Corey Fah Does Social Mobility: A Novel (Paperback)
A novel that celebrates radical queer survival and gleefully takes a hammer to false notions of success
This is the story of Corey Fah, a writer who has hit the literary jackpot: their novel has just won the prize for the Fictionalization of Social Evils. But the actual trophy, and with it the funds, hovers peskily out of reach.
Neon-beige, with UFO-like qualities, the elusive trophy leads Corey, with their partner Drew and eight-legged companion Bambi Pavok, on a spectacular quest through their childhood in the Forest and an unlikely stint on reality TV. Navigating those twin horrors, along with wormholes and time loops, Corey learns—the hard way—the difference between a prize and a gift.
Following the Goldsmiths Prize–winning Sterling Karat Gold, Isabel Waidner’s bold and buoyant new novel is about coming into one’s own, the labor of love, the tendency of history to repeat itself, and what ensues when a large amount of cultural capital is suddenly deposited in a place it has never been before.
“Buckle up! Corey Fah Does Social Mobility is a head-spinning, mind-bending roller coaster of fun, horror, and subversion. I love it.”—Kamila Shamsie
“The pure fun and sheer weirdness of Isabel Waidner’s mind cannot be matched; with each book, they get better and better. . . . This is that rare thing: An authentically radical novel that is joyful and hilarious.”—Merve Emre
“When Corey Fah does social mobility, they make room for all the rest of us.”—John Domini, The Brooklyn Rail
"Rare . . . a novel with real stylistic and political ambition"—Zadie Smith, The Guardian
"Corey Fah has been named the winner of a major literary award that turns out to be a UFO... and things get weirder, much much weirder, from there in this bizarre and hilarious look at internet fame and literary success. Waidner’s last novel (Sterling Karat Gold) won the Goldsmiths Prize, which is awarded to fiction that 'extends the possibilities of the novel'—and Corey Fah promises even more gonzo imagination and structural strangeness."—Drew Broussard, Literary Hub
"Waidner’s new book Corey Fah Does Social Mobility features time loops, wormholes, and a literary trophy that behaves like a UFO—all things that pique my interest dramatically."—Tobias Carroll, Tor.com
“This is a deeply funny and unrelentingly bizarre look at the vagaries of literary success, and although Waidner loads it with their trademark absurdity, it’s still grounded by the author’s straight-faced (but lively) prose. It’s beginning to look like there’s nothing the immensely talented Waidner can’t do. Another smart, entertaining dispatch from Waidner's bizarro world.”—Kirkus (starred review)
“The novel is an allegory that argues, effectively, that admission is not the same thing as access. . . . And as the narrative comes to its wild end, Waidner conveys, quite poignantly, that a person has no other choice in this life but to be true to themself.” —Ainslie Hogarth, The New York Times Book Review
“Corey Fah Does Social Mobility is a flashy, punchy whirlwind: Waidner has caught lightning in a bottle.”—Eric A. Ponse, BookPage
"Particularly superb in its portrayal of the personal connection many feel with celebrities, this is a short, delightful, and singular novel from one of the most profoundly different writers around, a worthy follow-up to Waidner's prize-winning Sterling Karat Gold."—Alexander Moran, Booklist
"An emerging writer, on a surreal quest to claim a literary prize, encounters wormholes, time travel and reality TV." —The New York Times Book Review
"A quick read and a real mind-bender, Corey Fah Does Social Mobility is inspired satirical lunacy that delves deeply into social class, how marginalized creators are made to chase after cultural capital with no hope of catching it, queer and nonbinary visibility, capitalism, meat production, and the nature of love. If it doesn't become a cult classic, there's no justice in this—or any other—reality."—Rufus Hickok, Bust Magazine
“Waidner’s original prose spins fantastical imagery with social commentary.”—Frieze (UK), Editor’s Pick
“A dazzlingly original satirical novel about a writer on the edge of glory but struggling to get their hands on the prize.”— Harper’s Bazaar (UK)
“In Corey Fah Does Social Mobility, Waidner gifts us with another wild and radical tale.”— Hero (UK)