Those Who Knew by Idra Novey

Those Who Knew

From the award-winning author of Ways to Disappear, a taut, timely novel about what a powerful politician thinks he can get away with and the group of misfits who finally bring him down.On an unnamed island country ten years after the collapse of a U.S.-supported regime, Lena suspects the powerful senator she was involved with back in her student activist days is taking advantage of a young woman who's been introducing him at rallies. When the yo...

Details Those Who Knew

TitleThose Who Knew
Release DateNov 6th, 2018
GenreFiction, Feminism, Contemporary, Science Fiction, Dystopia

Reviews Those Who Knew

  • Holly
    While I appreciated this novel's ambition and stylistic difficulty - the non-linear telling, the slipping identities, the political plot, the elision of place names and the setting in an unnamed Latin American-ish island nation - I can't say I actually liked the book. I actually don't understand what it was about, which is to say it was "about" many things but I have trouble integrating the ideas. So I'm surprised at the novel's recent publicity ...
  • Jennifer Croft
    This is one of the most exhilarating novels I’ve read in ages. It’s an astonishingly perfect mosaic—intricate, gorgeous—on the topic of corruption, which feels both timely and timeless. It forms the most complete picture I’ve ever read of this subject, providing the reader with direct access into the minds of would-be revolutionaries, washed-up revolutionaries, those with good intentions and those without, those who’ve lost their way,...
  • Paul
    Such a brilliant book of our now. Politics (plus figurative and literal political ghosts) connect (or ensnaring) the lives of an expertly rendered cast of characters. The result is as enraging as it is inspiring. Between this novel and WAYS TO DISAPPEAR, Idra is now one of my favorite contemporary writers.
  • Doug
    2.5, rounded up.For much of Novey's sophomore novel, I was intrigued and reading quickly to find out how all the myriad and provocative plot threads would resolve themselves, interweave and form a cohesive whole. Unfortunately, the novel just ENDS with no resolution and without anything making much sense. Things which SEEMED to be important in the beginning (the sweater, the death of Maria P.) just fade away, as do most of the subsequent happenin...
  • Nadia
    I consider myself very, very lucky that I got to read an early copy of this highly anticipated book. I loved Ways to Disappear. Novey's second novel enchanted in a different way -- it made me ponder what we let people get away with and why. Political and poetic.
  • Charlie Smith
    Let me begin with my ending: Idra Novey's Those Who Knew is beautiful, classically shaped, compulsively readable, an all too relevant exploration of the moral and ethical conundrums of our troubled times, as lavishly wrought as poetry, rendered in sensational, moving prose, a page-turner-work-of-art, layered, like prescient pentimento. Get your hands on a copy of Those Who Knew as soon as you can, move it to the top of your TBR pile, and glory in...
  • Drew
    5+ out of 5.So very much my kind of novel. I loved what Novey did with the structure, dropping in scenes from plays and clippings from newspapers, and I loved the content of the novel itself: a propulsive look at toxic masculinity in politics, at American intervention in Latin America, at the scars we leave behind us that we might not even be conscious of... And the writing, my god. It's playful even as it is serious, and the book practically dan...
  • Tina
    Subtle and smart. It's like a watercolor of a book, not totally clear.
  •  ⇝LEAH⇜
    I only had about a quarter of this Audiobook yet to listen too...and realized I wasn't really paying attention to it anymore and didn't care...not one bit, where it was going. So I stopped my self-imposed torture. Since I only gave this a try, in the first place, because it fulfilled a reading challenge, anyway.Overall, I think it was a little too smartly written for me...or it was just too confusing. Actually, I think know it's both these factor...
  • Barbara
    “Those Who Knew” is a meditation on the passive role people play in physical abuse and the abuse of power. Lena is the main character, and as a college student had a temporary affair with Victor, which ended when Victor nearly killed her. Lena remained silent and told no one. Victor moves on to become a Senator, and other mysterious deaths of women close to Victor’s political life make Lena pay more attention.This is a timely novel in that ...
  • Margaret King
    I generously received an advance copy of this book from Viking Press. I got hooked into the story right away, and it only took me a few days to finish it. This is an extremely timely novel that is told in an innovative way, with multiple points of view across many years and a couple different nations. I love Idra Novey's writing and style, and can't wait to read her poetry collections after this. I really liked how the book used different ways to...
  • Tristan
    A lot of the articles written about this book mention the #MeToo movement. While I see the connection, I don't think this book is just about that. The book takes on a lot more including U.S. relations with despotic leaders, government corruption, and relationships in general. I particularly enjoyed the interactions of Oscar and Lena when they are reunited years later. We've all wondered if things could have ended differently in a previous relatio...
  • Erin Glover
    Stunning political thriller. Comments shortly.
  • Nadine Jones
    Recommended for fans of: Before She Sleeps And there’s more, Freddy had murmured, even more brutal. I don’t know anyone on this island, Alex had replied, who isn’t one degree removed from more brutality than they can bear to admit. If you loved the dreariness of Nineteen Eighty-Four and The Children of Men, and you don't mind a complete lack of quotation marks (why, authors? WHY????), then you must read this book.I'll be honest, by page 10,...
  • Corey Preston
    The very best kind of fiction, to my mind, subtly reminds, and expands the notion of, what fiction can do.This fine book is the best kind of fiction. It also happens to be propulsive, painful and deeply human, which is pretty great too.Thanks AIP.
  • Caroline Hagood
    Idra Novey started her writing career as a poet, and she brings this lyrical sensibility to her two novels, the 2016 Ways to Disappear and her new book, out next week, Those Who Knew. She’s also an accomplished translator of a number of pivotal Brazilian works, including Clarice Lispector’s The Passion According to G.H. Perhaps as a result of her movements between various linguistic spheres—whether it be poetry and prose or actual different...
  • Hilary Reyl
    I could not put this book down. It's an intimate political thriller with a propulsive plot. The writing is very taut - not a wasted word. Yet the characters and story feel very deep and fleshed out, so a reader does not have the unsatisfied feeling that can sometimes come from a sparely written book. It's moving and beautiful, a very emotional read. The writing is poetic, but never overwrought, and the poetry is always in service of a great story...
  • Michael Boyte
    Gorgeous and layered, a blistering critique of Imperialism and toxic masculinity. I read this in two days, and had trouble putting it down.
  • Candice
    I absolutely LOVED this book and was so incredibly glad one of my book clubs chose this as their January pick. This book is completely ideal if you are looking for fuel to light an intense debate between readers.I 100% appreciate the remarkable unique structure and voice behind this book. Idra Novey has a very specific voice and this book is still echoing through my head. The work done to create very ambiguous, complex characters is second to non...
  • Jamise // Spines & Vines
    2.5 stars Meh, didn’t do anything for me. This is my second novel by this author and once again I say if you’re looking for an amazing climatic plot, this is not the book. The premise was good but I felt like it fell flat. She has a nice writing style but at times I felt that it was all over the place.
  • Hilary Zaid
    A brilliant jewel box of a novel with so much richness held inside. The first sentence is a master class in itself. At long last, a 21st c. novel of multiple POVs that feels coherent, compelling and whole. An excellent novel.
  • Pascale
    I don't really know how to categorize this one... was it speculative fiction, an alternate history? What was the unnamed island? Cuba?All I do know is that the writing was superb and I was hooked from beginning to end.
  • Marcia Meakim
    All in all an engrossing read...although I have to admit at times I needed to reread to figure out which character was telling that part of the story. Very timely, given the Me Too movement in the news frequently. The characters never came alive for me, which hampered my enjoyment of the book. The prose is so beautiful, evoking such strong visual images. Although I cannot rave about this particular novel, I am interested in reading more by this a...
  • Lisa
    What a great quick read! Novey writes about a fictional island nation recovering from an American-backed dictatorship. It was fun to go in not knowing anything.
  • A.N.
    I teach literature and have to voraciously read novels for a living. That said, I found Novey's _Those Who Knew_ by far THE BEST novel I read in 2018. Its exquisite style did not strike me as a huge surprise given Novey's solid background in poetry, translation, and, of course, given her success with her previous novel. Her background in poetry has allowed her, once more, to know the exact right word for each moment. She writes like a natural bor...
  • Eileen Pollack
    I stayed up way past my bedtime finishing Idra Novey's Those Who Knew. This is the best novel I've read since I finished Elena Ferrante's amazing Neapolitan series. Here we have the same jagged, brilliant, wise writing, the same deeply felt relationships among female characters of all social classes, the same focus on the way powerful male politicians can browbeat, even terrorize, even the smartest, feistiest women ... We get women as lovers, mot...
  • Kurt Kemmerer
    Those Who Knew is a tour de force, telling a story much bigger than its word count would indicate. The tale’s universality, the poetic prose, the creative story telling combine almost perfectly, making the tome’s necessary challenge to readers simple, profound, human, and difficult. Did I mention how much character development occurs in so few sentences? I suspect most people need this book, but I bet they’ll want it once they start.