Paradise Rot

Paradise Rot:A Novel

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Jo is in a strange new country for university and having a more peculiar time than most. In a house with no walls, shared with a woman who has no boundaries, she finds her strange home coming to life in unimaginable ways. Jo’s sensitivity and all her senses become increasingly heightened and fraught, as the lines between bodies and plants, dreaming and wakefulness, blur and mesh.

This debut novel from critically acclaimed artist and musician Jenny Hval presents a heady and hyper-sensual portrayal of sexual awakening and queer desire.


  • In Paradise Rot, Jenny Hval creates a parallel world that’s familiar but subtly skewed. As intriguing and impressive a novelist as she is a musician, Hval is a master of quiet horror and wonder.

    Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick
  • Hval is an expert at creating and sustaining atmospherics across genres, and Paradise Rot is no exception. Paradise Rot is an odd microcosm inside an ordinary world…. It is, in many ways, a novel about finding and then choosing a self; it also shows the pull of unexpected queer desire and the dismantling of boundaries that draw requires. But most of all, in the way that a microscope reveals an unsettling truth about the familiar (that it’s teeming with life you never expected), Paradise Rot is hard to forget.

    Niina PollariPitchfork
  • Hval's curiosity is more than simple pleasure in perversity: It's meant to defile the idea of women's bodies as pristine and plush… and reshape it into something more dreadfully real. Maybe more revolutionary than that transfiguration is her disemboweling of desire itself, unraveling it to its fearsome, primal state, and exploring the strangeness of how sexuality can alienate one from oneself; how feelings of mistrust come about when desire is new, queer and unreliable.

    Mina TavakoliNPR Music