Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Eat Only When You're Hungry

Eat Only When You're Hungry

A Novel

Lindsay Hunter

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Recommended reading by Nylon, Buzzfeed, Vulture, Lit Hub, Chicago Review of Books and Chicago Reader

"With this novel, Hunter establishes herself as an unforgettable voice in American letters. Her work here, as ever, is unparalleled." —Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist and Hunger

Achingly funny and full of feeling, Eat Only When You’re Hungry follows fifty-eight-year-old Greg as he searches for his son, GJ, an addict who has been missing for three weeks. Greg is bored, demoralized, obese, and as dubious of GJ’s desire to be found as he is of his own motivation to go looking. Almost on a whim, Greg embarks on a road trip to central Florida—a noble search for his son, or so he tells himself.

Greg takes us on a tour of highway and roadside, of Taco Bell, KFC, gas-station Slurpees, sticky strip-club floors, pooling sweat, candy wrappers and crumpled panes of cellophane and wrinkled plastic bags tumbling along the interstate. This is the America Greg knows, one he feels closer to than to his youthful idealism, closer even than to his younger second wife. As his journey continues, through drive-thru windows and into the living rooms of his alluring ex-wife and his distant, curmudgeonly father, Greg’s urgent search for GJ slowly recedes into the background, replaced with a painstaking, illuminating, and unavoidable look at Greg’s own mistakes—as a father, as a husband, and as a man.

Brimming with the same visceral regret and joy that leak from the fast food Greg inhales, Eat Only When You’re Hungry is a wild and biting study of addiction, perseverance, and the insurmountable struggle to change. With America’s desolate underbelly serving as her guide, Lindsay Hunter elicits a singular type of sympathy for her characters, using them to challenge our preconceived notions about addiction and to explore the innumerable ways we fail ourselves.

EXCERPT

It was too late to be a lunch, too early to be a dinner, this disappointing collection of food Greg was packing. He was leaving in the odd smear of time between the markers of his day. Not in the morning, not in the night. Not even in the midday....

Reviews

Praise for Eat Only When You're Hungry

Praise for Eat Only When You're Hungry

"It is with Eat Only When You’re Hungry that Hunter arrives at her first masterpiece; a novel of staggering vision and tremendous heart. On full display here are Hunter’s nonpareil technique, her skillful excavation of her characters’ interior landscapes — a digging done both ruthlessly and yet with abundant mercy — and her inspired inventiveness at the level of language . . . All of which is to say that Eat Only When You’re Hungry is in every way majestic: stunningly detailed, formidably written, and profoundly affecting. Here is a novel that studies the ways in which we fail and are failed, all the while gnawing at the truism put forth by Joan Didion that “our investments in each other remain too freighted ever to see the other clear” . . . Line by line, page by page, scene by scene, Lindsay Hunter captures more keenly than any of her peers the benumbing monotony and unnerving strangeness of the world in which we find ourselves, lose ourselves, and — if we’re lucky — find ourselves again." —Vincent Scarpa, Los Angeles Review of Books

"Hunter delves closely into Greg's world as he travels from West Virginia to Florida in a rented RV, and also delves into the troubled lives of his family members, with an honesty that is both harsh and tender. Eat Only When You're Hungry does many things—it's a painfully vivid family portrait, a road novel, and a novel about addiction in its many forms—and it does them all wonderfully, with a stunning emotional impact." —Isaac Fitzgerald, Buzzfeed

"There’s a vibrant ruthlessness at the heart of Lindsay Hunter’s second novel, Eat Only When You’re Hungry, the kind that makes it hard, at times, to catch your breath . . . What are we to do with all this love and longing, imperfect and incomplete though it may be? Eat Only When You’re Hungry eschews easy answers, or resolution in any fundamental way . . . The implication is that we are never sure of anything, not absolutely, and also that perhaps this is enough." —David Ulin, 4Columns

"Hunter has a gift for dark fiction, rendered with a tender and generous touch . . . In Hunter’s smart twist on the classic American road trip, the novel becomes an instant-gratification junk-food tour through the national underbelly." —National Book Review (Five Hot Books This Week)

"[A] commanding narrative . . . A savage tale of parenthood and squandered hope from an author whose unsparing eye never ceases to subvert the mundane." —Kirkus

"Hunter's absurd Floridian landscapes and darkly tender moments are keen and hilarious, exposing the complexities of addiction and an overweight man with a weak heart but unfailing love." —Booklist

"The frailties of the human body and the human heart are laid bare in Lindsay Hunter’s utterly superb novel Eat Only When You’re Hungry. There is real delicacy, tenderness, and intelligence with which Hunter tackles this portrait of a broken family of people who don’t realize just how broken they are until they are forced to confront the fractures between them and within themselves. With this novel, Hunter establishes herself as an unforgettable voice in American letters. Her work here, as ever, is unparalleled." —Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist and Hunger

"This novel takes us on a road trip with an American Everyman into the heart of American hunger—for freedom, for connection, for junk food, for love. Hunter has a brilliant sense for the perfectly telling image, and her humor is so biting and smart it was almost a surprise, at the end of this engrossing book, to realize how thoroughly she had broken my heart.” —Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

"Compassionate, claustrophobic, gut-wrenchingly observed, Eat Only When You’re Hungry probes the fine lines between hunger and addiction, addiction and desire. In perfectly nuanced prose, Lindsay Hunter observes the human ability to go on in the face of the unexpected, the unknown, the regretted, and, perhaps most important, the mundane." —Lori Ostlund, author of After the Parade

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Lindsay Hunter

Lindsay Hunter is the author of the story collections Don’t Kiss Me and Daddy’s and the novel Ugly Girls. Originally from Florida, she now lives in Chicago with her husband, sons, and dogs.

Lindsay Hunter

Lili Calfee

Tours & Events

Meet the Author

August 10-18, 2017

Meet Lindsay Hunter as she reads from her new novel Eat Only When You're Hungry.

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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