Early Sobrieties

Publication Date:

April 2024



Original language and publisher

English | Astra House

Territories Handled

World excl. North America

Territories Sold

English (UK & BC excl Can) (Hutchinson Heinemann/PRH UK)
Greece (Gutenberg/Dardanos)

Early Sobrieties


★ Dennis is nimble-tongued and keenly observant, and the book offers all sorts of humorous delights. Yet the reader quickly sees, too, that irony is Dennis’ protective coloration, that his wit is anxious and self-preserving. [ . . . ] Wry, sharp, charming, resistant to neat closures and easy turns—a debut of enormous promise. — Kirkus Reviews (Starred review)

★ A young man surfaces from the depths of alcoholism in Deagler’s pitch-perfect debut novel . . . a wizened and wry outlook on the rapidly transforming city . . . This is a standout. — Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

Early Sobrieties is a miracle, a debut of startling beauty, grit, and grace. Cutting into the glow of its lyricism and humor, the awesome glare of undeceived vision illuminates every page. — Greg Jackson, author of The Dimensions of a Cave

Funny, insightful, and, above all, well-written, Early Sobrieties is a pleasure to read. Deagler manages to tell the story of his bewildered and rudderless protagonist in a way that is not rudderless at all, but rather precise and meaningful. — David Sanchez, author of All Day is a Long Time

A luminous and observant debut about all the strangeness of returning to the places that formed you. The prose is spectacular. — Akil Kumarasamy, author of Meet Us by the Roaring Sea

Emotionally raw, often jaded, but still full of wonder, Early Sobrieties is an incredibly funny and tender story. Michael Deagler does a fantastic job of bringing into relief the absurdities of being a young adult and trying to find your place in a changing world. — Craig Finn, songwriter and frontman of The Hold Steady

Michael Deagler is the real deal. This novel is surprising in all the best ways. The actions of the complex and complicated people in this world are not predictable, but always, frighteningly, believable. Deagler writes with great control and understatement. This is a truly intelligent work from a clearly intelligent writer. — Percival Everett, 2023 Windham Campbell Prize recipient and author of Dr. No

Deagler’s debut pulls in a reader with such an inviting clarity—there’s something about the honesty in this voice that creates a lot of room for the reader to feel and makes for an illuminating and moving read. — Aimee Bender, author of The Butterfly Lampshade

Don’t worry about what Dennis Monk did when he was drinking. He’s sober now, and ready to rejoin the world of leases and paychecks, reciprocal friendships and healthy romances—if only the world would agree to take him back. When Monk’s working-stiff parents kick him out of their suburban home, mere months into his frangible sobriety, the 26-year-old spends his first dry summer couch surfing through South Philadelphia, struggling to find a place for himself in the throng of adulthood.

Monk’s haphazard pilgrimage leads him through a city in flux: growing, gentrifying, haunted by its past and its unrealized potential. Everyone he knows seems to be doing better than him—and most of them aren’t even doing that well. His run-ins with former classmates, estranged drinking buddies, and prospective lovers reveal that recovery is not the happy ending he’d expected, only a fraught next chapter.

Early Sobrieties is the eloquent confessional of an addict who is lost and found, then lost again. Like a sober, millennial Jesus’ Son, Michael Deagler’s debut novel offers an existential trek into the enigma of sobriety itself, and a narrator in need of just a little more grace.

Marketing Information

  • Featured in the Publishers Weekly Grab a Galley Winter/Spring 2024 Preview.
  • Featured in the PRH Library “Debut Authors You’ll Love” newsletter and included in their “Debuts 2024” Edelweiss collection