Nobody, Somebody, Anybody: A Novel (Paperback)
“It's My Year of Rest and Relaxation, but with fewer pills and more boats.” —Entertainment Weekly
A moving and darkly comic debut novel about an anxious young woman who administers a self-made “placebo” treatment in a last-ditch attempt to rebuild her life
Amy Hanley has a job as a maid for the summer, but on August 25, she will take the exam to become an EMT (third time’s the charm!) and finally move on with her life. In the meantime, she doesn’t mind scrubbing toilets immaculately clean or tucking the sheet corners just so. In fact, she tells herself that her work is a noble act of service to the rich guests at the yacht club.
Amy’s profound isolation colors everything: her job, her aspirations, even her interactions with the woman at the deli counter. And as the date for the EMT exam comes closer, Amy’s anxiety ratchets up in a way that is both familiar and troubling. In desperation, she concocts a “placebo” program—a self-prescribed regimen for her confidence, devised to trick herself into succeeding.
When her landlord, Gary, starts to invite her over for dinner—to practice his cooking skills as he awaits approval of his Ukrainian fiancé’s visa—Amy makes her first friend since her mother’s passing. Alongside this unexpected connection comes a surge of hopeful obsession that Amy knows she must reckon with before the summer’s end.
Tender and laugh-out-loud funny, Nobody, Somebody, Anybody explores the shadowy corners of a young woman’s inner world of grief, delusion, and self-loathing, revealing the creeping loneliness of modern life and our endless search for connection. Kelly McClorey captures the hilarity and heartbreak of American ambition.
About the Author
Kelly McClorey is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Montana. She lives in Massachusetts.
“A poignant, empathic debut novel. . . . It’s a moving story, well told, and Amy, who you might not want to spend time with in real life, will linger in your imagination long after the final pages.”
— Boston Globe
"McClorey manages to capture the human desire to shape our lives with narratives — and how devastating it can be when reality departs from them."
— New York Times Book Review
“A startling and charming debut…. McClorey has more than a trace of John Kennedy Toole’s uproarious plot making and brilliant craftsmanship to her, with interior and exterior dialogue that sings and descriptions that slice through the daily world…. With a singular voice, a carousing, quixotic, dauntless protagonist, rich and organic humor, the disarming, thought provoking ending, and above all, the current of sadness and depth of humanity that runs below the surface, time and again the reader finds themselves simply impressed with Nobody, Somebody, Anybody.”
— Chicago Review of Books
— Entertainment Weekly
“A poignant comedy starring an endearing female character.”
— Kirkus Reviews
"In this debut novel about mothers and daughters and growing up, McClorey unfurls Amy’s lonely, paranoid, angry, delusional, and paralyzed life in one cringe-inducing encounter after another.... With beautiful subtlety, McClorey conveys warping loneliness."
“Kelly McClorey's Nobody, Somebody, Anybody is a beautiful book about very messy people. McClorey's writing is sharp and witty and her novel is thoroughly hilarious. This book forces us to examine the desperately human, utterly embarrassing ways that people can f— up and gives us permission to revel in it. Compulsively readable, Nobody, Somebody, Anybody is spectacular and Kelly McClorey is a dynamo.”
— Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things
“I read Nobody, Somebody, Anybody the way I watch horror films: half-hiding behind my fingers, both worried for the anxious young protagonist and eager to know what trouble she’d find herself in next. Kelly McClorey’s voice is funny, heartbreaking, and singular—unlike anything I’ve ever read. This is a book for anyone who’s ever been sad or stuck, or longed to be somewhere or someone else. I loved it.”
— Rachel Khong, author of Goodbye, Vitamin
“Is there anything more heartbreaking and hopeful than a young woman hurtling through the present to an unknown future? Amy in Nobody, Somebody, Anybody is everyone we used to be before becoming ourselves — anxious; comically obsessive; existentially lost. And just when we fear she’ll never find her way, her story reminds us that if you can survive your youth, you can survive absolutely anything.”
— Laura Zigman, author of Separation Anxiety
“You can drop the debut novel stuff and just call McClorey's Nobody, Somebody, Anybody a wonderful novel, period. Mercifully lacking in pretentiousness (thank god), Amy's voice is so propulsive a reader will follow her anywhere—even when it's not quite anywhere, which is the beauty of it. Some rare books you fall into from the opening sentence and this is one of those. Nothing more this reader could want.”
— Peter Orner, author of Love and Shame and Love