States of Emergency

Chris Knapp

In the summer of 2015, a young couple—an American and his French wife—undergo fertility treatment in Paris. They settle in to wait for the results as a heatwave paralyzes the city. 

As the heat rises, a state of emergency is declared and tempers flare, leaving cracks in the foundation of their marriage. In the months that follow, they find themselves navigating a confluence of world crises and historical forces that affect each in ways the other struggles to understand. 

Against this backdrop of existential dread, the fissures in their marriage widen as they confront their everyday apocalypse. An ongoing conversation begins: one that moves backward and forward in time, swings between hope and despair, dry laughter and hard fury, all in an effort toward reconciliation. How will their conflicting ideas about how to build a life together—how to love each other—survive in the face of a future that’s collapsing before their eyes?


Praise for States of Emergency

"I wondered as I read: how did Chris Knapp manage to write such seamless surges of past and present; the sense of history crashing down on everyday life; such sadness and startling humor? Despite my futile hope that I could continue reading States of Emergency for a long while yet, I’ve finished it all too quickly: and I realize there is no trick to this novel’s genius, only great depth. This is an incredible work."
Ayşegül Savaş, author of The Anthropologists

"Chris Knapp's debut novel is a beautiful, unbelievably tender exploration of marriage, race, history, and reproduction. In searching, perfectly calibrated prose, Knapp creates a vivid portrait of the broken world we inhabit and the love and care required to survive in it. I've been waiting for this book for a long time, and it shattered my highest expectations. This is a great book."
Andrew Martin, author of Early Work