All This Could Be Different
All This Could Be Different
Author: Sarah Thankam Mathews
Page Count: 320
Published: August 2, 2022
From a brilliant new voice comes an electrifying novel of a young immigrant building a life for herself—a warm, dazzling, and profound saga of queer love, friendship, work, and precarity in twenty-first century America
Graduating into the long maw of an American recession, Sneha is one of the fortunate ones. She’s moved to Milwaukee for an entry-level corporate job that, grueling as it may be, is the key that unlocks every door: she can pick up the tab at dinner with her new friend Tig, get her college buddy Thom hired alongside her, and send money to her parents back in India. She begins dating women—soon developing a burning crush on Marina, a beguiling and beautiful dancer who always seems just out of reach.
But before long, trouble arrives. Painful secrets rear their heads; jobs go off the rails; evictions loom. Sneha struggles to be truly close and open with anybody, even as her friendships deepen, even as she throws herself headlong into a dizzying romance with Marina. It’s then that Tig begins to draw up a radical solution to their problems, hoping to save them all.
A beautiful and capacious novel rendered in singular, unforgettable prose, All This Could Be Different is a wise, tender, and riveting group portrait of young people forging love and community amidst struggle, and a moving story of one immigrant’s journey to make her home in the world.
A Phenomenal Book Club Pick • A Vogue Book Club Pick • A Good Housekeeping Book Club Pick • A The Rumpus Book Club Pick • An Autostraddle Book Club Pick
2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
A New York Times Editors' Choice Pick
“Mathews has a big heart and a sharp tongue…[and] a wonderful eye for the things that make friendship and community just as valuable as romance.” —The New York Times Book Review
“What fuels [All This Could Be Different] is love, a force Mathews portrays not as a panacea [...] but as an instrument of change.” —The New Yorker
“Both lyrical and page-turning . . . All This Could Be Different, in which the lives of a group of millennials become fascinatingly entangled [...] offers us a panoramic view of mingled desires, fears, and joys that will be familiar to readers of Eliot and Austen, but [Mathews] does them one better: her novel is about an underrepresented first-generation immigrant, and it’s incredibly gay.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
“A darkly witty and finely wrought exploration of the struggle to embrace one's identity, this debut also illuminates the hardships of immigrant life, the elusiveness of lasting romantic love—and ultimately the joy and belonging that can come from a 'family' of friends.” —People
“This bold and wide-ranging novel sets its sights on what it really means to be 'okay' . . . [asking] questions that have consumed innumerable 20-somethings . . . Mathews expertly captures and elevates the position of being a young queer person in the post-recession U.S. with many more questions than answers.” —Emma Spector, Vogue
“Engrossing . . . a moving immigrant’s story and a heartfelt queer love story that tackles socioeconomic issues with nuance . . . its themes are universally relatable at any age.” —Rolling Stone
“Sneha’s equally vulnerable and cutting narration of new friendships, new romances, and generally figuring it out captures the queer, immigrant experience unlike any other.” —Harper's Bazaar
“A wholly original exploration of queer friendship and the demanding, incredible realities of communal living, Sarah Thankam Mathews convinces the reader that yes, maybe all this could be different after all.” —Vulture, “The Best Books of 2022”
“[What] initially blew me away was the clarity of Mathews’ writing and the accuracy with which she describes experiences I’d previously taken for granted. Her writing is funny, incisive . . . This book gave me a lot to ponder, but ultimately left me hopeful.” —David Vogel, Buzzfeed
“Radiant . . . Mathews’ writing is daring, sharp, and authoritative. She’s a master in building rich characters that are imperfect and complicated, charismatic and lovable. At times, the prose felt luxurious and welcoming in the way that the scent of your favorite candle might slowly fill up an ever-expanding room.” —Vox
“[One of] our most anticipated releases of the season . . . [written] with tenderness and exhilaration.” —Elle
“One of the buzziest, most human novels of the year…breathless, dizzying, and completely beautiful.” —Vogue