The Fixed Stars (Hardcover)
May 2020 Indie Next List
“I have enjoyed Molly Wizenberg’s writing for years, and this book was no exception. I loved the mix of science and research with confessional truth-telling about longing and identity. As a mother of two small children, I clung to this story of discovery. And as a human, I cherished Wizenberg’s exploration of the realization that our stories are never done being written. This book was a balm for my soul.”
— Sarah Fischer, Downbound Books, Cincinnati, OH
From a bestselling memoirist, a thoughtful and provocative story of changing identity, complex sexuality, and enduring family relationships
At age 36, while serving on a jury, author Molly Wizenberg found herself drawn to a female attorney she hardly knew. Married to a man for nearly a decade and mother to a toddler, Wizenberg tried to return to her life as she knew it, but something inside her had changed irrevocably. Instead, she would discover that the trajectory of our lives is rarely as smooth or as logical as we’d like to believe.
Like many of us, Wizenberg had long understood sexual orientation as a stable part of ourselves: we’re “born this way.” Suddenly she realized that her story was more complicated. Who was she, she wondered, if something at her very core could change so radically? The Fixed Stars is a taut, electrifying memoir exploring timely and timeless questions about desire, identity, and the limits and possibilities of family. In honest and searing prose, Wizenberg forges a new path: through the murk of separation and divorce, coming out to family and friends, learning to co-parent a young child, and realizing a new vision of love. The result is a frank and moving story about letting go of rigid definitions and ideals that no longer fit, and learning instead who we really are.
About the Author
Molly Wizenberg is the author of two bestselling books, A Homemade Life and Delancey, and the James Beard Award–winning blog Orangette. She has written for the Washington Post, the Guardian, Saveur, and Bon Appétit, and she also cohosts the podcast Spilled Milk. With chef Brandon Pettit, Wizenberg cofounded the award-winning Seattle restaurants Delancey and Essex.
“The Fixed Stars is that rare thing, a groundbreaking, essential book about sexuality. Wizenberg’s incisive, generous laying-bare of her own experience will make many readers feel seen, understood, and not alone. This book is a triumph."
— Kate Christensen
"A work of blindsiding beauty."
— Nell Beram
“The Fixed Stars is a nuanced look into two subjects frequently depicted as binary: love and sexuality. Wizenberg writes of her journey into queerness with tenderness and curiosity, two essential qualities for any sort of entry into new lands. This book spoke directly to my heart. Read it.”
— Esmé Weijun Wang
“In The Fixed Stars, Molly Wizenberg tackles the ever-shifting issues of marriage, motherhood, and sexual orientation with the same compassion and unflinching honesty that have become the hallmarks of her writing. She makes the everyday extraordinary and brings depth and complexity to the bigger questions in life. A beautiful read.”
— Erica Bauermeister
“The Fixed Stars, like its protagonist, is both brave and sexy, both heady and bodily, and I ripped through this memoir like it was the most erudite romance novel in the world. This is a truly compelling look at sexuality, marriage, and parenthood in this century.”
— Emma Straub
“Interwoven throughout with research insights into the complexity of female sexual identity, Wizenberg's book not only offers a glimpse into the shifting nature of selfhood; it also celebrates one woman's hard-won acceptance of her own sexual difference. A courageous and thought-provoking memoir.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Wizenberg is an excellent writer; her meditations on what it means to know yourself—or think you know yourself—and how unpredictable and exciting life really is are a joy to read.”
— Electric Literature
“This is a spirited, terrifyingly courageous, and searingly honest memoir of discovering sexual identity and strength.”
“The Fixed Stars is a beautiful memoir about desire, divorce, coming out to family and friends and co-parenting through separation.”
“a touching look at modern love and life”
“Through personal recollections, told in quietly beautiful prose you feel the urge to read out loud, she examines what happens before, during and after a seismic shift. A welcome reminder that sometimes feeling lost and found go hand-in-hand”
— A Cup of Jo