Mayhem: Three Lives of a Woman
(Gival Press, 2015) won a national competition for the 2014 Gival Press Novel Award and was one of three Finalists for the 2016 Texas Institute of Letters Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Fiction.
Press for Mayhem
“The fine prose echoes Katherine Anne Porter in its sense of place.”
— Joe O’Connell’s Top Reads of 2015, Austin Chronicle. Read more.
“… what to read, watch, and listen to this (wonderfully jam-packed) month in order to achieve maximum Texas cultural literacy.. . . *Mayhem: Three Lives of a Woman,* Elizabeth Harris (Gival Press. . .).”
— Jeff Salamon, Texas Monthly. Read more.“
“performs a sophisticated act of sisterhood. . . the quietly insightful and beautifully written Mayhem intrigues and enlightens.”
— Judith Newton, Huffington Post Read the full review.
“To Faulkner and Woolf, we should add Wallace Stegner, Walter Van Tilburg Clark, Cormac McCarthy, and Annie Proulx as comparisons. Like these authors, Harris plumbs Western life, and the Western myth, to amazing depths, uncovering both savagery and humanity. . . Mayhem is a work profound and unshakable. A masterpiece.”
— Scott Neuffer, Foreword Reviews Read the full review.
“. . .the many-layered female identities make for an interesting read of the complicated and troubling subject of sexual assault as it affects personal identity.”
— Amy Gilmour, San Antonio Express News Read the full review.
— San Francisco Chronicle Read the Full review
“. . .an old story of injustice brought creatively to new life by an award-winning writer. Thoughtful readers who enjoy literary historical fiction will add it to their must-read list.”
— Carolyn Haley, New York Journal of Books Read the full review.
“Mayhem: Three Lives of a Woman is among the most vivid, textured, immersive, and compelling literary evocations of a bygone world (whose spirit nonetheless still moves, for good and ill, in our own) that I have ever encountered.”
— Evan Carton, Ploughshares at Emerson College, Read the Full Review.
“. . .the last chapter. . .is only a page and a half, and is an amazing piece. . . . nothing short of brilliant.”
—Robert Shapard, Fiction Southeast, Read the Full Review.
Audio interview with Joel Block
“This is a novel that will keep you reading well into the night.”
— James Magnuson, Director of the Michener Center for Writers and author of Famous Writers I Have Known
“A beautiful piece of work.. . . Here is a novel worth any readerʼs time. From the first chapter to the last, the author remains faithful to the reader.”
— Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, winner of The Ivan Landorf Award by the National Book Critics Circle (2014).
“In Mayhem the pitiful truth of motivations behind a woman’s three lives in is told in spare, sometimes lyric, sometimes cruel, language . . . .One cannot help but acknowledge, through the ironic vision, including fictions within fiction, of Elizabeth Harris’s work, “Yes, life is like that.”
— Carolyn Osborn, author of Where We Are Now
“Mayhem is a wonder of a novel. . . pitched in a voice rich with the lyric poetry of everyday speech. . . This archetypal tale of crime and punishment, so filled with tragedy and sympathy, is one of the most wildly alive novels I have ever read. Every sentence teems with truths both literal and metaphorical, and yet, for all its wisdom and profundity, it reaches us in the manner of a folk ballad, high and sweet and clear. ”
— Michael Parker, author of All I Have in This World, The Watery Part of the World, etc.
“Elizabeth Harris summons up not one world but several, in rich and moving succession. Itʼs as if redemption were sympathy: as if to peer deeply into anyone is to understand everyone. If this sounds less like a God and more like a great storyteller, well, thatʼs what weʼve got..”
— John Domini, author of A Tomb on the Periphery and other novels, as well as stories, criticism, and poetry.