May 15: Book Launch, “Here Is A Game We Could Play,” by Jenny Bitner


Fabulist Magazine is excited to co-present a BOOK LAUNCH for “Here Is A Game We Could Play,” by Jenny Bitner.

WHEN: Saturday, May 15, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, via Zoom.

FEATURING: Jenny Bitner in conversation with Sasha Cagen (“Quirkyalone,” “To-Do List”)

TO ATTEND: Register for free to receive the Zoom link for this online event

About this event

Jenny Bitner’s debut novel, “Here Is A Game We Could Play” (Acre Books, 2021), includes two feverish and vivid fantasies previously published in The Fabulist: “Hansel & Me,” and “The Hospital: A Game for Lovers.”

Joins us on Saturday, May 15, for readings from “Here Is A Game We Could Play” and Jenny Bitner in conversation with Sasha Cagen, author of “Quirkyalone” and “To-Do List.”


SUMMARY: A bisexual love story with librarians and poisoning, “Here is a Game We Could Play” has been called “a book to pluck you out of your cage and reintroduce you to the wild” (Ben Loory).

DETAILS: Set in Pennsylvania in the 1990s, “Here Is a Game We Could Play” is the dreamlike story of Claudia, an intelligent eccentric trapped in her rundown, industrial hometown — a place plagued with troubling memories and hidden threats. Seeking escape from tedium, loneliness, and her obsessive fear of poisoning, Claudia retreats into books. . . and into a fantasy life with her perfect lover, to whom she addresses letters about her life, all the while imagining outlandish sexual scenarios.

In each fantasy, her lover takes a different form, ranging from a prison guard in a world where metaphor is forbidden, to a more-than-brotherly Hansel from the Grimms’ fairy tale, to a tentacled mind-reading space alien. All share a desire for a deep intimacy that eludes Claudia, even as she forms new real-life relationships and reconsiders her sexual identity—building a rapport with an elderly volunteer at the library, striking up a friendship with a wily temp at her dead-end job, and embarking on a passionate affair with Rose, the town’s new librarian. When paranoia threatens to ruin her relationship with Rose, Claudia is forced not only to combat her anxiety but to face the unresolved trauma in her past—the disappearance of her father on a night she has long repressed.

Funny, dark, inventive, and moving, “Here Is a Game We Could Play” is an original debut novel recalling the work of Aimee Bender, Angela Carter, Rebecca Brown, and Margaret Atwood.


Sasha Cagen is the author of the cult hit “Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics” and “To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soulmate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us.” Sasha’s books have garnered attention everywhere from The New York Times and NPR and to CNN and The Wall Street Journal. Sasha is currently at work on “Wet,” a memoir about healing childhood wounds through a journey of sensuality in South America.

Jenny Bitner’s stories, essays, and poems have been published in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, PANK, Fence, Mississippi Review, and The Sun. She works as a hypnotherapist and writing teacher and is a member of the Writers Grotto. Her stories “Hansel & Me” and “The Hospital: A Game for Lovers” both appear in the new book, and were previously published in The Fabulist.

The Fabulist Words & Art has been publishing fantastical fiction, poetry and art, plus related reviews and essays, since 2007.

Acre Books, the book-publishing offshoot of The Cincinnati Review, aims to build on the excellence that its parent publication has become known for. Like CR, our small press will focus on surprising, imaginative, and absorbing works — of poetry, fiction, literary nonfiction, and hybrid forms — that are expertly crafted and beautifully polished, and that engage readers aesthetically as well as emotionally.

If you like what we're doing, please support The Fabulist on Patreon
%d bloggers like this: