Stephen Elliott’s new novel, Happy Baby, explores how pain can define desire, how the future becomes the past, and how grace struggles with self-destruction. The story, told in reverse, begins with thirty-six-year-old Theo and his search for sexual and emotional freedom, and slowly unravels back to a childhood of abuse in the juvenile detention centers of Chicago.
Without judgment, Elliott traces a life defined by yearning—for love, for pain, for certainty. His clear words and unflinching gaze reveal the difficulty of simple truths and the possibility of transcendence in the face of unforgivable crimes.
Stephen Elliott grew up a ward of the court in various institutions and group homes in Chicago. He earned his Bachelors degree at the Univeristy of Illinois and a Masters degree from Northwestern Univeristy. He has worked as a stripper, a cabdriver, a bartender, and a law school admissions consultant. Stephen Elliott is the Truman Capote Fellow in the Wallace Stegner Creative Writing Program at Stanford University. Stephen Elliott's writing can be found at stephenelliott.com.
“Stephen Elliott's HAPPY BABY is surely the most intelligent and beautiful book ever written about juvenile detention centers, sadomasochism and drugs. The novel's backward structure means that rather than building momentum, it offers the sense of a mystery being slowly solved. That the mystery of why Theo, or anyone, turns out as he does is essentially unsolvable makes it no less satisfying, or, in Theo's case, less heartbreaking.”
— The New York Times Book Review
Publication Date: February 19, 2004
trim size: 5.25x8.25 Hardcover