A debut novel, out now from Tortoise Books!
Stuart M. Ross’s debut novel, Jenny in Corona, introduces a brilliant new literary voice. Set in Queens and Manhattan in the aughts, the book is narrated by Ty, a half-Jewish, half-Catholic twenty-something who works for a business consulting firm on Wall Street. He’s in love with Jenny, a fledgling writer from his Queens neighborhood, but she finds ways to keep her distance. He’s also smitten with his co-worker, Krista Kaplan, but she’s his supervisor and skeptical of Ty because of his relationship with Jenny. His mother has recently died, his father spends most of his time watching movies from the Rocky and Superman franchises, and a senior boss wants Ty to fire his office’s only male African American team member for nebulous reasons.
While the underlying plot elements of this novel are well-charged, the real star of this book is Ty’s voice, which is by turns hilarious, poetically observant, psychologically incisive, and always off-beat. The novel questions our culture from a hundred directions, sometimes with sly allusions or double-jointed ironies, leaving readers in the exhilarating but uncomfortable position of having to think for ourselves about our collective plight.
“Jenny in Corona is by turns hilarious and devastating and profound. Stuart Ross has one of the strangest minds I’ve ever encountered; I say this not as a warning but as an enthusiastic endorsement.”
—Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers
“Jenny in Corona is a remarkable New York City novel, a book as funny as it is moving.”
This hilariously poignant novel from an indie press is seemingly flying under a lot of radars. It shouldn’t be. Jenny in Corona is a must read for those looking for something a little more peculiar than the typical recommendation. This is a career you’ll want to follow.
“It’s a pleasure to dive into the warped mind of Jenny in Corona’s protagonist, and see Queens through his eyes.”
“Jenny in Corona grabs your attention with its narrative voice.”
—New City Lit
“A beautiful, moving, and utterly strange novel.”
—Centered on Books
“A vivid representation of the diffuse, ambiguous, turbulent nature of youth.”
“There’s something wonderful about the way Stuart Ross sees the world and the way he translates that over into this book filled with confused people in confusing times. Jenny in Corona takes the mundane and twists it into something that is funny, bittersweet, and undeniably brilliant. He’s given us the modern bildungsroman that we need as much as we deserve.”
—Jason Diamond, author of Searching for John Hughes
“Stuart Ross is a natural, as very few novelists are: Jenny in Corona comes trippingly off the page, with a lightness of touch and wicked charm to spare. You can’t not love his every deluded character—because he loves them so well himself. Alive inside forgotten time or some fugitive place, this is a tender farewell to the wreck of the 20th century. ”
—Miles Klee, author of Ivyland and True False
“Jenny in Corona is a runaway ride on the R train, fueled by sentences like triple shots of espresso. This novel is an extra-long Tom Waits song, a day at the Stadium, a 3 A.M. breakfast in a diner. Stuart Ross knows outer-borough New York in all its glory: its hustlers, poets, Wall Street wannabes, sweet strivers. I’m homesick and smitten.”
—Valerie Sayers, author of The Powers
“This saga about Ty, a beyond-alienated business consultant and artisanal builder of doomed relationships, feels written by Joshua Ferris’s even more mischievous brother. Each and every sentence is wonderful, full of hairpin turns, city fresh details, and insight. ‘Never forget that Americans invented cheerleading,’ Ty warns us. I’ll not forget this book. Irreverent, scathingly funny, and emotionally piercing, Jenny in Corona is a resplendent debut.”
—Andy Mozina, author of Contrary Motion and Quality Snacks
“If you’ve ever doubted whether our contemporary discourse (much less predicament) could inspire truly stirring music, then Stuart Ross has a filibuster for you. Throughout Jenny in Corona, his prose evokes a dizzying assortment of past American masters of the sublimely vulgar, from Stanley Elkin to Joy Williams to Bret Easton Ellis to Ishmael Reed, all while carrying its own unmistakable tune with disarmingly perfect pitch. Call it the comic novel of now that we don’t deserve — but with whose satiric insights we’ve been graced nevertheless.”
— Joe Milazzo, author of Crepuscule W/ Nellie
In what year does your semiautobiographical masterpiece take place? For Vol. 1 Brooklyn, I got gonzo about the second worst question you can ask a writer. My craft essay is about how sweating the known world portends an insalubrious environment for the imagination. This sweating gives the blues, and promotes the bends, but it is the specks.
Shared a playlist for Jenny in Corona at Largehearted Boy that includes Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten”.
One question about your novel for Hypertext Magazine. I answer the question: how can you publish Jenny in Corona when the world is ending? Wrote about Father John Misty, Lana Del Rey, how much oil it takes to get a harp to the Grammys, Norman Rockwell, Norman Fucking Rockwell, James Joyce, White Veganism, the Permian Basin, and Amiri Baraka. Under 1,000 words!
Excerpt from Jenny in Corona involving a street poet with a Caravaggio opinion, published by Hypertext Magazine.
An interview at Rob Mclennan’s blog.
An interview with Debutiful.
An interview with Newtown Literary.
An interview with The Rumpus.
I See Him – short fiction about a woman with two more chances.
Seen too much – an essay about seeing Julius Caesar at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, written aboard the Amtrak Blue Water. Ander Monson picked this essay as first place winner in the 2013 SLS Contest, which won Stuart a trip to Vilnius, Lithuania.
Jazz Speak with Mike Reed – a conversation with jazz musician Mike Reed.
Destroyer inspires at Old Town School – a concert review inspired by Dan Bejar’s solo show.
A Conversation with Julia Klein – an interview with the founder and editor of Soberscove Press.
A Chat with Hospitality – an interview with the Brooklyn-based indie-rock trio.
Amy Schumer Jazzes up Constellation – a comic walks into a free jazz club…
The Good Men Project
Here and Now: Letters 2008-2011 of Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee – a book review.
Memories of Underdevelopment – an essay on the Cuban novel and film.
New Tab – book review of Gulliamme Morisette’s novel.
Three on a Spit – short fiction about three lovers who meet up in New York City for one last fling.
A Soviet Communion – a short essay on one of Stuart’s Lithuania/n experiences. An Editor’s Pick.
Crepuscule W/ Nellie – a book review of Joe Milazzo’s novel.
Martial Plans – short fiction about killing your wife and having to settle for killing her dog.
Formation 100 – blocking and tackling.
The Stockholm Review of Literature
On the sleeve at your local Starbucks – a poem for people who order tall blondes and then mutter to themselves, “if she’ll have me.”
Homie and the Wolf – short fiction about lovers grown apart.
Are we ever going to see Spring Breakers this weekend – a short play inspired by the long film.
Did you eat the bones? – this piece explores how a vegetarian experiences a Kentucky Fried Chicken (NYSE: YUM $40B) Twitter (Nasdaq: TWTR $24B) advertisement.
Pret a Manger Plastic Death Fugue – a dystopian vision of everyday life at the elegant fast-casual chain.
Vol. 1 Brooklyn
What’s a Travel Essay? – this piece is about a drive from Montreal to Burlington with Stuart’s friend Chris.
Windy City Rock
Beach Fossils at Subterranean – a concert review of the indie-rock band’s show.
An interview with Dirty Beaches – Q&A with the Berlin-based electronic musician.
Dinosaur Bones Q&A – an interview with indie-rockers from Toronto.