Ruth MadievskyJul 11, 2023
On the night of her high school graduation, a young woman follows her older sister Debbie to Salvation, a Los Angeles bar patronized by energy healers, aspiring actors, and all-around misfits. After the two share a bag of unidentified pills, the evening turns into a haze of sensual and risky interactions--nothing unusual for two sisters bound in an incredibly toxic relationship. Our unnamed narrator has always been under the spell of the alluring and rebellious Debbie and, despite her own hesitations, she has always said yes to nights like these. That is, until Debbie disappears.
Falling deeper into the life she cultivated with her sister, our narrator gets a job as an emergency room secretary where she steals pills to sell on the side. Cue Sasha, a Jewish refugee from the former Soviet Union who arrives at the hospital claiming to be a psychic tasked with acting as the narrator's spiritual guide. The nature of this relationship evolves and blurs, a kaleidoscope of friendship, sex, mysticism, and ambiguous power dynamics.
With prose pulsing like a neon sign, Ruth Madievsky's All-Night Pharmacy (Catapult, 2023) is an intoxicating portrait of a young woman consumed with unease over how a person should be. As she attempts sobriety and sexual embodiment, she must decide whether to search for her estranged sister, or allow her to remain a relic of the past.
Originally from Moldova, Ruth Madievsky is a novelist, poet, and essayist living in Los Angeles. Her debut novel, All-Night Pharmacy, has been named a Most Anticipated 2023 Book by The Los Angeles Times, Vogue, Buzzfeed, and elsewhere. Her debut poetry collection, Emergency Brake ,was the winner of the Wrolstad Contemporary Poetry Series and spent five months on Small Press Distribution's Poetry Bestsellers list. She was the winner of The American Poetry Review's Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize, The Iowa Review's Tim McGinnis Award for fiction, and a Tin House scholarship in poetry.
- Vikram Seth, The Golden Gate
- Tembe Denton-Hurst, Homebodies
- Mina Seckin, Four Humors
- Maggie Milner, Couplets
Chris Holmes is Chair of Literatures in English and Associate Professor at Ithaca College. He writes criticism on contemporary global literatures. His book, Kazuo Ishiguro as World Literature, is under contract with Bloomsbury Publishing. He is the co-director of The New Voices Festival, a celebration of work in poetry, prose, and playwriting by up-and-coming young writers.