Generation Loss

Elizabeth Hand  - published April 2008

Shirley Jackson Award Winner

The third Cass Neary novel, Hard Light, just came out from Minotaur:

“Sharp, clear, and mercilessly lean. Not only did that style fit Cass, it fit Hand: The author, roughly the same age as her character, was also a part of the punk scene in her youth. Generation Loss rasps with gritty authenticity, from the copious references to artists like Iggy Pop and the Ramones to the way Cass’ hardcore attraction to damage and destruction propels her deep into the book’s maze of murder and secrets.”
Jason Heller, NPR

“Although it moves like a thriller, it detonates with greater resound. A dark and beautiful novel.”
Washington Post Book World

Cass Neary made her name in the 1970s as a photographer embedded in the burgeoning punk movement in New York City. Her pictures of the musicians and hangers on, the infamous, the damned, and the dead, got her into art galleries and a book deal. But thirty years later she is adrift, on her way down, and almost out. Then an old acquaintance sends her on a mercy gig to interview a famously reclusive photographer who lives on an island in Maine. When she arrives Downeast, Cass stumbles across a decades-old mystery that is still claiming victims, and into one final shot at redemption.

generation loss: the loss of quality between subsequent copies of data, such as sound recordings, video, or photographs.

Generation Loss was published in hardcover by Small Beer Press followed a year later by Harcourt Harvest’s paperback edition.

Reviews + Quotes

“Cass is a marvel, someone with whom we take the difficult journey toward delayed adulthood, wishing her encouragement despite grave odds.” — Los Angeles Times

“Hand’s terse but transporting prose keeps the reader turning pages until Neary’s gritty charm does, finally, shine through.” (B) — Entertainment Weekly

* “Hand (Mortal Love) explores the narrow boundary between artistic genius and madness in this gritty, profoundly unsettling literary thriller.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A riveting page-turner.” — Valley Advocate

“The novel crackles with energy: it is alive.” — Nicholas Rombes, (The Ramones and New Punk Cinema)

“Intense and atmospheric, Generation Loss is an inventive brew of postpunk attitude and dark mystery. Elizabeth Hand writes with craftsmanship and passion.” — George Pelecanos

“Lucid and beautifully rendered. Great, unforgiving wilderness, a vanished teenager, an excellent villain, and an obsession with art that shades into death: what else do you need? An excellent book.”
— Brian Evenson, The Open Curtain

On the web:


Note: An excerpt from this book appeared in 2005 in Gargoyle 50, edited by Lucinda Ebersole and Richard Peabody.

Camera Lucida: Reflections On Photography by Roland Barthes, translation by Richard Howard, translation copyright 1981 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Inc.
” sister morphine” from Babel by Patti Smith, copyright © 1978 by Patti Smith. Used by permission of G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.


One Response to “Generation Loss”

  1. Unusual and supernatural on February 15th, 2011 2:07 pm

    […] Generation Loss has Elizabeth Hand at her best with her penchant for psychological thrillers and artistic horrors boiled down into this quiet and unsettling beast. And Perfect Circle by Sean Stewart is my hurt/comfort read that soothes me but makes me searingly homesick for sweat-sticky, working-class Texas, homicidal ghosts and all. Join me as we focus our psychic energy to compel Stewart to write a sequel. […]

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