In her electric debut, Madeline Cash synthesizes the godlessness of a digital age into a glimmering, sublime, life-affirming collage of stories.
Earth Angel is a book like no other, the paperback that swallowed the smartphone. An Isis recruit, an adolescent beauty queen, and a childless millennial walk into a bar. A Biblical plague rains down head lice, aerial drone strikes, gender non-conforming frogs. An app throws a slumber party for a friendless office worker. Texans in the winter, the Taliban in Springtime, Teslas with ℮☥ bumper stickers, Frozen 5 in Arabic, architectural consistency laws in Laurel Canyon, the longest recorded nosebleed in history.
An unhinged jet stream that is ultramodern and poignantly timeless, capturing the angst of the post-millennial generation.
Madeline Cash is a copywriter and contributor at Zora. She holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has appeared in The Drift, The Baffler, Carve, Hobart, and The Literary Review, among other publications. She is the founder and co-editor of Forever Magazine—notable contributors including Eileen Myles, Sheila Heti, Nico Walker, and Dennis Cooper.
PRAISE FOR EARTH ANGEL
“21 Books We’re Most Excited About in 2023.”—Nylon
“[Cash] pushes her characters a step further than expected, hooks them up to an IV filled with irony, and watches as they degrade on their own slippery slopes.”—The Northwest Review
“Cash’s stories are a reminder of what fiction can do when it’s allowed to break the rules, express its moment, turn the despairing or the banal into something better.”—Compact
“Cash has created vibrant, sometimes nihilistic, often cuttingly hilarious vignettes, which you’ll be hard pressed not to whizz through in one sitting.”—The Face
"The stories in Earth Angel are playful, charming, and a little bit devious—this is a striking debut by a writer to watch." —Chelsea Hodson, author of Tonight I'm Someone Else
“Earth Angel is wonderfully vibrant and fresh. Madeline's stories are smart, hilarious, heartbreaking, and sharp. A glimmer of hope in the time of modern America.”—Petra Cortright, digital artist, VVEB CAM 2007 currently exhibiting at MOMA
“Cash’s heroines are all earth angels but none so much as presence in these stories of the author herself, whose style has a devilish (remember Satan was an angel) and celestial powers, quite apart from the characters and scenarios Cash has imagined.”—Christian Lorentzen, Bomb Magazine
“Earth Angel reiterates this sentiment: life is a hot mess, but we try to be happy. It’s a fleeting happiness, ephemeral because something shitty will happen again—you’ll see your rapist smiling on Instagram or be asked to do marketing copy for a terrorist organization—and you ultimately can’t escape the great unknown, the black hole at the end of this book and everything else.”—LARB
“Earth Angel is vigorous, hilarious and demented. The nightmare of the now has a radiant and vicious new bard, and her name is Madeline Cash.”—Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask, Hark, and No One Left to Come Looking for You
“The stories in her book are bizarre in the way that only a writer with her precision can employ.”—W Magazine
“...accelerated and fractured, closer to memes than Montaigne. She’s so relentlessly funny, so manically inventive, that you might not at first notice the deep undercurrent of sadness beneath the scintillant surface…”—Protégé, The Loaf with Tim Kreider
"I enjoyed Madeline's stories a lot. They're weird and funny and dead-pan, and they explore interesting, under-examined topics."— Tao Lin, author of Taipei and Leave Society
"Earth Angel is a brutal, funny and dizzying fever dream of a book. Madeline Cash’s stories read like the musings of a brilliant boarding school girl sucking on a DMT vape pen: an entire universe, vivid and writhing, is revealed beneath her placid stare. This is an electric debut.” — Nada Alic, author of Bad Thoughts
"Madeline Cash's short stories blaze through the Culture with supreme confidence, agility, and wit. Be it a plague of blood or sadistic fuckboy boyfriend or dog hitman, she continually doubles down on her premise, and again and again she wins. What a bold, promising debut by such a one-of-a-kind young writer." — Harris Lahti, fiction editor at Fence
“I don't know what I can tell you about Earth Angel. In one way, it is the story of one million strong, beautiful, upper middle class women in modern America, and in another, truer way, it is an unhinged, joyous nosedive through every wild thought you've ever had played out real tender, like a movie. I love this book, please read it.”— Sasha Fletcher, author of Be Here to Love Me at the End of the World
“Madeline Cash twirls through the detritus of our ravaged modern age in her charming debut, Earth Angel. Armed with an electric humor, Cash spins glittering tales of a physical world in decline, a surveillance culture lit by glaring LEDs that is dispossessed and irreverent, having forgotten how heavy with meaning it is.”—Jen George, author of The Babysitter at Rest
“Raucously endearing, worldly but clear-souled, Earth Angel introduces an uncanny and crucial new voice. There isn't anything Madeline Cash doesn't know about the ruckussy graces of our present moment. I was laughing so hard, I didn't realize how fast my heart was breaking.”— Garielle Lutz, Author of Worsted
"If this is downtown Catholicism, this is its darkest, funniest, most nihilistic incarnation yet. The question of who—or what—is being skewered in these stories is an open one, but their sharpness is undeniable."—Lindsay Lerman, author of What Are You and I’m From Nowhere
“The stories collected in Earth Angel are like candy-pink nostalgia pills, crushed up and snorted during a weekend slumber party with your inner adolescent in the bedroom of your youth. Hilarious, insightful, and extremely online, this is the best debut I’ve read in years.”—Chandler Morrison, author of #thighgap and Dead Inside
“Madeline’s debut story collection reads like a captivating lucid dream.”—Nylon
“This is what happens when you give your inner child an iPad and unfettered internet access.”—@ineedgodineverymomentofmylife
“Madeline Cash is at the vanguard of a new literature, one calibrated to the speed, madness and incomprehensibility of our modern world. The stories in Earth Angel—madcap, irreverent, and weirdly heartbreaking—race by like an Adderall-laced dream. But at the heart of this innovative, hilarious, original book is something as old as consciousness itself: pain.”—David Hollander, author of Anthropica and L.I.E.
“In this book's first story one character asks another: "Are you crying?" "Oh," she says. "I guess so." You might not notice you're crying at first, either. These stories are so endlessly inventive and dense with deadpan humor that it's easy to overlook the deep undercurrent of sadness, and sanity, that runs beneath them. Though her prose is like a designer drug to hold internet-shattered attention spans and feed our bulimic reward systems, at heart Madeline Cash is a humorist in the darkly humanist tradition of George Saunders and Lorrie Moore, of Vonnegut and Twain.”—Tim Kreider, author of I Wrote This Book Because I Love You and We Learn Nothing
"Earth Angel is quotable, persuasive, glib, and profound—the compiled code of a lifetime spent amidst Hello Kitty sleeping bags, far-off forever wars, dying pets, sexual predators, and obsolescing handheld devices. It is a book as pleasurable, strange, and anxiety-provoking as (to use one of its own images) a Noah’s Ark of Nintendogs. I loved it." —Mark Doten, author of Trump Sky Alpha
“The mostly flash fiction that makes up this book are not quite magical realism so much as dream journals of a woman rapidly losing agency in a world increasingly dominated by universal surveillance, smartphone apps, and a technological complexity so advanced as to feel spiritual.” — Geoffrey Mak, author of Mean Boys, forthcoming from Bloomsbury in 2024
“The disconsolate souls of Earth Angel are crying out in the wilderness of modernity, aka greater Los Angeles, yearning—whether or not they know it—for grace to shatter their hyper-mediated, overmedicated, child-endangered, love-damaged lives. These stories are bleak, estranging, and bizarre; they’re slyly profound, pretty sleazy, and funny as fuck. I’m reminded of my first encounters with such radical originals as Jen George, Dennis Cooper, Mark Doten, and Ariana Reines. To read Madeline Cash is to mainline her apocalyptic vitality, to witness a rare vision realized with an untamed sense of control, to light your cigarette off of the flames from her burning heart.” — Justin Taylor, author of Riding With the Ghost