Christine Grillo's Hestia Strikes a Match is the slyly funny story of a woman looking for love and friendship in the midst of a new American civil war.
Unionists against Confederates, children against parents, friends against friends: The year is 2023 and the United States has collapsed into another bloody civil war. Hestia Harris is forty, newly single by virtue of abandonment for the Union cause, and her parents are absconding to the Confederacy. She is adrift, save for her coworkers at the retirement village and her best friend, Mildred, an eighty-four-year-old resident, who gleefully supports Hestia’s somewhat half-hearted but nonetheless hopeful attempts to find love in a time of chaos and disunion. Let’s Not Date a Confederate! Hestia avers as her parents put up a sign proclaiming Make Liberals Feel Sad and Mildred reminds her It’ll pass . . . It always does.
For fans of Maria Semple, Andrew Sean Greer, Ling Ma, and Gail Honeyman, Christine Grillo's Hestia Strikes a Match is an irreverent, incisive, laugh-out-loud interrogation of modern love of all kinds, in all its messy beauty. As it fills your heart to fend off despair, it asks the seemingly ever-relevant question: How do you embrace an entire life when the whole world is breaking into bits and madness?
“[A] clever satire of life in a divided country . . . Bridget Jones’s Diary for the post-MAGA era.”
“A second Civil War, sabotage, purges, UN Peacekeepers in the streets of Baltimore, and still humankind must . . . date. Christine Grillo’s debut novel is a wry look at our it could happen here dis-Union, one that might just remind us all to take ourselves, and our arguments, less seriously. Great fun.”
—Alice McDermott, author of What About the Baby?
“Warning: Do not pick up Hestia Strikes a Match without clearing your calendar. I could not put down this pitch-perfect dark comedy. I fell in love with Christine Grillo’s prose, her characters, and her brilliant take on the state of our country. And so will you.”
—Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year
“Hestia, our narrator through the frighteningly plausible near-future of this book, is astonishing. Intense. Funny. Smart. There are so many things to root for here. Will America win? Will Hestia find her match? Will the dear members of Hestia’s community survive the violence all around them? There’s a beautiful balance in this book between personal predicament and national catastrophe. I loved it. Hestia Strikes a Match is the novel I didn’t know I needed.”
—Jessica Francis Kane, author of Rules for Visiting
“An extraordinary debut about an extraordinary time, Hestia Strikes a Match delighted me and made me laugh out loud and tear up at the same time. Christine Grillo combines wry satire with a moving story of how we form bonds of love and friendship even as the world around us is crumbling. Hestia is everything I could wish for in a character—quirky, smart, infuriating, broken, wise, and funny as hell—and I wish she were real so I could meet her for a drink and stay in her world a little longer.”
—Angie Kim, author of Miracle Creek
“A rom-com about the ups and downs of dating, but it’s set during the next American civil war in the very near future. Right?! This very funny, very sad and sweet, and very Baltimore book is about finding connection in a world where everything has been turned inside out and loved ones have turned on each other. Sound familiar? Just read it: it’s wonderful, it’s relevant, it’s so good.”
—Amber Sparks, author of And I Do Not Forgive You
“Christine Grillo’s extremely wise and deeply funny novel, Hestia Strikes a Match, gives us something much more necessary than yet another dystopian novel belatedly trying to wake us up to the always-already. She gives us a riotously irreverent, effortlessly firecracking pair of Socratic dialogues: one between generations debating how to find love or whether to seek it at all, and the other between citizens trying to figure out how to save their country. One of the great pleasures of this novel is watching as Hestia, who feels muddled and stuck, comes into her own as an unshakable moral center.”
—Carlene Bauer, author of Girls They Write Songs About