Sterling Karat Gold by Isabel Waidner
WINNER OF THE GOLDSMITHS PRIZE 2021
Sterling is arrested one morning without having done anything wrong. Plunged into a terrifying and nonsensical world, Sterling – with the help of their three best friends – must defy bullfighters, football players and spaceships in order to exonerate themselves and to hold the powers that be to account.
Sterling Karat Gold is Kafka’s The Trial written for the era of gaslighting – a surreal inquiry into the real effects of state violence on gender-nonconforming, working-class and black bodies.
Following the Goldsmiths Prize–nominated We Are Made of Diamond Stuff, Isabel Waidner’s latest novel proposes community, inventiveness and the stubborn refusal to lie low as antidotes against marginalisation and towards fiercer futures.
‘Ferocious and nebular, kind and strange—where strange means ‘queer, surprising’ and ‘outside of’—Sterling Karat Gold crackles on the edge of new language(s) while simultaneously demolishing language altogether. Narrator Sterling (think a nonbinary young Genet in foam spikes) is fomenting and canny, bent on surviving the mania of a rapidly morphing and out of control British regime. But what to lob against murderous nationalist illogics? Like all Waidner’s words, each verbal pulse is funneled velocity, gives no F’s, scraps for its place on the page, belongs, glitters. As much an elegy to the loss of mother tongues as mothers (also anticapitalist spaceships, friends, bodies, generations to AIDS, self), Waidner makes soft bombs of binaries, shows again and again how violence against bipoc, migrant, queer life is not fiction, and that liberation and alliance are inseparable. Sterling Karat Gold is fervid, focused, felt in all of its wholly radical clamor. The stakes? Our chest bones and tender communities inside. The mode? A Born-in-Flames-style reckoning that changes futures/leaves no one behind, ie, love.’ – Jess Arndt, author of Large Animals
Imprint: Peninsula Press
Publication Date: 24 June 2021