Close Modal

The Celebrants

Author Steven Rowley On Tour
Paperback
$18.00 US
5.99"W x 8.99"H x 0.89"D   (15.2 x 22.8 x 2.3 cm) | 13 oz (357 g) | 24 per carton
On sale May 30, 2023 | 320 Pages | 978-0-593-71447-8
Sales rights: US, Canada, Open Mkt
Export Edition
A Big Chill for our times, celebrating decades-long friendships and promises—especially to ourselves—by the bestselling and celebrated author of The Guncle.

It’s been a minute—or five years—since Jordan Vargas last saw his college friends, and twenty-eight years since their graduation when their adult lives officially began. Now Jordan, Jordy, Naomi, Craig, and Marielle find themselves at the brink of a new decade, with all the responsibilities of adulthood, yet no closer to having their lives figured out. That’s not for a lack of trying. Over the years they’ve reunited in Big Sur to honor a decades old pact to throw each other living “funerals,” celebrations to remind themselves that life is worth living—and living well.

But this reunion is different. They’re not gathered as they were to bolster Marielle as her marriage crumbled, to lift Naomi after her parents died, or to intervene when Craig pleaded guilty to art fraud. This time, Jordan is sitting on a secret that will upend their pact.

A deeply honest tribute to the growing pains of selfhood and the people who keep us going, coupled with Steven Rowley’s signature humor and heart, The Celebrants is a moving tale about the false invincibility of youth, and the beautiful ways in which friendship helps us celebrate our lives, even amid the deepest challenges of living.
YESTERDAY ONCE MORE

(Jordan, 2023)

He was an astronaut, he imagined, like in one of those movies; his mission took him to a distant planet on the far reaches of the solar system, Saturn, perhaps, or Neptune. He was gone a nominal amount of time-three years, maybe five, significant but not interminable-but somehow everyone Jordan Vargas knew on Earth had aged a lifetime while he was in space. Naomi with her readers, struggling to figure out the television's remote as if the technology had eluded her, her irritated face twisted in frustration. Craig in the kitchen employing the flashlight on his phone to read take-out menus, muttering the whole time about the Big Sur retreat's soft ambient light while confusing yellow curry with green. What was the difference? The color, yes, obviously. But one had more turmeric. What the hell color is turmeric? Marielle educating them in great detail about the kittens she'd brought for the weekend. They were born without eyes, a condition called microphthalmia, she explained, caused by a genetic mutation that can sometimes result in smaller-than-usual tongues. And Jordan Tosic, loyal Jordy, his husband and other half, the man who made them the Jordans to so many. (Should we invite the Jordans? You don't know the Jordans?! We love the Jordans!) Jordy's metamorphosis, like Jordan's own, was less shocking, as they'd been together since college and had witnessed each other aging slowly, each having had ample time to adjust to the other's weathering like the wearing of a beloved chair's upholstery over time.

Of course Jordan Vargas wasn't an astronaut, or anything close to it. He was a public relations executive, bound to Earth by gravity, a mortgage, a business he owned with his husband, and aging immigrant parents who moved the family from Bogotá when Jordan was eight to give him and his brother a better life. He was someone who vibrated not from sitting above liquid-fueled cryogenic rocket engines aboard a shuttle ready to launch, but with the genuine thrill of securing his clients ample media coverage. Or at least he used to, until slowly over the years he came to resent both the clickbaitification of journalism and the troublesome clients whom he saw more as crises than people. And it wasn't space travel that kept him away from these friends, a dangerous mission (as poetic as it might be to imagine), so much as his own busy life and the sad fact that friends-even best friends of thirty years-drift apart.

Jordan was growing impatient with Craig's inability to read a simple take-out menu. They were only in Big Sur for the long weekend; their time together, as always, was limited. He rolled up one of Mr. Ito's old National Geographic magazines stuffed in a rack next to him and, from the recliner where he sat, swatted the coffee table. "Jesus, Craig. How old are you?"

Craig sighed his displeasure.

Naomi peered over her glasses. "Don't do that to my father's magazines."

Cowed, Jordan rolled the publication the opposite way to flatten it. "Will someone help Nana with the menu? I'm famished."

"I just need to turn on some lights." Craig ran his hand against the dated backsplash in search of a light switch, managing only to trigger the garbage disposal instead.

"I told you. All the lights are already on." Naomi strained to open the remote, but the plastic latch was stuck. Her mother would use a dime to open battery compartments, but no one carried coins anymore.

"I'll help," Marielle offered. "My eyes are still young." She was also the youngest by a year, having skipped a grade somewhere, the only one of them yet to turn fifty. Her hair was untamed, an ashen blond with streaks of gray, and only a delicate whisper now of its former red. Of the five of them, she had updated her style the least, and she looked much like the lone female member of a once-popular folk trio-all she was missing was a tambourine.

"There's nothing wrong with my eyes. It's the light," Craig groused.
 
"It's not the light," Naomi insisted.
 
Jordy chuckled. "Unlike the cats."

"There's nothing wrong with their eyes," Marielle admonished, fussing over the laundry basket at her feet she'd requisitioned to make the kittens a nest. "It's just they don't have any."

Jordan looked up at Craig. "Toss me your phone."

"I only have one bar." The cell reception at the house was almost nonexistent.

"I didn't ask you how many bars you had, I said toss me your damn phone!"

Marielle, in a sincere yet comical overreaction, jumped in front of the kittens to act as a human shield and everyone laughed.

Naomi Ito, Craig Scheffler, Marielle Holland, Jordy Tosic, Jordan Vargas. They were mostly nineteen the night they met; it seemed like just moments ago. They, along with Alec Swigert, were transfer students to Berkeley who shared a dormitory floor, graduating with the Class of 1995 (except for Alec, who didn't live long enough to collect his degree).

Jordan tapped the back of his husband's hand and pointed to his own phone on the charger, thinking he had a better chance of placing a take-out order online, even with one bar of service, than Craig ever did of deciphering a printed menu. Jordy reached for the phone and Jordan could still see in his six-foot-four frame the young athlete he fell for in school. They jumped at the sound of three rapid raps, Naomi banging the remote on an end table; the table lamp's shade went askew. Naomi looked up to everyone's scorn. "What! Craig's eyes are weak, not his heart."

"We have a dog with a weak heart at the rescue, stage five murmur, a Basset," Marielle offered as she sat in the recliner, placing the kittens on her lap. She tucked her legs underneath her so that they disappeared entirely under her dress. "He made friends with a deaf Malinois. They're so cute, the two of them, so we're trying to place them together." Several years back Marielle had left her life in D.C. to open an animal rescue in Boring, Oregon. ("That's not a commentary on Oregon," she had repeated several times, as if obligated to do so by the Beaver State's chamber of commerce. "That's literally the name of the town.")

Craig peered up from the menu, raising his phone in the process and blinding Jordy with his flashlight. "Do you guys even want Thai? We could also just order pizza."

Naomi finally had the remote open. "These batteries are corroded. I think my mother kept replacements upstairs." She had maintained the Big Sur house as a shrine to her parents years after they died.

"What about sushi?" Jordy suggested, still rubbing the light from his eyes.

"Surprise, surprise. The Jordans want sushi."

"I'm Switzerland," Jordan insisted.

"I stand corrected. Tosic wants sushi, Vargas wants . . . Fondue."

"No sushi. I'm vegetarian," Marielle reminded them.

In unison, they shouted, "WE KNOW!"

Naomi headed for the stairs and Marielle followed, as if she'd been dying to get her alone.

As much as they had all aged, the house in Big Sur seemed revived, its retro style that felt so dated twenty-eight years ago when they assembled here the night Alec was buried was once again in architectural vogue. The house sat high above the water, built over a cliff between a grove of trees and craggy rocks overlooking the ocean. It was all wood paneling and glass to make the most of the breathtaking views, the whole place a paean to the American midcentury and its minimalist aesthetic. While much of the house was a single story on stilts that jutted out over the water, there was a small second story built over the back end of the house by the driveway. There were clean lines throughout; in fact the stairwell to the small upper bedrooms didn't even have a banister. In an unfortunate pun, the house was named Sur la Vie.

When the guys were alone Craig pointed to Jordy's tee. "You haven't bought a new shirt in thirty years?"

Jordy glanced down to see BERKELEY written in blue. "Jordan got me this for my fiftieth when I started swimming again." Jordy's doctor had told him running was taking a toll on his knees, and his Chelsea Piers health club had a pool. "I set a goal of doing the 20 Bridges Swim around Manhattan."

Craig recoiled. "You would swim in the East River?"

"It's actually the cleanest it's been in years."

"Mount Saint Helens is the most dormant it's been in years. I wouldn't lower myself in the crater."

Jordan studied a painting that hung just shy of level on the living room wall. He remembered the seascape from their first visit to Big Sur after Alec died; he hated it then, it was a shade too bright and too cheery for both their mood and the sea, but he had a certain fondness for it now that he saw the world as a darker place and welcomed a smattering of light. "You know, I think this is an actual Rembrandt."

"Funny," Craig said, obviously not amused.

"No, I'm serious, Nana. Maybe you can confirm." Nana was a nickname Craig earned in college by wearing nightshirts and falling asleep before nine.

A commotion drew their eyes up to the landing; Marielle and Naomi reappeared at the top of the stairs.

"It's true!" Marielle said, in the midst of a tense conversation. "For the last year or so at least I've been feeling like my own worst enemy." She turned to look at Naomi, expecting perhaps the sympathetic nod of female companionship.

"Is that so." Naomi clutched a package of likely expired AAAs.

Marielle nodded.

"Because I'm literally going to push you down these stairs if you don't move any faster." With her glasses and the gray in her hair, Naomi looked not unlike her late mother, and she had an inscrutable demeanor to match.

"OH MY GOD!" Marielle shrieked, grabbing Naomi's hand. "Is that a ring?" She studied the double gold band with an oval green stone.

Naomi snatched her hand back and headed down the stairs, Marielle in hot pursuit. "Let's not make a big deal of it."

"Does this mean you and...?"

"I said, let's not make a big deal!"

"But it's jade." Where romance was concerned, Marielle was one for tradition.

"It's an inside joke." Naomi wanted off the subject as quickly as possible.

"I don't get it."

"That's because you're not on the inside." She knew her friends. There was no weaseling out of an explanation with such intense focus on her. "Jade is supposed to cure . . . I don't know, kidney ailments or something. Gary says I'm a pain in his side, but he wants to marry me anyway."

"Romantic," Jordy offered.

Naomi wasn't about to take relationship advice from the Jordans, who never had to endure modern dating. To her it was the perfect proposal.
 
Marielle's face lit up. "We have to celebrate!"
 
Jordy interjected, "We are celebrating. We're celebrating Jordan."
 
Naomi buried her face in her hands. "You know, I was with Fleetwood Mac when you called."
 
"The Fleetwood Mac?" Marielle asked.

"No, Fleetwood Mac and Cheese, a lounge act in Reno. Yes, the Fleetwood Mac." Naomi, an executive for the band's music label, had been sent out to check on the surviving members on tour.

Craig emerged from the kitchen. "So, Jordan. Are you going to tell us why you assembled us here?"

Jordan pretended to be immersed in his phone as Naomi slipped the new batteries into the remote. "Don't you think we're getting a little old for the pact?"

Marielle chastised Naomi. "You only say that because you had your funeral already."

"As did you, if I recall," Naomi said. "As have we all."

"Actually, I haven't," Jordy said, and all eyes turned toward him. "I haven't!" he stressed.

"Oh, sweet Jordy." Naomi dropped her head to feign sorrow. "Always a pallbearer, never a corpse."

Craig gathered the stack of menus. "I'm taking these outdoors where I can read them under the floodlights you use to scare the raccoons. No one follow me."

"No one is," Jordan clarified, but Craig was already gone.

"Should we tell him the floodlights are there to scare away mountain lions and not raccoons?" The batteries now secure, Naomi turned the television on to a rerun of The People Upstairs, keeping the volume on mute. The warm glow of the TV helped everything feel so familiar.

"I used to love this show," Jordy said.

Craig burst back inside.

Jordan looked up. "Mountain lion?"

Craig recoiled. Mountain lion? "No. There's a putrid smell out there."

"Those are trees. It's called nature," Naomi clarified.

Craig, who still lived on the Lower East Side of Manhattan near the gallery where he once worked, replied, "That's not it. It smells like mulch."

"WHAT DO YOU THINK MULCH IS?" Naomi made exasperated gestures with both of her arms to emphasize all the bark and wood that surrounded them.

Marielle checked on the kittens, then flopped on the couch, kicking one leg over the armrest. She turned to the Jordans. "You two should adopt my dogs. The Basset and the Malinois."

Jordy shot his husband a panicked look. They had just arrived at the cabin, hadn't even ordered food. Were they going to get into their news before a second bottle of wine? "It's not a good time."

"It's never a good time. That's just an excuse. You just do it because there are so many in need." To Marielle it was like having children. If she had waited for the right time, she never would have had Mia, and she loved her daughter (despite her complicated feelings for Mia's father).

Jordy scrambled for an excuse. "We live in the city. In an apartment. There's no room for a large dog."

"Oooooh," Marielle cooed, not ceding an inch. "I know four bonded Maltipoos." She said it in a boastful way, the way one might announce they knew Michelle Obama.

"FOUR!" Craig exclaimed.

"I'm not talking to you! I'm talking to the Jordans."

"Look at their faces! Tosic is apoplectic!"

Marielle sat up, put her hands on her hips, and said, "Aren't you supposed to be in prison?"

Craig frowned. He had been granted early release but wasn't quite ready for jokes.

If Jordan squinted he could still see them as they were when they were twenty-two, the night they first came to Sur la Vie. They listened to music that night, Sarah McLachlan and Sophie B. Hawkins and Shawn Colvin, and the Carpenters for some reason too; he vividly remembered that, as Naomi had made such a fuss. They stood around with a sort of stunned bemusement, the finality of Alec's death yet to sink in. Alec would burst through the door at any moment-they were convinced of it-high on his signature trail mix, a blend of ecstasy, ketamine, and god knows what else (none of them were privy to his recipe-he was like Colonel Sanders that way) and make a grandiose proclamation like no two people have ever met, or that they only existed inside him. The invincibility of youth had been pierced that night, but the air had yet to fully escape. Before that, like most young people, they had all thought they would live forever.

"Someone put on music," Naomi instructed. "It’s like a wake in here."

Jordan said very plainly, "Ha."

"I will!" Marielle volunteered.

"Someone other than Marielle."

Marielle protested, but they all knew exactly why Naomi objected. Marielle liked the highlights, the songs they played on the radio. Naomi detested singles, had spent a life at war with popular music, professing only to like deeper cuts. It was that way now that she worked in the industry, it was that way in college when they were randomly assigned as roommates, as far back as history took them. Naomi arrived with a milk crate of albums, Marielle with a shoebox of cassingles.

When Naomi looked away, Jordan slipped his phone to Marielle and encouraged her to choose. She beamed. Seconds later piano chords unspooled through the speaker; Marielle reached for Jordan’s hand and together they started to dance as Karen Carpenter’s rich voice, thick as cabernet, filled the room.

When I was young, I’d listen to the radio...

He’d teed Marielle up and she’d knocked it out of the park.

"NO! VETO!" Naomi came running to grab Jordan’s phone.

"OVERRIDE!" Jordan laughed.

Naomi exhaled her displeasure. "It’s your funeral," she mumbled, giving up. It had been twenty-eight years, more than half their lives, since they made their pact and that joke was never not a source of amusement.
Finalist for the CALIBA Golden Poppy Award

A Good Housekeeping Book Club Pick
An Indie Next Pick
A LibraryReads Hall of Fame Pick

One of The New York Times Book Review Summer Books 2023
One of Buzzfeed’s Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Books of 2023
One of Electric Lit’s Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Books of Spring 2023

One of Nerd Daily’s Most Anticipated Books of 2023
One of Entertainment Weekly’s Best New Books for Spring

One of Real Simple’s Must-Read Books of Summer
One of Today.com's Most Ancitipated Books of 2023
One of New York Post’s Best New Books

One of Reader’s Digest’s Most Anticipated Summer Books
One of BookRiot’s Best New Books of May
One of Esquire’s Best LGBTQ Books of 2023

One of Southern Living’s Best New Beach Reads

"Rowley, author of the adorable novel The Guncle, navigates friendships and the challenges of adult life with humor and warmth."The Free Lance-Star

"The Celebrants offers the combination of tears and laughs fans of Rowley, author of The Guncle, have come to expect.” —Parade

"It’s hard to think of a novelist who handles grief with more gentleness than Steven Rowley. . . . Rowley himself nails the vibe as 'four funerals and a wedding'. . . . Rowley’s repartee is witty, and the importance of making sure those you love know how much they mean to you comes through on every page.” —The Christian Science Monitor

"This novel is a newly minted New York Times bestseller—and for good reason. It’s Steven Rowley’s sharpest work to date, which is saying something, as his bibliography includes modern queer favorites like The Editor and The Guncle." —Esquire

"A Big Chill for our times . . . Funny, tender, and incredibly moving, [The Celebrants] is a life-affirming, powerful ode to friendship that will inspire you to reconnect with your own treasured friends." —Serendipity Magazine

"A little The Big Chill, a little St. Elmo's Fire, the kind of buddy book you want for the summer . . . Perfectly crafted, and author Steven Rowley packs a lot of characters in it while still leaving the tale uncomplicated." —Seattle Gay Times

"This funny, poignant, heartfelt novel is a testament to the importance of friendship, especially when life gets hard." —Good Housekeeping

"Witty . . . A tender reminder of the exigencies of life and the remarkable ability of happy memories to melt the years away." —Shelf Awareness

"Steven Rowley is one of those authors where if you read one of his novels, his name gets added to a mental 'TBR' (to-be read) list. That is, of course, if you love rich characters written with love and humor that you'd like to know in real life. Each of his books is so uniquely different in plot and beautifully told. . . . Rowley keenly taps into the vibe of old friendships. . . . People are craving connection now more than ever. Rowley's The Celebrants is not only a reminder of that, but a salve. Treat yourself, read this book, and call an old friend.” —Associated Press

”From the author of The Guncle comes the ultimate story of friend goals. . . . Throughout this ode to good friends is lots of clever dialogue and some genuinely funny moments.”BookRiot

"Rowley has created such living, breathing characters that the heartbreaking truth—this is a book about a character’s impending death—is truly heartbreaking. . . . I kept Kleenex in business while reading this book, but I also laughed a whole lot. It’s the sort of heartwarming story that makes me want to ring up my pals for a much-needed visit."Reader’s Digest (Editor’s Pick)

"This heartwarming coming of age story follows a group of five college friends all about to enter their 50s….Alternating between the present day gathering and previous 'funerals' from past years, you’ll grow attached to these characters…and when you finish, you’ll want to go hug your BFFs." —The Skimm

"The Celebrants is very much about being alive. It’s marketed as a modern-day The Big Chill, but it’s stirred together with a streak of Gen X independence, a pour of wry humor, some St. Elmo’s Fire feels and a loud reminder to live boldly….It’s a book that will inspire you to gather your friends and revel in the now.” —The Washington Post

"'Big Chill, but make it Gen X-y and at least 30% more gay': That's one potential logline for the fizzy, emotionally intelligent latest from Guncle author Rowley." —Entertainment Weekly

“Heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once.” –Country Living

"Touch[es] on family, friendship, love and navigating issues in a funny, smart way.” —GMA.com

"Rowley’s novels deftly oscillate between tear-jerker and knee-slapper, books that brim with all of life’s big and small emotions, and his latest is no exception. It might just be his best yet.” —Electric Lit

"Rowley once again displays his talent at balancing humor and heart in surprising ways.” —Buzzfeed

“Equal parts contemplative, heartfelt. . . The book not only serves as a reminder that life is indeed short, but also pays tribute to the healing power of friendship in times of great upheaval or loss. . . . Plenty of funny surprises . . . A truly heartrending yet convincingly uplifting conclusion . . . Unforeseen bombshells at just the right moments, and [Rowley’s] gift for taking some of life’s most challenging roadblocks and turning them into opportunities for hope and genuine connection . . . What we’re left with is a recipe for embracing life and all that comes with it by looking death in the eye and moving forward.” —San Francisco Chronicle

"Deeply moving, build with both heart and humor, and addresses the deepest challenges of life." —Alta

"A delightful poolside or beachfront vacation. Funny, tender and achingly nostalgic." Reader’s Digest

"The author of The Guncle brings his signature humor and warmth to life’s inevitable passages and the value of friendships over time."The Washington Post

"A humorous yet moving story about identity and friendship.” The EveryGirl

"A superbly crafted narrative about five college friends who make a unique pact. . . . Beautifully written and culminating in a phenomenally well-realized concluding set-piece, Rowley's tale wonderfully captures how deeply important friendships are. . . . This is a life-affirming work, one that is both hilarious and richly affecting, with an unforgettable cast of engaging characters that readers will wish they could spend more time with.” —Booklist (starred review)

"Rowley offers another winning story of a friend group held together by an unusual bond. . . . Genuinely heartfelt . . . Rowley admirably avoids sentimentality along the way, and there’s plenty of fresh and witty dialogue. For anyone needing a reminder about the importance of friendships, this will more than do the trick.” Publishers Weekly
 
"An updated Big Chill . . . hitting many of the same sweet and melancholy notes around aging, death, love, and the shorthand old friends have with each other." —Kirkus Reviews

"Steven Rowley is an auto-buy, and his latest novel, The Celebrants, is a testament to his trademark humor and grace. A thoughtful, heartbreaking, funny novel about love, marriage, grief, and friendship." —Laura Dave, author of The Last Thing He Told Me

"The Celebrants made me laugh and cry...and make some overdue phone calls to old friends. A timely examination of why connections matter and a powerful ode to friendship. We should all have such a pact." —Shelby Van Pelt, author of Remarkably Bright Creatures

"What can stave off the fear of death, or rescue you from one of life's less fatal heartbreaks? Steven Rowley, ever warm and witty, offers up lifelong friendship, and I am inclined to believe him." —Emma Straub, author of All Adults Here and This Time Tomorrow

"A tender, funny, bittersweet exploration of friendship, family, joy, grief, and what it means to be alive. I loved everything about it.” Allison Winn Scotch, author of The Rewind
© Afonso Salcedo Photography
Steven Rowley is the bestselling author of five novels including, Lily and the Octopus, a Washington Post Notable Book; The Editor, an NPR Best Book of the Year; The Guncle, winner of the 22nd Thurber Prize for American Humor and Goodreads Choice Awards finalist for Novel of the Year; and The Celebrants. His fiction has been translated in twenty languages. He resides in Palm Springs, California. View titles by Steven Rowley
Available for sale exclusive:
•     Guam
•     Minor Outl.Ins.
•     North Mariana
•     Philippines
•     Puerto Rico
•     Samoa,American
•     US Virgin Is.

Available for sale non-exclusive:
•     Afghanistan
•     Aland Islands
•     Albania
•     Algeria
•     Andorra
•     Angola
•     Anguilla
•     Antarctica
•     Argentina
•     Armenia
•     Aruba
•     Austria
•     Azerbaijan
•     Bahrain
•     Belarus
•     Belgium
•     Benin
•     Bhutan
•     Bolivia
•     Bonaire, Saba
•     Bosnia Herzeg.
•     Bouvet Island
•     Brazil
•     Bulgaria
•     Burkina Faso
•     Burundi
•     Cambodia
•     Cape Verde
•     Centr.Afr.Rep.
•     Chad
•     Chile
•     China
•     Colombia
•     Comoro Is.
•     Congo
•     Cook Islands
•     Costa Rica
•     Croatia
•     Cuba
•     Curacao
•     Czech Republic
•     Dem. Rep. Congo
•     Denmark
•     Djibouti
•     Dominican Rep.
•     Ecuador
•     Egypt
•     El Salvador
•     Equatorial Gui.
•     Eritrea
•     Estonia
•     Ethiopia
•     Faroe Islands
•     Finland
•     France
•     Fren.Polynesia
•     French Guinea
•     Gabon
•     Georgia
•     Germany
•     Greece
•     Greenland
•     Guadeloupe
•     Guatemala
•     Guinea Republic
•     Guinea-Bissau
•     Haiti
•     Heard/McDon.Isl
•     Honduras
•     Hong Kong
•     Hungary
•     Iceland
•     Indonesia
•     Iran
•     Israel
•     Italy
•     Ivory Coast
•     Japan
•     Kazakhstan
•     Kyrgyzstan
•     Laos
•     Latvia
•     Lebanon
•     Liberia
•     Libya
•     Liechtenstein
•     Lithuania
•     Luxembourg
•     Macau
•     Macedonia
•     Madagascar
•     Maldives
•     Mali
•     Marshall island
•     Martinique
•     Mauritania
•     Mayotte
•     Mexico
•     Micronesia
•     Moldavia
•     Monaco
•     Mongolia
•     Montenegro
•     Morocco
•     Myanmar
•     Nepal
•     Netherlands
•     New Caledonia
•     Nicaragua
•     Niger
•     Niue
•     Norfolk Island
•     North Korea
•     Norway
•     Oman
•     Palau
•     Palestinian Ter
•     Panama
•     Paraguay
•     Peru
•     Poland
•     Portugal
•     Qatar
•     Reunion Island
•     Romania
•     Russian Fed.
•     Saint Martin
•     San Marino
•     SaoTome Princip
•     Saudi Arabia
•     Senegal
•     Serbia
•     Sint Maarten
•     Slovakia
•     Slovenia
•     South Korea
•     South Sudan
•     Spain
•     St Barthelemy
•     St.Pier,Miquel.
•     Sth Terr. Franc
•     Suriname
•     Svalbard
•     Sweden
•     Switzerland
•     Syria
•     Tadschikistan
•     Taiwan
•     Thailand
•     Timor-Leste
•     Togo
•     Tokelau Islands
•     Tunisia
•     Turkey
•     Turkmenistan
•     Ukraine
•     Unit.Arab Emir.
•     Uruguay
•     Uzbekistan
•     Vatican City
•     Venezuela
•     Vietnam
•     Wallis,Futuna
•     West Saharan
•     Yemen

Not available for sale:
•     Antigua/Barbuda
•     Australia
•     Bahamas
•     Bangladesh
•     Barbados
•     Belize
•     Bermuda
•     Botswana
•     Brit.Ind.Oc.Ter
•     Brit.Virgin Is.
•     Brunei
•     Cameroon
•     Canada
•     Cayman Islands
•     Christmas Islnd
•     Cocos Islands
•     Cyprus
•     Dominica
•     Falkland Islnds
•     Fiji
•     Gambia
•     Ghana
•     Gibraltar
•     Grenada
•     Guernsey
•     Guyana
•     India
•     Iraq
•     Ireland
•     Isle of Man
•     Jamaica
•     Jersey
•     Jordan
•     Kenya
•     Kiribati
•     Kuwait
•     Lesotho
•     Malawi
•     Malaysia
•     Malta
•     Mauritius
•     Montserrat
•     Mozambique
•     Namibia
•     Nauru
•     New Zealand
•     Nigeria
•     Pakistan
•     PapuaNewGuinea
•     Pitcairn Islnds
•     Rwanda
•     S. Sandwich Ins
•     Seychelles
•     Sierra Leone
•     Singapore
•     Solomon Islands
•     Somalia
•     South Africa
•     Sri Lanka
•     St. Helena
•     St. Lucia
•     St. Vincent
•     St.Chr.,Nevis
•     Sudan
•     Swaziland
•     Tanzania
•     Tonga
•     Trinidad,Tobago
•     Turks&Caicos Is
•     Tuvalu
•     USA
•     Uganda
•     United Kingdom
•     Vanuatu
•     Western Samoa
•     Zambia
•     Zimbabwe

Discussion Guide for The Celebrants

Provides questions, discussion topics, suggested reading lists, introductions and/or author Q&As, which are intended to enhance reading groups’ experiences.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

About

A Big Chill for our times, celebrating decades-long friendships and promises—especially to ourselves—by the bestselling and celebrated author of The Guncle.

It’s been a minute—or five years—since Jordan Vargas last saw his college friends, and twenty-eight years since their graduation when their adult lives officially began. Now Jordan, Jordy, Naomi, Craig, and Marielle find themselves at the brink of a new decade, with all the responsibilities of adulthood, yet no closer to having their lives figured out. That’s not for a lack of trying. Over the years they’ve reunited in Big Sur to honor a decades old pact to throw each other living “funerals,” celebrations to remind themselves that life is worth living—and living well.

But this reunion is different. They’re not gathered as they were to bolster Marielle as her marriage crumbled, to lift Naomi after her parents died, or to intervene when Craig pleaded guilty to art fraud. This time, Jordan is sitting on a secret that will upend their pact.

A deeply honest tribute to the growing pains of selfhood and the people who keep us going, coupled with Steven Rowley’s signature humor and heart, The Celebrants is a moving tale about the false invincibility of youth, and the beautiful ways in which friendship helps us celebrate our lives, even amid the deepest challenges of living.

Excerpt

YESTERDAY ONCE MORE

(Jordan, 2023)

He was an astronaut, he imagined, like in one of those movies; his mission took him to a distant planet on the far reaches of the solar system, Saturn, perhaps, or Neptune. He was gone a nominal amount of time-three years, maybe five, significant but not interminable-but somehow everyone Jordan Vargas knew on Earth had aged a lifetime while he was in space. Naomi with her readers, struggling to figure out the television's remote as if the technology had eluded her, her irritated face twisted in frustration. Craig in the kitchen employing the flashlight on his phone to read take-out menus, muttering the whole time about the Big Sur retreat's soft ambient light while confusing yellow curry with green. What was the difference? The color, yes, obviously. But one had more turmeric. What the hell color is turmeric? Marielle educating them in great detail about the kittens she'd brought for the weekend. They were born without eyes, a condition called microphthalmia, she explained, caused by a genetic mutation that can sometimes result in smaller-than-usual tongues. And Jordan Tosic, loyal Jordy, his husband and other half, the man who made them the Jordans to so many. (Should we invite the Jordans? You don't know the Jordans?! We love the Jordans!) Jordy's metamorphosis, like Jordan's own, was less shocking, as they'd been together since college and had witnessed each other aging slowly, each having had ample time to adjust to the other's weathering like the wearing of a beloved chair's upholstery over time.

Of course Jordan Vargas wasn't an astronaut, or anything close to it. He was a public relations executive, bound to Earth by gravity, a mortgage, a business he owned with his husband, and aging immigrant parents who moved the family from Bogotá when Jordan was eight to give him and his brother a better life. He was someone who vibrated not from sitting above liquid-fueled cryogenic rocket engines aboard a shuttle ready to launch, but with the genuine thrill of securing his clients ample media coverage. Or at least he used to, until slowly over the years he came to resent both the clickbaitification of journalism and the troublesome clients whom he saw more as crises than people. And it wasn't space travel that kept him away from these friends, a dangerous mission (as poetic as it might be to imagine), so much as his own busy life and the sad fact that friends-even best friends of thirty years-drift apart.

Jordan was growing impatient with Craig's inability to read a simple take-out menu. They were only in Big Sur for the long weekend; their time together, as always, was limited. He rolled up one of Mr. Ito's old National Geographic magazines stuffed in a rack next to him and, from the recliner where he sat, swatted the coffee table. "Jesus, Craig. How old are you?"

Craig sighed his displeasure.

Naomi peered over her glasses. "Don't do that to my father's magazines."

Cowed, Jordan rolled the publication the opposite way to flatten it. "Will someone help Nana with the menu? I'm famished."

"I just need to turn on some lights." Craig ran his hand against the dated backsplash in search of a light switch, managing only to trigger the garbage disposal instead.

"I told you. All the lights are already on." Naomi strained to open the remote, but the plastic latch was stuck. Her mother would use a dime to open battery compartments, but no one carried coins anymore.

"I'll help," Marielle offered. "My eyes are still young." She was also the youngest by a year, having skipped a grade somewhere, the only one of them yet to turn fifty. Her hair was untamed, an ashen blond with streaks of gray, and only a delicate whisper now of its former red. Of the five of them, she had updated her style the least, and she looked much like the lone female member of a once-popular folk trio-all she was missing was a tambourine.

"There's nothing wrong with my eyes. It's the light," Craig groused.
 
"It's not the light," Naomi insisted.
 
Jordy chuckled. "Unlike the cats."

"There's nothing wrong with their eyes," Marielle admonished, fussing over the laundry basket at her feet she'd requisitioned to make the kittens a nest. "It's just they don't have any."

Jordan looked up at Craig. "Toss me your phone."

"I only have one bar." The cell reception at the house was almost nonexistent.

"I didn't ask you how many bars you had, I said toss me your damn phone!"

Marielle, in a sincere yet comical overreaction, jumped in front of the kittens to act as a human shield and everyone laughed.

Naomi Ito, Craig Scheffler, Marielle Holland, Jordy Tosic, Jordan Vargas. They were mostly nineteen the night they met; it seemed like just moments ago. They, along with Alec Swigert, were transfer students to Berkeley who shared a dormitory floor, graduating with the Class of 1995 (except for Alec, who didn't live long enough to collect his degree).

Jordan tapped the back of his husband's hand and pointed to his own phone on the charger, thinking he had a better chance of placing a take-out order online, even with one bar of service, than Craig ever did of deciphering a printed menu. Jordy reached for the phone and Jordan could still see in his six-foot-four frame the young athlete he fell for in school. They jumped at the sound of three rapid raps, Naomi banging the remote on an end table; the table lamp's shade went askew. Naomi looked up to everyone's scorn. "What! Craig's eyes are weak, not his heart."

"We have a dog with a weak heart at the rescue, stage five murmur, a Basset," Marielle offered as she sat in the recliner, placing the kittens on her lap. She tucked her legs underneath her so that they disappeared entirely under her dress. "He made friends with a deaf Malinois. They're so cute, the two of them, so we're trying to place them together." Several years back Marielle had left her life in D.C. to open an animal rescue in Boring, Oregon. ("That's not a commentary on Oregon," she had repeated several times, as if obligated to do so by the Beaver State's chamber of commerce. "That's literally the name of the town.")

Craig peered up from the menu, raising his phone in the process and blinding Jordy with his flashlight. "Do you guys even want Thai? We could also just order pizza."

Naomi finally had the remote open. "These batteries are corroded. I think my mother kept replacements upstairs." She had maintained the Big Sur house as a shrine to her parents years after they died.

"What about sushi?" Jordy suggested, still rubbing the light from his eyes.

"Surprise, surprise. The Jordans want sushi."

"I'm Switzerland," Jordan insisted.

"I stand corrected. Tosic wants sushi, Vargas wants . . . Fondue."

"No sushi. I'm vegetarian," Marielle reminded them.

In unison, they shouted, "WE KNOW!"

Naomi headed for the stairs and Marielle followed, as if she'd been dying to get her alone.

As much as they had all aged, the house in Big Sur seemed revived, its retro style that felt so dated twenty-eight years ago when they assembled here the night Alec was buried was once again in architectural vogue. The house sat high above the water, built over a cliff between a grove of trees and craggy rocks overlooking the ocean. It was all wood paneling and glass to make the most of the breathtaking views, the whole place a paean to the American midcentury and its minimalist aesthetic. While much of the house was a single story on stilts that jutted out over the water, there was a small second story built over the back end of the house by the driveway. There were clean lines throughout; in fact the stairwell to the small upper bedrooms didn't even have a banister. In an unfortunate pun, the house was named Sur la Vie.

When the guys were alone Craig pointed to Jordy's tee. "You haven't bought a new shirt in thirty years?"

Jordy glanced down to see BERKELEY written in blue. "Jordan got me this for my fiftieth when I started swimming again." Jordy's doctor had told him running was taking a toll on his knees, and his Chelsea Piers health club had a pool. "I set a goal of doing the 20 Bridges Swim around Manhattan."

Craig recoiled. "You would swim in the East River?"

"It's actually the cleanest it's been in years."

"Mount Saint Helens is the most dormant it's been in years. I wouldn't lower myself in the crater."

Jordan studied a painting that hung just shy of level on the living room wall. He remembered the seascape from their first visit to Big Sur after Alec died; he hated it then, it was a shade too bright and too cheery for both their mood and the sea, but he had a certain fondness for it now that he saw the world as a darker place and welcomed a smattering of light. "You know, I think this is an actual Rembrandt."

"Funny," Craig said, obviously not amused.

"No, I'm serious, Nana. Maybe you can confirm." Nana was a nickname Craig earned in college by wearing nightshirts and falling asleep before nine.

A commotion drew their eyes up to the landing; Marielle and Naomi reappeared at the top of the stairs.

"It's true!" Marielle said, in the midst of a tense conversation. "For the last year or so at least I've been feeling like my own worst enemy." She turned to look at Naomi, expecting perhaps the sympathetic nod of female companionship.

"Is that so." Naomi clutched a package of likely expired AAAs.

Marielle nodded.

"Because I'm literally going to push you down these stairs if you don't move any faster." With her glasses and the gray in her hair, Naomi looked not unlike her late mother, and she had an inscrutable demeanor to match.

"OH MY GOD!" Marielle shrieked, grabbing Naomi's hand. "Is that a ring?" She studied the double gold band with an oval green stone.

Naomi snatched her hand back and headed down the stairs, Marielle in hot pursuit. "Let's not make a big deal of it."

"Does this mean you and...?"

"I said, let's not make a big deal!"

"But it's jade." Where romance was concerned, Marielle was one for tradition.

"It's an inside joke." Naomi wanted off the subject as quickly as possible.

"I don't get it."

"That's because you're not on the inside." She knew her friends. There was no weaseling out of an explanation with such intense focus on her. "Jade is supposed to cure . . . I don't know, kidney ailments or something. Gary says I'm a pain in his side, but he wants to marry me anyway."

"Romantic," Jordy offered.

Naomi wasn't about to take relationship advice from the Jordans, who never had to endure modern dating. To her it was the perfect proposal.
 
Marielle's face lit up. "We have to celebrate!"
 
Jordy interjected, "We are celebrating. We're celebrating Jordan."
 
Naomi buried her face in her hands. "You know, I was with Fleetwood Mac when you called."
 
"The Fleetwood Mac?" Marielle asked.

"No, Fleetwood Mac and Cheese, a lounge act in Reno. Yes, the Fleetwood Mac." Naomi, an executive for the band's music label, had been sent out to check on the surviving members on tour.

Craig emerged from the kitchen. "So, Jordan. Are you going to tell us why you assembled us here?"

Jordan pretended to be immersed in his phone as Naomi slipped the new batteries into the remote. "Don't you think we're getting a little old for the pact?"

Marielle chastised Naomi. "You only say that because you had your funeral already."

"As did you, if I recall," Naomi said. "As have we all."

"Actually, I haven't," Jordy said, and all eyes turned toward him. "I haven't!" he stressed.

"Oh, sweet Jordy." Naomi dropped her head to feign sorrow. "Always a pallbearer, never a corpse."

Craig gathered the stack of menus. "I'm taking these outdoors where I can read them under the floodlights you use to scare the raccoons. No one follow me."

"No one is," Jordan clarified, but Craig was already gone.

"Should we tell him the floodlights are there to scare away mountain lions and not raccoons?" The batteries now secure, Naomi turned the television on to a rerun of The People Upstairs, keeping the volume on mute. The warm glow of the TV helped everything feel so familiar.

"I used to love this show," Jordy said.

Craig burst back inside.

Jordan looked up. "Mountain lion?"

Craig recoiled. Mountain lion? "No. There's a putrid smell out there."

"Those are trees. It's called nature," Naomi clarified.

Craig, who still lived on the Lower East Side of Manhattan near the gallery where he once worked, replied, "That's not it. It smells like mulch."

"WHAT DO YOU THINK MULCH IS?" Naomi made exasperated gestures with both of her arms to emphasize all the bark and wood that surrounded them.

Marielle checked on the kittens, then flopped on the couch, kicking one leg over the armrest. She turned to the Jordans. "You two should adopt my dogs. The Basset and the Malinois."

Jordy shot his husband a panicked look. They had just arrived at the cabin, hadn't even ordered food. Were they going to get into their news before a second bottle of wine? "It's not a good time."

"It's never a good time. That's just an excuse. You just do it because there are so many in need." To Marielle it was like having children. If she had waited for the right time, she never would have had Mia, and she loved her daughter (despite her complicated feelings for Mia's father).

Jordy scrambled for an excuse. "We live in the city. In an apartment. There's no room for a large dog."

"Oooooh," Marielle cooed, not ceding an inch. "I know four bonded Maltipoos." She said it in a boastful way, the way one might announce they knew Michelle Obama.

"FOUR!" Craig exclaimed.

"I'm not talking to you! I'm talking to the Jordans."

"Look at their faces! Tosic is apoplectic!"

Marielle sat up, put her hands on her hips, and said, "Aren't you supposed to be in prison?"

Craig frowned. He had been granted early release but wasn't quite ready for jokes.

If Jordan squinted he could still see them as they were when they were twenty-two, the night they first came to Sur la Vie. They listened to music that night, Sarah McLachlan and Sophie B. Hawkins and Shawn Colvin, and the Carpenters for some reason too; he vividly remembered that, as Naomi had made such a fuss. They stood around with a sort of stunned bemusement, the finality of Alec's death yet to sink in. Alec would burst through the door at any moment-they were convinced of it-high on his signature trail mix, a blend of ecstasy, ketamine, and god knows what else (none of them were privy to his recipe-he was like Colonel Sanders that way) and make a grandiose proclamation like no two people have ever met, or that they only existed inside him. The invincibility of youth had been pierced that night, but the air had yet to fully escape. Before that, like most young people, they had all thought they would live forever.

"Someone put on music," Naomi instructed. "It’s like a wake in here."

Jordan said very plainly, "Ha."

"I will!" Marielle volunteered.

"Someone other than Marielle."

Marielle protested, but they all knew exactly why Naomi objected. Marielle liked the highlights, the songs they played on the radio. Naomi detested singles, had spent a life at war with popular music, professing only to like deeper cuts. It was that way now that she worked in the industry, it was that way in college when they were randomly assigned as roommates, as far back as history took them. Naomi arrived with a milk crate of albums, Marielle with a shoebox of cassingles.

When Naomi looked away, Jordan slipped his phone to Marielle and encouraged her to choose. She beamed. Seconds later piano chords unspooled through the speaker; Marielle reached for Jordan’s hand and together they started to dance as Karen Carpenter’s rich voice, thick as cabernet, filled the room.

When I was young, I’d listen to the radio...

He’d teed Marielle up and she’d knocked it out of the park.

"NO! VETO!" Naomi came running to grab Jordan’s phone.

"OVERRIDE!" Jordan laughed.

Naomi exhaled her displeasure. "It’s your funeral," she mumbled, giving up. It had been twenty-eight years, more than half their lives, since they made their pact and that joke was never not a source of amusement.

Praise

Finalist for the CALIBA Golden Poppy Award

A Good Housekeeping Book Club Pick
An Indie Next Pick
A LibraryReads Hall of Fame Pick

One of The New York Times Book Review Summer Books 2023
One of Buzzfeed’s Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Books of 2023
One of Electric Lit’s Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Books of Spring 2023

One of Nerd Daily’s Most Anticipated Books of 2023
One of Entertainment Weekly’s Best New Books for Spring

One of Real Simple’s Must-Read Books of Summer
One of Today.com's Most Ancitipated Books of 2023
One of New York Post’s Best New Books

One of Reader’s Digest’s Most Anticipated Summer Books
One of BookRiot’s Best New Books of May
One of Esquire’s Best LGBTQ Books of 2023

One of Southern Living’s Best New Beach Reads

"Rowley, author of the adorable novel The Guncle, navigates friendships and the challenges of adult life with humor and warmth."The Free Lance-Star

"The Celebrants offers the combination of tears and laughs fans of Rowley, author of The Guncle, have come to expect.” —Parade

"It’s hard to think of a novelist who handles grief with more gentleness than Steven Rowley. . . . Rowley himself nails the vibe as 'four funerals and a wedding'. . . . Rowley’s repartee is witty, and the importance of making sure those you love know how much they mean to you comes through on every page.” —The Christian Science Monitor

"This novel is a newly minted New York Times bestseller—and for good reason. It’s Steven Rowley’s sharpest work to date, which is saying something, as his bibliography includes modern queer favorites like The Editor and The Guncle." —Esquire

"A Big Chill for our times . . . Funny, tender, and incredibly moving, [The Celebrants] is a life-affirming, powerful ode to friendship that will inspire you to reconnect with your own treasured friends." —Serendipity Magazine

"A little The Big Chill, a little St. Elmo's Fire, the kind of buddy book you want for the summer . . . Perfectly crafted, and author Steven Rowley packs a lot of characters in it while still leaving the tale uncomplicated." —Seattle Gay Times

"This funny, poignant, heartfelt novel is a testament to the importance of friendship, especially when life gets hard." —Good Housekeeping

"Witty . . . A tender reminder of the exigencies of life and the remarkable ability of happy memories to melt the years away." —Shelf Awareness

"Steven Rowley is one of those authors where if you read one of his novels, his name gets added to a mental 'TBR' (to-be read) list. That is, of course, if you love rich characters written with love and humor that you'd like to know in real life. Each of his books is so uniquely different in plot and beautifully told. . . . Rowley keenly taps into the vibe of old friendships. . . . People are craving connection now more than ever. Rowley's The Celebrants is not only a reminder of that, but a salve. Treat yourself, read this book, and call an old friend.” —Associated Press

”From the author of The Guncle comes the ultimate story of friend goals. . . . Throughout this ode to good friends is lots of clever dialogue and some genuinely funny moments.”BookRiot

"Rowley has created such living, breathing characters that the heartbreaking truth—this is a book about a character’s impending death—is truly heartbreaking. . . . I kept Kleenex in business while reading this book, but I also laughed a whole lot. It’s the sort of heartwarming story that makes me want to ring up my pals for a much-needed visit."Reader’s Digest (Editor’s Pick)

"This heartwarming coming of age story follows a group of five college friends all about to enter their 50s….Alternating between the present day gathering and previous 'funerals' from past years, you’ll grow attached to these characters…and when you finish, you’ll want to go hug your BFFs." —The Skimm

"The Celebrants is very much about being alive. It’s marketed as a modern-day The Big Chill, but it’s stirred together with a streak of Gen X independence, a pour of wry humor, some St. Elmo’s Fire feels and a loud reminder to live boldly….It’s a book that will inspire you to gather your friends and revel in the now.” —The Washington Post

"'Big Chill, but make it Gen X-y and at least 30% more gay': That's one potential logline for the fizzy, emotionally intelligent latest from Guncle author Rowley." —Entertainment Weekly

“Heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once.” –Country Living

"Touch[es] on family, friendship, love and navigating issues in a funny, smart way.” —GMA.com

"Rowley’s novels deftly oscillate between tear-jerker and knee-slapper, books that brim with all of life’s big and small emotions, and his latest is no exception. It might just be his best yet.” —Electric Lit

"Rowley once again displays his talent at balancing humor and heart in surprising ways.” —Buzzfeed

“Equal parts contemplative, heartfelt. . . The book not only serves as a reminder that life is indeed short, but also pays tribute to the healing power of friendship in times of great upheaval or loss. . . . Plenty of funny surprises . . . A truly heartrending yet convincingly uplifting conclusion . . . Unforeseen bombshells at just the right moments, and [Rowley’s] gift for taking some of life’s most challenging roadblocks and turning them into opportunities for hope and genuine connection . . . What we’re left with is a recipe for embracing life and all that comes with it by looking death in the eye and moving forward.” —San Francisco Chronicle

"Deeply moving, build with both heart and humor, and addresses the deepest challenges of life." —Alta

"A delightful poolside or beachfront vacation. Funny, tender and achingly nostalgic." Reader’s Digest

"The author of The Guncle brings his signature humor and warmth to life’s inevitable passages and the value of friendships over time."The Washington Post

"A humorous yet moving story about identity and friendship.” The EveryGirl

"A superbly crafted narrative about five college friends who make a unique pact. . . . Beautifully written and culminating in a phenomenally well-realized concluding set-piece, Rowley's tale wonderfully captures how deeply important friendships are. . . . This is a life-affirming work, one that is both hilarious and richly affecting, with an unforgettable cast of engaging characters that readers will wish they could spend more time with.” —Booklist (starred review)

"Rowley offers another winning story of a friend group held together by an unusual bond. . . . Genuinely heartfelt . . . Rowley admirably avoids sentimentality along the way, and there’s plenty of fresh and witty dialogue. For anyone needing a reminder about the importance of friendships, this will more than do the trick.” Publishers Weekly
 
"An updated Big Chill . . . hitting many of the same sweet and melancholy notes around aging, death, love, and the shorthand old friends have with each other." —Kirkus Reviews

"Steven Rowley is an auto-buy, and his latest novel, The Celebrants, is a testament to his trademark humor and grace. A thoughtful, heartbreaking, funny novel about love, marriage, grief, and friendship." —Laura Dave, author of The Last Thing He Told Me

"The Celebrants made me laugh and cry...and make some overdue phone calls to old friends. A timely examination of why connections matter and a powerful ode to friendship. We should all have such a pact." —Shelby Van Pelt, author of Remarkably Bright Creatures

"What can stave off the fear of death, or rescue you from one of life's less fatal heartbreaks? Steven Rowley, ever warm and witty, offers up lifelong friendship, and I am inclined to believe him." —Emma Straub, author of All Adults Here and This Time Tomorrow

"A tender, funny, bittersweet exploration of friendship, family, joy, grief, and what it means to be alive. I loved everything about it.” Allison Winn Scotch, author of The Rewind

Author

© Afonso Salcedo Photography
Steven Rowley is the bestselling author of five novels including, Lily and the Octopus, a Washington Post Notable Book; The Editor, an NPR Best Book of the Year; The Guncle, winner of the 22nd Thurber Prize for American Humor and Goodreads Choice Awards finalist for Novel of the Year; and The Celebrants. His fiction has been translated in twenty languages. He resides in Palm Springs, California. View titles by Steven Rowley

Rights

Available for sale exclusive:
•     Guam
•     Minor Outl.Ins.
•     North Mariana
•     Philippines
•     Puerto Rico
•     Samoa,American
•     US Virgin Is.

Available for sale non-exclusive:
•     Afghanistan
•     Aland Islands
•     Albania
•     Algeria
•     Andorra
•     Angola
•     Anguilla
•     Antarctica
•     Argentina
•     Armenia
•     Aruba
•     Austria
•     Azerbaijan
•     Bahrain
•     Belarus
•     Belgium
•     Benin
•     Bhutan
•     Bolivia
•     Bonaire, Saba
•     Bosnia Herzeg.
•     Bouvet Island
•     Brazil
•     Bulgaria
•     Burkina Faso
•     Burundi
•     Cambodia
•     Cape Verde
•     Centr.Afr.Rep.
•     Chad
•     Chile
•     China
•     Colombia
•     Comoro Is.
•     Congo
•     Cook Islands
•     Costa Rica
•     Croatia
•     Cuba
•     Curacao
•     Czech Republic
•     Dem. Rep. Congo
•     Denmark
•     Djibouti
•     Dominican Rep.
•     Ecuador
•     Egypt
•     El Salvador
•     Equatorial Gui.
•     Eritrea
•     Estonia
•     Ethiopia
•     Faroe Islands
•     Finland
•     France
•     Fren.Polynesia
•     French Guinea
•     Gabon
•     Georgia
•     Germany
•     Greece
•     Greenland
•     Guadeloupe
•     Guatemala
•     Guinea Republic
•     Guinea-Bissau
•     Haiti
•     Heard/McDon.Isl
•     Honduras
•     Hong Kong
•     Hungary
•     Iceland
•     Indonesia
•     Iran
•     Israel
•     Italy
•     Ivory Coast
•     Japan
•     Kazakhstan
•     Kyrgyzstan
•     Laos
•     Latvia
•     Lebanon
•     Liberia
•     Libya
•     Liechtenstein
•     Lithuania
•     Luxembourg
•     Macau
•     Macedonia
•     Madagascar
•     Maldives
•     Mali
•     Marshall island
•     Martinique
•     Mauritania
•     Mayotte
•     Mexico
•     Micronesia
•     Moldavia
•     Monaco
•     Mongolia
•     Montenegro
•     Morocco
•     Myanmar
•     Nepal
•     Netherlands
•     New Caledonia
•     Nicaragua
•     Niger
•     Niue
•     Norfolk Island
•     North Korea
•     Norway
•     Oman
•     Palau
•     Palestinian Ter
•     Panama
•     Paraguay
•     Peru
•     Poland
•     Portugal
•     Qatar
•     Reunion Island
•     Romania
•     Russian Fed.
•     Saint Martin
•     San Marino
•     SaoTome Princip
•     Saudi Arabia
•     Senegal
•     Serbia
•     Sint Maarten
•     Slovakia
•     Slovenia
•     South Korea
•     South Sudan
•     Spain
•     St Barthelemy
•     St.Pier,Miquel.
•     Sth Terr. Franc
•     Suriname
•     Svalbard
•     Sweden
•     Switzerland
•     Syria
•     Tadschikistan
•     Taiwan
•     Thailand
•     Timor-Leste
•     Togo
•     Tokelau Islands
•     Tunisia
•     Turkey
•     Turkmenistan
•     Ukraine
•     Unit.Arab Emir.
•     Uruguay
•     Uzbekistan
•     Vatican City
•     Venezuela
•     Vietnam
•     Wallis,Futuna
•     West Saharan
•     Yemen

Not available for sale:
•     Antigua/Barbuda
•     Australia
•     Bahamas
•     Bangladesh
•     Barbados
•     Belize
•     Bermuda
•     Botswana
•     Brit.Ind.Oc.Ter
•     Brit.Virgin Is.
•     Brunei
•     Cameroon
•     Canada
•     Cayman Islands
•     Christmas Islnd
•     Cocos Islands
•     Cyprus
•     Dominica
•     Falkland Islnds
•     Fiji
•     Gambia
•     Ghana
•     Gibraltar
•     Grenada
•     Guernsey
•     Guyana
•     India
•     Iraq
•     Ireland
•     Isle of Man
•     Jamaica
•     Jersey
•     Jordan
•     Kenya
•     Kiribati
•     Kuwait
•     Lesotho
•     Malawi
•     Malaysia
•     Malta
•     Mauritius
•     Montserrat
•     Mozambique
•     Namibia
•     Nauru
•     New Zealand
•     Nigeria
•     Pakistan
•     PapuaNewGuinea
•     Pitcairn Islnds
•     Rwanda
•     S. Sandwich Ins
•     Seychelles
•     Sierra Leone
•     Singapore
•     Solomon Islands
•     Somalia
•     South Africa
•     Sri Lanka
•     St. Helena
•     St. Lucia
•     St. Vincent
•     St.Chr.,Nevis
•     Sudan
•     Swaziland
•     Tanzania
•     Tonga
•     Trinidad,Tobago
•     Turks&Caicos Is
•     Tuvalu
•     USA
•     Uganda
•     United Kingdom
•     Vanuatu
•     Western Samoa
•     Zambia
•     Zimbabwe

Guides

Discussion Guide for The Celebrants

Provides questions, discussion topics, suggested reading lists, introductions and/or author Q&As, which are intended to enhance reading groups’ experiences.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)