Christopher Beha

Christopher Beha is the editor of Harper’s Magazine. He is the author of two previous novels, What Happened to Sophie Wilder and Arts & Entertainments, and a memoir, The Whole Five Feet. His writing has appeared in the New York Review of Books, the New York Times, and the London Review of Books. He lives in New York City with his wife and family.


  • An impressive performance.

    —The New York Times Book Review

  • Absorbing and satisfying.

    —The Wall Street Journal

  • From politics to baseball to mortality and sexuality. . . . a work that gains momentum as it sweeps along, with an eloquent final page.

    —Don DeLillo, Amazon Book Review

  • A satisfying, ambitious, absorbing novel about the ways big and small that we destroy ourselves.

    —Roxane Gay

  • Flawlessly constructed.

    —Library Journal, Best Books of the Year

  • Cleverly written with poetic overtones.

    —The Christian Science Monitor, Best Books of the Year

  • This is a big novel of big ideas. Beha tackles finance, faith, war, entitlement, and no end of self-destructive acts. I greatly admired both the writing and the ambition.

    —Ann Patchett, Parnassus Books

  • A masterful interplay of big, fraught themes of privilege, race, wealth, and ethics.

    —Buzzfeed, Best Books of the Year

  • A crafty plot and nimble sentences. . . . Just knowing it awaits you is almost as fun as reading it.


  • Beha does what only [Graham] Greene and a handful of other novelists have been able to accomplish: make God, belief, and doubt the stuff of serious fiction—even down to the probing dialogue of his characters.

    —The Millions

  • Beha writes with persuasive authority, all the more impressive because he seems to do it without the slightest strain.

    —National Review

  • A big, sympathetic book about the follies and failings of elite New Yorkers. . . . Beha creates a supple context in which to explore a series of intersecting efforts to find or regain footing and meaning in life.

    —Financial Times

  • Expansive, detailed, and even slightly buoyant. . . . Lovely and satisfying.

    —Washington Examiner

  • Thought-provoking. . . . Chris Beha is a great writer with an eye for detail.

    —Catholic World Report

  • Beha’s marvelous new novel is about, and more often than not exemplifies, pretty much everything good that New York City has lost in the past few bad years: wit, liberalism, journalism, and the dignity of self-destruction.

    —Joshua Cohen, author of Attention: Dispatches from a Land of Distraction

  • Beha is a sneaky-great plot-maker and thinker; by the time he wraps up this compassionate twenty-first-century tale of ambitious people looking for somewhere to place their faith—religion, statistics, love, money, country—you can see the clouds starting to gather into the moral Category 5 we’re currently enduring.

    —Jonathan Dee, author of The Locals

  • Ranging effortlessly from baseball statistics to insider trading, and from street-corner prophecy to Romantic Poetry, Beha finds the nuance and humanity in every subject he takes up. The Index of Self-Destructive Acts is that increasingly rare thing: a big, ambitious novel that boldly explores contemporary life in all of its complexities and contradictions.

    —Andrew Martin, author of Cool for America

  • Christopher Beha’s seductive-complex The Index of Self-Destructive Acts operates like a minute repeater, tiny hammers hitting separate gongs, producing multiple distinct tones but, ultimately, telling one time. And the time that Beha is telling is one that we know, but we haven’t heard it told quite like this. Balancing multiple plots and characters with seamlessness and intrigue, The Index is bound to become a must-read of our time.

    —Lisa Taddeo, author of Three Women

  • A book’s worth of thoughtful essays folded into a kick-ass novel.

    —Nell Zink, author of Doxology

  • A significant novel, beautifully crafted and deeply felt. Beha creates a high bonfire of our era’s vanities. His work reminds me of the great Robert Stone and Theodore Dreiser. This is a novel to savour.

    —Colum McCann, author of Apeirogon

  • [The novel’s] breadth, ambition, and command are refreshing. An admirably big-picture, multivalent family saga.

    —Kirkus, Starred Review

  • Gripping. . . . Filled with stunning acts of hubris and betrayal.

    —Publishers Weekly