Tiphanie Yanique

Cindy Seip

Tiphanie Yanique is the author of Land of Love and Drowning: A Novel, and the poetry collection Wife. Her short fiction has been published in The New Yorker and anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 2020. In Monster in the Middle: A Novel (Riverhead Books), when Fly, a Black American musician, meets Stela, a Catholic science teacher from the Caribbean, in 21st-century New York City, it seems like fate. But are they meant to be? Moving across decades, from the U.S. to the Virgin Islands to Ghana and back again, Monster in the Middle explores how family lore and love stories that happened well before they even met mark a new couple’s story. What challenges and traumas do they inherit? What hopes and ambitions will keep them moving forward? Exploring desire and identity, religion and class, passion and obligation, the story suggests that to answer the question “Who are we meant to be with?” we must first understand who we are and how we came to be. Kirkus found it “unique and memorable … A rich and honest examination of family histories, cultural disconnection, and the way people fall in love.”