On Our Shelves Now
From the award-winning author of the book-length essay This Little Art, a debut novel that reaches back to the start of the novel tradition and outward to the complexities of contemporary life.
Kate Brigg’s debut novel—the follow-up to her acclaimed This Little Art—is the story of a young mother, Helen, awake with her baby. Together they are moving through a morning routine that is in one sense entirely ordinary—resting, feeding, pacing. Yet in the closeness of their rented flat, such everyday acts take on epic scope, thoughts and objects made newly alive in the light of their shared attention. Then the rhythm of their morning is interrupted: a delivery person arrives with a used copy of Fielding’s The History of Tom Jones, which Helen has ordered online. She begins to read, and attention shifts. As their day unfolds, the intimate space Helen shares with her baby becomes entwined with Fielding’s novel, with other books and ideas, and with questions about class and privilege, housing and caregiving, and the support structures that underlie durational forms of codependency, both social and artistic.
About the Author
Winner of a 2021 Windham-Campbell Prize, Kate Briggs is the author of the acclaimed genre-bending essay on translation, This Little Art, and has translated two volumes of Roland Barthes’s lecture and seminar notes at the Collège de France: The Preparation of the Novel and How to Live Together, both published by Columbia University Press. She teaches at the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam.
“[A]n utterly resplendent, luminous exploration of fiction’s possibilities. . . . let there be trumpets, heralding Briggs and the possibilities of this long form.” —Jennifer Kabat, 4Columns
“I finished The Long Form and started again from the beginning; I wanted to understand how this miracle of a book had come to be; I was not ready to let go.” —Moyra Davey, The Paris Review
“Ostensibly about a single day in the lives of a new mother and her infant, The Long Form—with its recursive structure, its subtle connections and reverberations, its attentiveness to physical and social life, and its animated conversation with other works of fiction and theory—presents the novel form as the most elastic of containers. Kate Briggs is a brilliant writer and thinker.” —Kathryn Scanlan
“This don’t-miss debut captures the details of early parenthood while engaging with ideas about time and caregiving.” —Kirkus
“Briggs’s charming yet formidable debut novel merges the chronicle of a young mother and her infant daughter with musings on the nature and possibilities of fiction.” —Publishers Weekly
“An architectural masterpiece . . . it is a novel that cannot be contained by any one form or way of reading, writing, or thinking. Composed of fragmentary sections that chronicle a single day in precise detail, The Long Form is about possibility itself—what reading and writing a novel can be, what mothering can be, and what a person can be. In Briggs’ prose, nothing is impossible." —Vika Mujumdar, Necessary Fiction
“[The Long Form] offers another form of protest, a call to action. Let us be enacted upon by other bodies—human, nonhuman, literary, all. Let us stretch and lunge, affect one another’s rhythms, converse with cultural histories, interrupt those histories, burst open doors, and, with all the care, softness, and curiosity that any new life might inspire, expand and deepen.” —Georgie Devereux, The Rumpus
“Kate Briggs treats the quotidian rhythms of Helen and Rose, mother and baby, with unusual attentiveness, perspicacity and, most importantly, largeness of thought. This makes The Long Form a radical, celebratory and quite magical consideration of the profound creative possibilities inherent in, and intrinsic to, everyday experience. It’s such a lively and generous book.” —Wendy Erskine
“Kate Briggs has built a novel that is simultaneously warm and exact, far-reaching and meticulous, generous and wise.” —Saba Sams
“With every carefully weighted sentence, action, and thought, one is immersed in the radical generosity of this writing, its principles of collectivity and its feminist commitment to making the smallest, most everyday act worthy of consideration within a literary canon. A beautifully written book about the art of reading, of criticism, and of surviving through the strangest yet most normal of times.” —Preti Taneja, author of Aftermath
“Briggs has written a work that will constantly reward a re-reading, with a voice that combines a deep complexity with moments of piercing clarity. It is an intelligent and well-read book: but it is also emphatically convincing and moving.” —Patrick Maxwell, Big Issue (UK)