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Biblioasis Fall 2022

Man or Mango?
A Lament
By (author): Lucy Ellmann
Lucy Ellmann





Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


General Trade
Nov 08, 2022
$22.95 CAD


8.25in x 5.25 x 0.65 in | 260 gr

Page Count:

224 pages


B&W photos
FICTION / Literary

By the Booker-shortlisted author of Ducks, Newburyport, a formally madcap and prescient novel about men (and women), mangos (and bees), and modern love.

Reclusive Eloïse lives with her cats and her cello in an English country cottage, privately building a case against men, women, the Queen, Nazi list-makers, fluorescent lighting, her ex-flatmate Howard, nuclear bombs, and toilet-roll-holder manufacturers. She has a real thing about giant pumpkin growers too. George is an American poet, recently arrived in the UK. Struggling to finish an epic poem on ice hockey, he plays a lot of pinball and gets chased around by his students. Lost, lonely, and in love, he and Eloïse really should be together, yet it seems they may never meet up...

But Man or Mango? is more than a lament for unrequited transatlantic romance. Funny and furious, it is a scathing, searing, rollicking and vertiginous reflection on life and love in a belligerent world.

Key selling points

  • Brought to you by bookseller demand: reprint of a classic 1998 Lucy Ellmann novel, originally published in North America by FSG
  • Vintage Ellmannia: lists, shouty all caps, and social anxiety confront human atrocity and male idiocy, and let Mother Nature have the last word
  • A pre-Internet Age Internet Age novel: while Ellmann's literary influence is Modernist, the collaging, fragmentation, and polyvocality prefigured contemporary trends: though there are no cell phones, there's still plenty of self (both doubt & centeredness)
  • Editorial comps include: Ducks, Newburyport, Jeannette Winterson's Frankissstein, Weather by Jenny Offill, My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and the work of Jean Rhys.
  • Genre: firmly absurdist, inline with her oft-repeated comments on contemporary literature & why she prefers to read pre-Hiroshima literature. The novel might be read as her answer to Adorno: post-Holocaust art must engage with modern meaninglessness.
  • Biblioasis Easter Egg: Man or Mango?, which one of us read at the impressionable age of twenty, shortly after the book was first released, may be at least partially responsible for the acquisition of Ducks, Newburyport.

Lucy Ellmann was born in the US but now lives in Scotland. She advises other American women to do the same. Her first novel, Sweet Desserts, won the Guardian Fiction Prize. Her latest, Ducks, Newburyport, won the Goldsmiths Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. This was mighty generous of everybody but, really, all wealth should be in the hands of women.


  • Print run: 5,000 copies
  • Co-op available
  • Advance reader copies
  • Edelweiss digital review copies
  • National TV & radio campaign
  • National print media campaign
  • Online and social media campaign
  • Excerpts in LitHub, Electric Lit

Praise for Man or Mango?

"Hilarious ... razor-sharp wit."

"Deeply moving ... startlingly original."

"Very funny ... excels at the dynamics of getting-past-your-prime singlehood."
—New York Times Book Review

"Crackling, fiercely original language and humor."
—San Francisco Chronicle

Praise for Ducks, Newburyport

“This book has its face pressed up against the pane of the present; its form mimics the way our minds move now toggling between tabs, between the needs of small children and aging parents, between news of ecological collapse and school shootings while somehow remembering to pay taxes and fold the laundry.”
—Parul Sehgal, New York Times

“Ellmann captures the pathos of the everyday, how one might use pie crusts and film synopses to dam in pain … The time and care that she lavishes on her narrator seem like their own form of political speculation—that every individual is owed an unending devotion, and that such devotion, applied universally, might change the fate of the world.”
—New Yorker

“A sublime literary enactment of how guilt, grief, rage, regret, compassion, and every other emotion swirls and ebbs in unbalanced defiance of rational logic … If art is measured by how skillfully it holds a mirror up to society, then Ellmann has surely written the most important novel of this era.”
—The Paris Review

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