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Expected release date is 10th Dec 2024

The narrator of this spare novella is a collage artist trying to piece together a life. Her husband is a composer who is unable to talk. Even so, she keeps asking him questions, trying to figure out what he can remember, what he did, what he wants, what he means. But then she, in turn, is interrogated by the authorities, who want to know what happened here. Everyone waits for answers. How to compensate for this disaster? What are the chances of survival? Is there solace in converting life into language? What to believe? In prose that is sometimes suspenseful, sometimes meditative, sometimes provocative, Life/Insurance is a portrait of an artist confronting the problems of existence, knowledge, language, and New York City.

Praise for Life/Insurance

Did the narrator push her now comatose husband down those steps in Venice?  Or is the truth far more slippery than that?  Provocative, suspenseful, funny, poetic, and profound, Life / Insurance by Tara Deal explores the psyche of an unconventional woman and the complexities of love and marriage while invoking (among others): Nietzsche, García Márquez, Kerouac, Clarice Lispector, John Donne, Kate Bush, Soft Cell, and Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai. Original and rich in its use of a collage structure, its prose gemlike, Deal's novella is also an effortless and riveting must-read. 

—Lyn Di Iorio, author of Outside the Bones   

Part interrogation, part dramatic monologue, Life / Insurance grapples with our biggest fears: meaning-making and uncertainty. How do you prove your worth when the values of others run counter to yours? What is a life worth to those living it versus the family members, critics, and claims adjusters who see things differently? A collage-like meditation on creativity, Life/Insurance raises questions about authenticity, intimacy, and identity. Deal builds an intricate and suspenseful mystery via a narrator who believes one has to break form—and oneself—to achieve.   

—Margaret Luongo, author of History of Art: Stories    

Tara Deal's Life / Insurance is a masterful puzzle, a one-way conversation that poses more questions than it answers as a wife tries to communicate with her husband.  This engaging journey into the lives of continent-hopping artists is riveting and Kafkaesque. 

—Megan Staffel, author of The Exit Coach and The Causative Factor   

Tara Deal’s Life / Insurance is an arresting meditation on memory, marriage, and art as well as our attempts to weave the broken threads of a life into a tapestry of meaning. 

—Melissa Reddish, author of The Lives We've Yet to Live

In this lyrical mental collage reminiscent of Virginia Woolf, a conversation emerges out of the strangely comforting and random thoughts of one woman who keeps asking questions. A colorful and compelling meditation on art and memory. 

—Holly Pobis, artist/photographer     

Found beauty in a visual and lyrical mediascape. Red herrings and clues—a brush stroke, a rhythm or a spate of words—effortlessly invoke haiku, a song or a translucent collage, each advancing a darker narrative. On tenterhooks, we hypothesize the truth at the core of an irrevocable event.  

—Lisa Kirchner, singer/songwriter     

Intricate, lyrical, dissonant, impossible to pin down, Life / Insurance is to be experienced as much as it is to be read. 

—Jim Naremore, author of The Arts of Legerdemain as Taught by Ghosts and American Still Life