Cover: All Things Seen and Unseen: A Novel by RJ McDaniel

All Things Seen and Unseen: A Novel

McDaniel, RJ

  • An incisive reflection on identity and wealth, and a refreshing racial queer story of survival

    All Things Seen and Unseen follows Alex Nguyen, an isolated, chronically ill university student in her early 20s. After a suicide attempt and subsequent lengthy hospitalization, she finds herself without a job, kicked out of campus housing, unable to afford school, and still struggling in the aftermath of a relationship’s dissolution. Hope comes in the form of a rich high school friend who offers Alex a job housesitting at her family’s empty summer mansion on a gulf island.

    Surrounded by dense forest and ocean, in the increasingly oppressive heat of a 2010s summer, Alex must try to survive as an outsider in a remote, insular community; to navigate the awkward, unexpected beginnings of a possible new romance; and to live through the trauma she has repressed to survive, even as the memories — and a series of increasingly unnerving events — threaten to pull her back under the surface.


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  • RJ McDaniel is a writer, at least for now. Their essays on baseball and other topics have been featured in Catapult, PRISM, and VICE Sports, among others. They live in Vancouver. This is their debut novel.

  • Published: April 2024

    ISBN: 9781770417090

    Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.

    Pages: 248

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“McDaniel ably captures Alex’s creeping dread, whipping the thin narrative into something like a fever dream. While the heavily ambiguous action may frustrate some mystery fans, the atmosphere is undeniably immersive. McDaniel makes a promising first impression.” — Publishers Weekly

“A fever dream of a novel, All Things Seen and Unseen is hypnotic, compulsive, and perfectly tuned to the horrors of being alive.” — Nancy Lee, author of Dead Girls and The Age

“What a great read! R.J. McDaniel has created a wonderful queer world on a lonely, lush Pacific Northwest island, the perfect setting for Alex Nguyen to wrestle with their traumatic past and a menacing present, even as they begin to rediscover love and joy. Complex trans and queer characters + magical forest + mysterious events = a book that’s hard to put down. Highly recommend.” — Sarah Leavitt, author of Tangles: A Story about Alzheimer’s, My Mother, and Me