Spotlight on “All The World Beside” by Garrard Conley

by LitStack Editor

All The World Beside, from the New York Times bestselling author of Boy Erased, an electrifying, deeply moving novel about the love story between two men in Puritan New England.

All The World Beside and author Garrard Conley

About All The World Beside

Cana, Massachusetts: a utopian vision of 18th-century Puritan New England. To the outside world, Reverend Nathaniel Whitfield and his family stand as godly pillars of their small-town community, drawing Christians from across the New World into their fold. One such Christian, physician Arthur Lyman, discovers in the minister’s words a love so captivating it transcends language.

As the bond between these two men grows more and more passionate, their families must contend with a tangled web of secrets, lies, and judgments which threaten to destroy them in this world and the next. And when the religious ecstasies of the Great Awakening begin to take hold, igniting a new era of zealotry, Nathaniel and Arthur search for a path out of an impossible situation, imagining a future for themselves which has no name. Their wives and children must do the same, looking beyond the known world for a new kind of wilderness, both physical and spiritual.

Set during the turbulent historical upheavals which shaped America’s destiny and following in the tradition of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, All the World Beside reveals the very human lives just beneath the surface of dogmatic belief. Bestselling author Garrard Conley has created a page-turning, vividly imagined historical tale that is both a love story and a crucible.

Source: Publisher
ISBN-13: 9780525537335
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/26/2024


Praise for All The World Beside

“A gorgeous, spellbinding work of historical fiction that conjures up a society wrestling with faith, love, and a sense of belonging. It is a heartbreaking account of forbidden passions and lost innocence told with intimate, lyrical beauty. It is truly sublime. I loved it.”—Douglas Stuart, author of Shuggie Bain and Young Mungo

“Part spell, part prayer, wholly mesmerizing. Garrard Conley casts the same magic in fiction as in the memoir that made him famous.”—Torrey Peters, author of Detransition, Baby

“In this accomplishment of breathtaking prose, expert pacing, and extraordinary psychological intelligence, Conley presents a world as it was, as it is, and as it could be. A triumph.”—Tess Gunty, National Book Award-winning author of Rabbit Hutch

All the World Beside is a soaring, beautiful novel, at once sweeping and deeply personal. Conley has given us a great gift in this vivid and striking examination of the stories we tell ourselves about who we were and who we are and who we hope to be. Part restoration and part reclamation, Conley’s bold new American myth simply sings.”—Brandon Taylor, author of Real Life

“A richly textured, thrilling and scandalous romance, All the World Beside is a mesmerizing read. Skillfully paced and completely gripping from its first page, Conley gives us historical fiction at its most delicious and absorbing.”—Jordy Rosenberg, author of Confessions of the Fox

“Radical and gorgeous, decadent and deeply moral, All the World Beside upends the world as Christian patriarchs have taught us to know it. Garrard Conley’s ravishing novel embodies literature’s power to reach deep crevices that official accounts cannot, to water the dry earth of early American history and transform it into fertile gardens not only of the mind, but of the glorious, imperfect human spirit.—Meredith Talusan, author of Fairest

“Garrard Conley has found a new and ravishing music: a language that straddles the 18th and 21st centuries, a vehicle for faith and desire. In its closing movements, this novel contains some of the finest writing I’ve encountered in recent American fiction.”—Garth Greenwell, author of Cleanness

“Teaches us that in Puritan America the scarlet letter was not A for adultery but H for homosexuality and that the only romance with God is tense and tragic.”—Edmund White

About Garrard Conley, Author of All The World Beside

All The World Beside

Garrard Conley is the New York Times bestselling author of the memoir Boy Erased as well as the creator and co-producer of the podcast UnErased: The History of Conversion Therapy in America. His work has been published by The New York Times, Oxford American, TIME and Virginia Quarterly Review, among others.

Conley is a graduate of Brooklyn College’s MFA program, where he was a Truman Capote Fellow specializing in fiction. He is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Kennesaw State University.

Titles by Garrard Conley


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