Jen Beagin

Books Amanda Urban, +1 212 556 5600 Email Amanda Urban

Vacuum in the Dark

Shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction
book | Fiction | Feb 2019
US & Canada → Scribner (Ed. Dan Loedel)
UK & Comm → Oneword (Ed. Juliet Mabey)

From the Whiting Award-winning author of Pretend I’m Dead and one of the most exhilarating new voices in fiction, a new hilarious, edgy, and brilliant one-of-a-kind novel about a cleaning lady named Mona and her struggles to move forward in life.

Mona is twenty-six and cleans houses for a living in Taos, New Mexico. She moved there mostly because of a bad boyfriend—a junkie named Mr. Disgusting, long story—and her efforts to restart her life since haven’t exactly gone as planned. For one thing, she’s got another bad boyfriend. This one she calls Dark, and he happens to be married to one of Mona’s clients. He also might be a little unstable.

Dark and his wife aren’t the only complicated clients on Mona’s roster, either. There’s also the Hungarian artist couple who—with her addiction to painkillers and his lingering stares—reminds Mona of troubling aspects of her childhood, and some of the underlying reasons her life had to be restarted in the first place. As she tries to get over the heartache of her affair and the older pains of her youth, Mona winds up on an eccentric, moving journey of self-discovery that takes her back to her beginnings where she attempts to unlock the key to having a sense of home in the future.

The only problems are Dark and her past. Neither is so easy to get rid of.

A constantly surprising, laugh-out-loud funny novel about an utterly unique woman dealing with some of the most universal issues in America today, Vacuum in the Dark is an unforgettable, astonishing read from one of the freshest voices in fiction today.


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The audio rights are handled by Scribner.

Film Rights


Contact Amanda Urban for more information

Helen Manders manages the translation rights for Vacuum in the Dark

Translation Rights Sold

Uitgeverij Atlas
Einaudi Editore
Wahlstrom & Widstrand

This novel is a joy: truly laugh-out-loud funny, while staying grounded and dignified, even as Mona capsizes again and again.

The New York Times Book Review

Energetic... These adventures open up into larger questions of Mona’s own stalled artistic ambitions and a reckoning with her estranged mother—issues refracted with black humor and a sense of timing that rarely slackens... The escapades are underpinned by a strong voice that seems to have seen everyone’s worst, and to have nothing left to conceal.

The New Yorker

A wildly exuberant novel that doesn't shy away from the weirder and more disgusting parts of life... an excellent book by a writer with a singular voice.

Michael Schaub

A welcome sequel to one of last year's most exciting
debuts… Beagin secures her position as a new writer to watch.

Kirkus (Starred review)

Beagin stands out among fiction’s fresh crop of promising voices: Her prose is dry, cutting, and genuinely funny. 

Entertainment Weekly

A follow-up to the riotous Pretend I'm Dead, this is what a sequel should be: darker, sexier, funnier. By turns nutty and forlorn... Brash, deadpan, and achingly troubled, Mona emerges as that problematic friend you’re nonetheless always thrilled to see.

O Magazine

Inventing situations and conversations that are off-the-charts in both weirdness and relatability, Beagin fashions an enchantingly intriguing main character in unfiltered, warmhearted Mona. This story of a woman embracing life's what-ifs and her own darkness is a great readalike for Melissa Broder's The Pisces (2018).

Annie Bostrom
Booklist (Starred review)

What this novel is about is not just cleaning, or class, or a young woman's desire to transform her poor servant lower life into a more playful and enjoyable and freer life. It is, like the best novels, about finding oneself, and of course, about Love.

Pia Bergström

Piquantly amusing... Weird, darkly funny... sharply drawn, sexually charged, wry with Mona’s deadpan wit.

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Amanda Urban
+1 212 556 5600
Email Amanda Urban
Sophie Lambert
+44 (0) 20 7393 4200
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Translation Rights
Helen Manders
+44 (0)20 7393 4425
Email Helen Manders