The Virgin Suicides meets The Florida Project in this wildly original debut—a coming-of-age story about the crucible of girlhood, from a writer of rare and startling talent
We would not be born out of sweetness, we were born out of rage, we felt it in our bones. In Falls Landing, Florida—a place built of theme parks, swampy lakes, and scorched bougainvillea flowers—something sinister lurks in the deep. A gang of thirteen-year-old girls obsessively orbit around the local preacher's daughter, Sammy. She is mesmerizing, older, and in love with Eddie. But suddenly, Sammy goes missing. Where is she? Watching from a distance, they edge ever closer to discovering a dark secret about their fame-hungry town and the cruel cost of a ticket out. What they see will continue to haunt them for the rest of their lives.
Through a darkly beautiful and brutally compelling lens, Dizz Tate captures the violence, horrors, and manic joys of girlhood. Brutes is a novel about the seemingly unbreakable bonds in the "we" of young friendship, and the moment it is broken forever.
About the Author
DIZZ TATE grew up in Florida and lives in London, U.K. She has had short stories published in Granta, The Stinging Fly, Dazed, No Tokens Journal, Five Dials, 3:AM Magazine, among other publications. She was long-listed for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award in 2020 and won the Bristol Short Story Prize in 2019. Brutes is her first novel.
"Mesmerizing moments . . . An often beautiful work." —Publishers Weekly
"Tate's debut novel is for readers looking for a riveting plot only topped by its captivating voices, at times honest and vulnerable, at others chilling in their detachment, Tate’s prose enhances the conspiratorial relationship of these characters bonded by fickle friendship pacts, violence, and love. Simultaneously disturbing and sentimental, Brutes is a true reflection of girlhood." —Booklist
"Dreamlike . . . Tate’s novel feels a bit like avant-garde fashion: surreal, impractical, but beautiful to see. A promising first book whose enigmatic nature is . . . alluring." —Kirkus Reviews
"Innovative, urgent, and endlessly lush, Brutes is the rapturous story of darkly shifting allegiances among a group of obsessive teenage girls. A masterful sentence maker, Tate is a startling and singular new voice, and her debut novel is so taut and intense it might just catch fire." —Kimberly King Parsons, author of Black Light
"The mystery and the danger of being a girl, of feeling crazy and vulnerable and wild, wanting to run away and be someone—anyone—is captured here across a landscape of nail polish and fire and sex, a sinister lake and the pink sky of Florida. Brutes is a beautiful and deeply strange novel, full of dread and longing. I loved it." —Mariana Enríquez, author of Our Share of the Night and Things We Lost in the Fire
"The many voices of Brutes tell the reader seductive, dangerous stories about the lives of girls and women in Florida. Lyrical, propulsive, and at times savagely funny, this is an impressive debut by Dizz Tate, and it sucked me in from start to finish." —Alix Ohlin, author of We Want What We Want
"Polyphonically technicolor and lushly textured, Brutes is a defiant elegy to the myth of girlhood innocence. Dizz Tate's talent is brazen—and brilliant." —Sophie Mackintosh, author of The Water Cure
"Assured, insightful, quietly savage, Dizz Tate is capable of conjuring a whole world." —Nicole Flattery, author of Show Them a Good Time
"In the tradition of Southern Gothic literature made new, Brutes is dark, unsettling, lyrical, and threaded with comic moments. Set in a small and dreary Florida town, this inventive novel chronicles the collective lives of a group of girls on the precipice of adulthood and the inevitable, sorrowful surprises that come later. A mystery, the ominous disappearance of an older girl, renders the story a page-turner, but the complex characters, sharp details, insights and lush prose are to be lingered over. Dizz Tate’s debut novel is compelling and memorable." —Binnie Kirshenbaum, author of Hester Among the Ruins and Rabbits for Food