Out on 27 July 2023

Open Throat

Henry Hoke

27 July 2023
176 pages


'A slim jewel of a novel . . . Open Throat is what fiction should be.' The New York Times Book Review
'A blinding spotlight beam of a book that I was completely unable and unwilling to put down.' Catherine Lacey, author of Pew
One of ELLE's Best Summer Books of 2023, and one of i-D's 'Fiction to be Excited for in 2023'. Named a Most Anticipated Book by The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Buzzfeed, Boston Globe, Nylon, Alta, Shondaland, Chicago Review of Books, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Literary Hub.

I’ve never eaten a person but today I might . . .

A queer and dangerously hungry mountain lion lives in the drought-devastated land under the Hollywood sign. Lonely and fascinated by the voices around them, the lion spends their days protecting a nearby homeless encampment, observing hikers complain about their trauma and, in quiet moments, grappling with the complexities of their own identity.

When a man-made fire engulfs the encampment, the lion is forced from the hills down into the city the hikers call 'ellay'. As they confront a carousel of temptations and threats, the lion takes us on a tour that spans the cruel inequalities of Los Angeles. But even when salvation finally seems within reach, they are forced to face down the ultimate question: do they want to eat a person, or become one?

Feral and vulnerable, profound and playful, Open Throat is a universal journey through a wondrous and menacing world. This is a marvel of storytelling that brings the mythic to life.

Open Throat is a blinding spotlight beam of a book that I was completely unable and unwilling to put down. I am not convinced Henry Hoke isn’t a mountain lion.
[A] slim jewel of a novel . . . Though many readers will label Open Throat unconventional, this act of ravishing and outlandish imagination should be the norm, not the exception. At its best, fiction can make the familiar strange in order to bring readers and our world into scintillating focus. Open Throat is what fiction should be.
A propulsive, one-sitting read, if also a somber one . . . Without spoiling the story, it’s perhaps enough to say that the climax of Open Throat is a very L.A. one, with spotlights and drama. But it’s also a universal one.