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Big Shadow

Big Shadow

Current price: $20.00
Publication Date: May 16th, 2023
Book*hug Press
Rozzie Bound Co-op
1 on hand, as of Feb 27 3:21pm
(Fiction )
On Our Shelves Now


In an unnamed town in the summer of 1998, Judy is an isolated and inexperienced teenager on the cusp of adulthood struggling to craft an identity for herself—especially as the artist she wants to be.

There is little help around her. Her only friends are increasingly obsessed with a cultish belief in a coming "Big Shadow." Her mother is afraid of life and finds solace in TV shows. At her lowest point, Judy meets Maurice Blunt, a visiting summer poetry class professor who is a "has-been" fixture of the 1970s NYC punk music scene. Judy believes Maurice—a man more than twice her age desperately seeking lost adoration—is the ticket out of her current life. Soon, she begins taking secret weekend trips to visit him.

Judy's visits to his apartment in New York bring hopes of belonging to the city's cultural world and making a living as a video artist. With each trip and frustrated promise, however, she feels the creeping realization that there is a price to pay for her golden ticket entry into this insular and moribund scene. Judy must navigate the shifting power dynamics with her aging gatekeeper and the possibility of building an early adult identity alone.

An affecting novel of psychological nuance and dark humour, Big Shadow explores the costs of self-deceit, fandom, and tenuous ambitions, exposing the lies we’ll tell ourselves and the promises we'll make to edge closer to what we want… or what we think we want.

About the Author

MARTA BALCEWICZ spent her early childhood in Pomerania and Madrid, and now lives in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Catapult, Tin House online, Vol. 1. Brooklyn, Washington Square Review, The Rumpus, and Passages North, amongst other publications. Her fiction was anthologized in Tiny Crimes (Catapult, 2018). She received a fellowship from Tin House Workshops in 2022. Big Shadow is her first novel.

Praise for Big Shadow

Big Shadow by Marta Balcewicz is included in Vol. 1 Brooklyn's Books of the Month: May 2023 edition.

"Big Shadow is an addictive read beaming with intrigue . . . In magnifying the myopic struggle of art versus commerce and ambition versus reality, Big Shadow most viscerally captures the essence of the formative years of the human experience." —Aquarium Drunkard.

"Balcewicz has a knack for humor both observational and deadpan, symbolism both ironic and earnest, and peculiar turns of phrase . . . At times, Balcewicz’s prose channels Sheila Heti’s wry brooding." —Chicago Review of Books.

"Big Shadow explores teenage apathy in detail, but avoids this all too common problem by infusing the book with charming doses of quaintness and naïveté." —Toronto Star.