"An utterly compelling novel from a brilliant new voice." --M.L. Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans
For generations they've shared the small Maine island of Seven, but the Hillsingers and the Quicks have always kept apart, even since before Jim Hillsinger and Billy Quick married sisters. When Jim is ousted from the CIA under suspicion of treason, he begins to suspect that he has been betrayed--by his brother-in-law, Billy, and also by his own wife, Lila. In retaliation, he decides to carry out an old threat: to send their twelve-year-old son, Catta, to a neighboring island to test his survival skills.
Set over three summer days in 1964, Estep Nagy's debut novel moves among the communities of Seven--the families, the servants, and the children--as longstanding tensions become tactical face-offs in which love, loss, and long-held secrets become brutal ammunition. Vividly capturing the rift between the cold warriors of Jim's generation and the rebellious seekers of Catta's, We Shall Not All Sleep is a richly told story of American class, family, and manipulation, and a compelling portrait of a unique and privileged enclave on the brink of dissolution.
"Arresting." - Elle, "Best Books to Read This Summer"
"In this fine-tuned, observant debut, the Hillsingers and the Quicks share a complicated family-line rivalry that just won't quit . . . A chilling portrait of privilege and secrets." - Marie Claire
"Estep Nagy's razor-sharp debut, We Shall Not All Sleep, brings us Jim Hillsinger, a Cold War-era high WASP with a wandering wife and a CIA career that's just gone up in smoke." - W Magazine
"This is an amazing book. It's rare to encounter such mature insight into as interesting and complex characters as these." - Gail Godwin, bestselling author of FLORA
"Nagy deftly captures the way a political atmosphere of mistrust and manipulation can color even the most private interactions." - The New Yorker
"Seven Island serves less as an antidote for urban drudgery than as a theater for psychological warfare . . . Nagy’s novel roguishly equates international brinkmanship with interpersonal relations, an analogy that underscores the ways in which both can abjure immutable truths." - New York Times Book Review
"[We Shall Not All Sleep] has C.I.A. secrets, intergenerational family drama, WASP warfare, and all sorts of other twists and turns that will keep your eyes glued to the pages. A summer read if there ever was one, this is one of those literary beach books you won't be able to put down." - Best Books of 2017, Refinery29
"Poetic yet tightly plotted, this is a gorgeously written debut which will appeal to fans of literary fiction." - BookRiot
"Written for a new era of uncertainty, in which there's much to believe in and little to depend on." - Vogue
"Maine families tangle themselves into a sailor's knot of Waspy kerfuffles in Estep Nagy's We Shall Not All Sleep." - Sloane Crosley, Vanity Fair’s “What to Read Right Now”
"An unusual and compelling debut . . . a surprising delight. Nagy mixes narrative modes and tones (and generations) nimbly; it's rare to see suspense and literary lyricism woven together so well". - Kirkus Reviews
"Nagy neatly juggles his many characters, allowing suspense to develop naturally and working in thought-provoking variations on the themes of betrayal and survival." - Booklist
"An engrossing, multi-layered story of loss, betrayal and privilege, played out against an unforgiving setting." - Daily Mail
"Transcending the mere narrative of an inter-family rivalry, We Shall Not All Sleep uses the developed nuance of its prose to create a psychological investigation into the choices and behaviors of its protagonists, mirrored by the complexity of a decade on the brink of bringing about everlasting change." - Washington Independent Review of Books
"An absolutely invigorating fiction debut . . . Nagy writes it with such a clean, graceful prose line that he transforms it all into a fascinating multi-part psychological investigation." - Open Letters Monthly
"Nagy writes fluently of the island's old-world WASP milieu, with its privileges, rituals, and sometimes surprising credos." - Omnivoracious, The Amazon Book Review
"From the first sentence, We Shall Not All Sleep whisks us off to the arcane world of the Quicks and the Hillsingers on Seven Island, a place alive with elaborate, arbitrary traditions and political and emotional tensions. Effortlessly interweaving intergenerational stories and cold war intrigue, the book explores the crossing of thresholds - between hearts and life stages, between islands and ideologies - and what such transitions cost. Torn between their desires as individuals and their duties to their wider group, Nagy's subtly drawn characters struggle to negotiate the gap between visible and invisible rules; between information and true understanding. Written with an exquisitely light touch, the result is an utterly compelling novel from a brilliant new voice." - M. L. Stedman, author of THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS