Susan Choi’s Trust Exercise meets Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity in a Black woman’s coming-of-age story, chronicling a life-changing friendship, the interplay between music fandom and identity, and the slipperiness of sanity
Set in the suburbs of Los Angeles and New York City, I Love You So Much It’s Killing Us Both is an immersive journey into the life and mind of Khaki Oliver, who’s perennially trying to disappear into something: a codependent friendship, an ill-advised boyfriend, the punk scene, or simply, the ether. These days it’s a meaningless job and a comfortingly empty apartment. Then, after a decade of estrangement, she receives a letter from her former best friend. Fiona’s throwing a party for her newly adopted daughter and wants Khaki to join the celebration.
Khaki is equal parts terrified and tempted to reconnect. Their platonic love was confusing, all-consuming, and encouraged their worst impulses. While stalling her RSVP, Khaki starts crafting the perfect mixtape—revisiting memories of formative shows, failed romances, and the ups and downs of desire and denial—while weighing the risks and rewards of saying yes to Fiona again.
One song at a time, from 1980s hardcore to 2010s emo, the shared and separate contours of each woman’s mind come into focus. Will listening to the same old songs on repeat doom Khaki to a lonely life of arrested development? Or will hindsight help her regain her sense of self and pave a healthy path for the future, with or without Fiona?
Mariah Stovall has written fiction for the anthology Black Punk Now, and for Ninth Letter, Vol 1. Brooklyn, Hobart, the Minola Review, and Joyland; and nonfiction for The Los Angeles Review of Books, Full Stop, Hanif Abdurraqib’s 68to05, The Paris Review, Poets & Writers, and LitHub. I Love You So Much It’s Killing Us Both is her first novel and 24 Hour Revenge Therapy is her favorite Jawbreaker album. She lives in New Jersey.
- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Random House ( February 13, 2024)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1593767609
- ISBN-13: 9781593767600
Product Dimensions: 5.45 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 lbs