The Not Wives traces the lives of three women as they navigate the Occupy Wall Street movement and each other. Stevie is a nontenured professor and recently divorced single mom; her best friend Mel is a bartender, torn between her long-term girlfriend and her desire to explore polyamory; and Johanna is a homeless teenager trying to find her way in the world, who bears shared witness to a tragedy that interlaces her life with Stevie’s.
In the midst of economic collapse and class conflict, late-night hookups and long-suffering exes, the three characters piece together a new American identity founded on resistance—against the looming shadow of financial precarity, the gentrification of New York, and the traditional role of wife.
"In The Not Wives, Carley Moore puts her considerable powers—introspection, humor, empathy—into the service of fiction, creating a landscape of achingly authentic female lives who we rarely see given such literary treatment. A compulsively readable novel with deep roots in our gorgeous, messed-up world."
—Michelle Tea, author of Against Memoir: Complaints, Confessions & Criticisms
“Carley Moore exults in portraying the grit, drama, confusion, and ecstasy of her diverse characters’ daily lives. The Not Wives is not just for not-wives; it’s for all of us struggling with how to be human—falling in and out of love/lust, parenting children, teaching young adults, protesting corruption, and just getting by—amidst the ongoing clamor and bewilderment of twenty-first-century life.”
—Laura Sims, author of Looker
16 Pills opens in the hospital as Moore navigates the medical gaze: becoming spectacle as she is videotaped walking down the hall, talked about as if she were an object, wondered over her body as she drifts, unmoored, before surgery. Moore's essays explore with intimacy and candor the experiences of a contemporary feminist exploring the worlds of co-parenting, the absurdities of online dating, the art of mothering in a time of protest, the complexity of prescription drugs, and reflecting on generations of men and women in her Cuban and Swedish-American family. Moore's book is at once thoughtful and honest, and is ultimately an investigation on making spaces for ourselves and meeting the desires of our own bodies. For readers of Leslie Jamison, Roxane Gay, and Lidia Yuknavich.
16 Pills is everything I want in an essay collection - rawness and humor, intimacy, problems, solutions, and a searing, radical intellect holding us in her brilliance. I devoured this jam-packed, revelatory book, and you will too.
--Michelle Tea, author of Against Memoir: Complaints, Confessions, and Criticisms
Like sitting with a super keen and deeply forthright friend, 16 Pills confronts childhood, parenting, disability, patriarchy, books, ideas, dating, and sex with an unflinching eye and generous heart; Moore bravely reveals her successes, flaws, and failings as a mirror to our own. A must-read on femaleness and feminism and 21st-century middle age, 16 Pills in an alarmingly honest, crucially timely book.
—Lynn Melnick, author of Landscape with Sex and Violence
"Carley Moore’s debut collection of essays, 16 Pills, is a therapeutic read, and while no book can boast being a panacea for the ills of modern life, this one comes close. Moore writes like her life depends on it. She dissects the stories of her life with intelligence and precision, and invites the reader to share in her examination. Feminist, political, funny, and irreverent, Moore’s essays are masterful, and show a true love of the form; the stories are deeply personal, while still tapping into shared human experience."
--Jessica Mannion in Pank
FROM PORTAL POEM:
April is of uncertain origin
From the Latin, aperio, to bud
April is a deep portal
The storm as it quits
He said, I’m just a man, not a wolf.
I looked over my shoulder at the pile of mythologies
underneath the stairs
They were bones now
I’d licked them clean
and sucked out the marrow.