The Not Wives

The Not Wives

14.36 17.95

Carley Moore
A novel of sex-positive awakening and burgeoning political resistance, set in Occupy-era New York City.


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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.

“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

"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

The Not Wives is a novel about precarity in the time of Occupy Wall Street, set in a gentrified New York of wealth and insecurity. ‘We are all falling apart and keeping it together,’ Carley Moore writes, conjuring the activist spirit but also the trap of the status quo. Self-awareness is not enough, The Not Wives tells us; the question is how to dream without complicity. How to turn guilt into action. This is a feminist novel for our times—slutty and principled, dedicated and unsure—it dares us to feel everything.” —Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, author of Sketchtasy

“I was in dire need of a queer, sex-positive mom in literature—and then the gift of The Not Wives showed up. Here are the wives and not wives so many of us are, have been, have loved, might be. I couldn’t put this extraordinary book down; it offered so much solace, recognition, and hope.” —Lynn Melnick, author of Landscape with Sex and Violence