages.

Peter Orner

You can drop the debut novel stuff and just call McClorey's Nobody, Somebody, Anybody a wonderful novel, period. Mercifully lacking in pretentiousness (thank god), Amy's voice is so propulsive a reader will follow her anywhere—even when it's not quite anywhere, which is the beauty of it. Some rare books you fall into from the opening sentence and this is one of those. Nothing more this reader could want.

Kristen Arnett

Kelly McClorey's Nobody, Somebody, Anybody is a beautiful book about very messy people. McClorey's writing is sharp and witty and her novel is thoroughly hilarious. This book forces us to examine the desperately human, utterly embarrassing ways that people can f— up and gives us permission to revel in it. Compulsively readable, Nobody, Somebody, Anybody is spectacular and Kelly McClorey is a dynamo.

New York Times Book Review

"McClorey manages to capture the human desire to shape our lives with narratives — and how devastating it can be when reality departs from them."

Booklist

"In this debut novel about mothers and daughters and growing up, McClorey unfurls Amy’s lonely, paranoid, angry, delusional, and paralyzed life in one cringe-inducing encounter after another.... With beautiful subtlety, McClorey conveys warping loneliness."

Laura Zigman

Is there anything more heartbreaking and hopeful than a young woman hurtling through the present to an unknown future? Amy in Nobody, Somebody, Anybody is everyone we used to be before becoming ourselves — anxious; comically obsessive; existentially lost. And just when we fear she’ll never find her way, her story reminds us that if you can survive your youth, you can survive absolutely anything.

Booklist

"In this debut novel about mothers and daughters and growing up, McClorey unfurls Amy’s lonely, paranoid, angry, delusional, and paralyzed life in one cringe-inducing encounter after another.... With beautiful subtlety, McClorey conveys warping loneliness."

Kirkus Reviews

2021-04-14
A lonely young woman who works as a maid at a yacht club reaches for connection but grasps only straws.

McClorey's debut is a poignant comedy starring an endearing female character whose quirkiness seems to be rooted in some unspecified admixture of disorders that is never fully pinned down in the book. Maybe that's just the point, so readers who identify with the eccentric protagonist don't have to climb over a diagnosis to get there. Though Amy Hanley attended a "rather elite university," as she reminds herself frequently, she is cleaning hotel rooms as she waits to take the test to become an EMT at the end of the summer, hoping to follow in the footsteps of her hero, Florence Nightingale. To short-circuit her terrible anxiety about the exam, she decides to apply a theory she learned in her favorite college class. "It might not be common practice to placebo oneself, but why not try? Weren't we all doing it to some extent every day anyway? Telling ourselves mind over matter, think positively, visualize, manifest, fake it till you make it." In Amy's case, this involves pretending she has already passed the test, making herself a fake results letter and certification card, and celebrating over cake with her landlord, who is also her only friend. What a tangled web we weave....McClorey has the courage to make Amy less than completely likable, which gives the book an interesting edge, but her courage seems to fail in the final pages. The story stops rather than ends, pretending to be more conclusive and less depressing than it is.

Like a tasty half sandwich. What's here is good, but it's not quite enough.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940176987331
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/04/2022
Edition description: Unabridged

Customer Reviews