Failure to Comply

Author: Cavar, [Sarah]

Publication Date:

August 2024



Original language and publisher

English | Featherproof Books

Territories Handled

France, Netherlands, Scandinavia


Debut Novel

Failure to Comply

Author: Cavar, [Sarah]


“In [sarah] Cavar’s Failure to Comply, not only the world but the words we think of it in are destabilized and rebuilt. In this dystopia, one’s body and mind are tightly policed, and deviance is punishable by isolation and dehumanization. In the wilds of the world beyond, outcasts mete out death to other outcasts, all in hopes of gaining the favor of horrific government overseers. But here, too, in the wilds, there is autonomy, love, and bodily determination found between the horrors. “We continue to push the darkness back,” the narrator tells us, because we must. A stunning and terrifying work.” — Alex DiFrancesco, author of Transmutation

Failure to Comply is a striking and fresh examination of life under boot of hegemonic corporate society lovingly and ecstatically told. With language that sings and stings, this novel disrupts the status quo with the form and poetry of its telling. This book made me feel. Each sentence excited and thrilled. I loved it.” — Rivers Solomon, award-winning author of An Unkindness of Ghosts and The Deep

“Cronenberg is super normal compared to this… Failure to Comply demands the sort of understanding and interpretive lens that is more commonly asked of us by poetry. Failure to Comply rewards close attention with a deft, intelligent sense of humor and wordplay, acerbic Kafkaesque (or maybe Gilliamesque?) satire, and uncompromisingly radical politics around mind/body autonomy and liberation. What a joy to read a work of fiction— something that could be called a sci-fi novel, no less— that positively revels in the fact it’s made of words, of written language. That knows how to use that fact to trick and destabilize the reader like a magician, instead of just (or, often, at all) trying to convey vivid mental images of the various characters and scenes. That’s an exceedingly rare quality these days, and it’s always been rare to see it done ostentatiously yet well.” — Briar Ripley Page, author of Corrupted Vessels

“Cavar has created a world so thick with doublespeak and stifling, constant surveillance that escape seems impossible—and then gives us a weed among the pavement, hopeful and desperate, to live and discover what selfdom is.” — Lor Gislason, editor of Bound in Flesh

“Incisive in its critique, radical in form, Cavar’s lacerating debut novel, Failure to Comply, shepherds the reader through a Mad temporality to show us a world that is a haunting acceleration of ours. Here, the RSCH regime violently manipulates the lives and bodies of the Citizenry in desperate pursuit of pure, fascist perfection. Yet also like our own, it is a world woven with hope amidst grief, love amidst terror, softnesses among axe-blades. Failure to Comply reflects in sharper angles, cranking the extant contradictions of our society up to 11, to instruct us how to see the hidden and resist the state of affairs. In conversation with texts like Lowry’s The Giver, Porpentine’s Psycho Nymph Exile, and Nørth’s Sea-Witch, Cavar has given us a new innovation in the technologies of dystopian art.” — Nora Hikari, author of Still My Father’s Son and THE MOST HOLY DAY OF THE TRANSSEXUAL CALENDAR

Cavar’s Failure to Comply is an abolitionist text concerned with trans, disabled, and Mad liberation as a speculative art…

Every story has its fugitives. “I,” a deviant self-hacker with three arms, two stomachs, and no name, is on the run from RSCH, a high-tech, authoritarian government that mandates wellness and carves the contours of truth itself. When I is kidnapped at axe-point to be mined for forbidden memories, they must struggle against RSCH’s medical abuse to recapture their history, reunite with their lover, and rewrite their future—or risk remaining Patient forever.

I crosses an epistolary, time-flipped dreamscape as they recollect their memories from RSCH’s hungry archive, and, in the process, write the story of their liberation.

Marketing Information

Praise for Cavar:

“Cavar deftly guides readers [back] into their bodies, ensnaring them in empathy. No need to have experienced ableism to understand its full horror, Cavar reassures. I’ll make sure you know.” — Goodreads review for “A Hole Walked In”

“Cavar’s aching meditation on the challenges of inhabiting a body is also a stirring and serious account of what it means to be a patient, and to patiently await—no, to demand—a ‘getting better’ that goes beyond the body and the self.” — Megan Milks, on “Out of Mind & Into Body”