Dryland by Sara Jaffe

Dryland by Sara Jaffe


A tender, meditative, and quietly kaleidoscopic novel about the 90's, queer adolescence, and swimming.


It's 1992 in Portland, Oregon. Fifteen-year-old Julie Winter moves through her days as if underwater - watching skaters through the constant rain, detached from her best friend's crushes, listening to the same REM B-side on repeat. The rest of the world is caught up in the AIDS crisis, the war in Yugoslavia, and grunge. But to Julie it's all background.


No one at home talks about her older brother, a once-champion swimmer who could be living in Berlin, or could be anywhere. And although she spends her time searching for pictures of him in the pages of Swimmer's World magazine, she'd never considered swimming herself. Until Alexis, captain of the swimming team, tries to recruit her.

What starts as a flirtation and an infatuation becomes a chance to join in with the world, find out what really happened to her brother, or finally let him go.


Yearning, stifled, and sharp, Dryland by Sara Jaffe is an anti-coming out novel that captures gauzy queer exploration at its quietest and its most loud.




“Be still my gay grunge heart” - Beth Ditto


“Sara Jaffe’s Dryland is the perfect indie-rock love song, an anthem for lonely 90s queer kids—a little melancholy, a little surly, a little dirty." - Andrea Lawlor, Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl


"Remarkable. It's realism, but its realism brushes ever so deftly against the allegorical, making the novel shimmer, part diary, part dream" - Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts


"A brilliant, beautiful, and evocative first novel, full of historical and experiential details that I had never quite articulated to myself and was so grateful and happy to find written down. Sara Jaffe is a treasure." - Elif Batuman, The Idiot


"A gorgeous, layered, meticulous, clamoring, beating heart of a thing." - Sara Marcus, Girls to the Front

  • Details

    Imprint: Cipher Press

    Publication Date: 18 March 2021


    Format: Paperback

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