Relief Map by Rosalie Knecht comes out today!
It’s the story of a small town in rust belt Pennsylvania that gets shut down for an FBI manhunt. During the ensuing siege, our protagonist, sixteen-year-old Livy, discovers more about her family and her neighbors than she wanted to know. Relief Map feels like a forgotten coming-of-age classic, like a parable and headline news at once.
We asked the author one question.
How are you celebrating the publication of Relief Map?
My publication day is also my birthday. I’ve already celebrated by having an anxiety dream about the internet and going to work. I continued the party by stealing a handful of mini-scones from a table of refreshments set up in a hallway for people participating in a training, which I had the foresight to take three weeks ago so I wouldn’t be in a training on my birthday, which is also my publication day.
As the hours pass today, I plan to periodically stop and think about how miserable it was to be a teenager, and let a feeling of adult well-being wash over me. I will also try to psychically bridge the gap between my present self and my past self, who I guess is still existing out there in the multiverse, because time is a disc warped by gravity or whatever, so that my past self can feel the joy of having published this book. It will give her a lift. She is an eleventh grader at a large suburban public high school in Pennsylvania and she has big dreams but also deep fears about the future.
I’m a social worker so I will also be celebrating, at work, by grappling with oppressive systems and the meaning of suffering. Maybe I will buy a cupcake on my break?
Tonight I’m going to go to a restaurant that specializes in fried chicken and pie with my boyfriend. I’m going to have the chicken biscuit, which is a biscuit with a chicken cutlet on it covered in hot sauce, honey, and butter, and then I will probably have the chocolate bourbon pecan pie.
Next week is my book launch, and then I’ll read from my book to friends and family at BookCourt, and I’ll be sweating a lot, and probably floating just above the floor.
Get the book here.