Five Plots

Erica Trabold’s debut essay collection delves into notions of how we are shaped by the land every bit as much as we shape it, eschewing easy ways of understanding and experiencing the world by investigating place as a malleable psychological and phenomenological force.

Five Plots is the inaugural recipient of the Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Book Prize, selected by John D’Agata and published by Seneca Review Books.

“The late poet and essayist Deborah Tall revolutionized the literature of place by changing our understanding of how potently we can be impacted by the conflagrations of landscape, family, and memory. Now, Erica Trabold kick-starts a new book series named for Deborah Tall with a debut that imaginatively probes its own part of the world through humor, history, speculation, and hurt. This is a pinprick of a book with a very generous heart.” — John D’Agata

“What a wonderful excavation of identity, time, and place and what holds us, what keeps us, what won’t let us go. Erica Trabold’s Five Plots beautifully unearths the layers of history that make us what we are, doing so as only a poetic essayist can: incorporating memory, historical fact, failures, landscapes, hopes, and whatever grows or has grown. Trabold’s landscape of childhood and Nebraska is haunting and bright, warm and hostile. Five Plots signals a daringly honest, intelligent, and complicated voice in the world of essays.” — Jenny Boully

“Five Plots is a beautiful book. Under Trabold’s careful scrutiny the land, the body, a family, and their shared histories are laid bare. Examined with an eye equally tender and relentless, the starkest places ache with beauty in these pages.” — Melissa Febos

“With grace, ambition, and a charmed eye for detail, the five “plots” that comprise Erica Trabold’s stirring debut achieve a significant feat: instead of either pulling stories of the self from the landscape or depicting a landscape via the unique per- spective of an observant self, this small gem of a book manages to accomplish both simultaneously.” — Elena Passarello

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