The Doloriad

Paperback, 215 pages

Published 2022 by Dead Ink.

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5 stars (2 reviews)

In the wake of an environmental cataclysm, the Matriarch and her family cling to existence. The Matriarch, ruling with fear and force, dreams of starting humanity over. Surrounded by silent forest and dead suburbs, they scavenge supplies and attempt to cultivate the poisoned earth, brutalizing and caring for one another in equal measure.

One day the Matriarch dreams of another group of survivors, and sends away one of her daughters, the legless Dolores, as a marriage offering. Dolores returns and triggers the breakdown of Matriarch's fragile order. As the children seize their chance to escape, the world of the television saint Aquinas and that of the family begin to melt together with terrible consequences.

Told in extraordinary, intricate prose that moves with a life of its own, Missouri Williams's debut novel is a blazingly original document of depravity and salvation. Gothic and strange, moving and disquieting, and often hilarious, The …

3 editions

A world beyond world

4 stars

I am in awe of the rich imagination of Missouri Williams, which created this incestuous postapocalyptic township. Brothers and sisters and their offspring, last survivors after a cataclysmic event, rebuild aimlessly, guided by misinterpreted understandings of the old world taught by video tapes and a forgetful schoolmaster. The characters and setting are all uncanny and unnatural, but this only makes their weird motivations more believable.

The writing is excellent and teems with life from the first page. Although the narrative felt a little lost in the last section of the book, it was redeemed by a haunting and hopeful ending. Few books manage yo completely imagine a new ethics like this one does; it is a wonderful debut and I am excited to read more from Williams in the years to come.

reviewed The Doloriad by Missouri Williams

"This is the age of chickens! […] It was really the age of worms."

5 stars

Doloriad is a ride, man. It takes you by the hand—or the hair—through the brutal birth of new way of seeing, leaving you uncertain, at the end of the book, of true ends and beginnings.

Would love to hear better-read folx talk about it for a while (I can imagine there's some function that can turn to allusive what is elusive to me—get Aquinas in here, dammit!), because all my thoughts are scattered and unsettled—other than I love the prose, the bleary images.


  • Environmental degradation
  • Fiction
  • Regression (Civilization)
  • Survival