Spotlight on: Open Throat by Henry Hoke


Henry Hoke, photo credit Myles Pettengill

I call my cat Hecate, as sort of a – it’s formed a separate identity for me, you know, from the actual lion. But Hecate feels this community in this space, these people who are living adjacent to each other in tents and, you know, sharing food, taking care of each other. Calling it town is like this is the first encounter of, like, people in place and people forming a small civilization on the cat’s terms. It’s outside of the horror of a freeway that it’s crossed and the violent past it’s had with its own kind when its father sort of, you know, rejects it and hunts it.. ― Henry Hoke, Interview, NPR

Open Throat by Henry Hoke

What booksellers are saying about Open Throat

  • I do not need much convincing to read a book whose narrator is a queer mountain lion, and neither should you. This firecracker of a novel is a tale of a big cat living under the Hollywood sign; where witnessing gay hookups, therapist debriefings, and vent sessions about the social scene of “ellay” are normal occurrences. When a fire breaks out in the hills he calls his home, the mountain lion is forced to move closer to civilization. Our unconventional protagonist successfully and skillfully delves into themes of gender, familial issues, and loneliness in this flawless, fever-dream novella.
      ― Grace Sullivan from Fountain Books in Richmond, VA | Buy from Fountain Bookstore

  • As a bookseller, it’s pretty rare to say “I’ve never read anything like this before”, but in the case of Open Throat, it’s 100% true. I absolutely inhaled this beautiful, darkly funny, propulsive prowler of a book. Told from the POV of a mountain lion in pseudo-verse and using language acquired from the hikers under the thicket where it lives, near the Hollywood sign, this story made me think hard about how we treat the animals – wild and domestic- in and around our cities. Love love love!.
      ― Rachel Knox from Tombolo Books in St. Petersburg, FL | Buy from Tombolo Books

  • Savage and gentle, the protagonist of OPEN THROAT sees the best of us—but mostly the worst. At only 156 pages, this short but powerful novel packs in a captivating meditation on queerness, climate disaster, and looks at just how little humans tend to care for their fellow man. I loved the nameless, ambiguously gendered, lonely mountain lion whose world we looked through. One of the most thoughtful and unique books I’ve had the pleasure of reading.   
      ― Gaby Iori from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, NC | Buy from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews

About Henry Hoke

Henry Hoke is an editor at The Offing and a writer whose work has appeared in No Tokens, Triangle House Review, Electric Literature, and the flash noir anthology Tiny Crimes. He co-created the performance series Enter>text in Los Angeles, and has taught at CalArts and the UVA Young Writers Workshop. He lives in New York City.

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