Katherine Dunn

Katherine Dunn was a novelist and boxing journalist who lived and worked in Oregon. She is the author of three novels—Attic; Truck; and Geek Love, which was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Bram Stoker Prize—as well as the essay collection One Ring Circus. She died in 2016.


  • Exceptional.

    —The New York Times Book Review

  • The novel is about the length of a baby carrot and its prose is so spare it almost reads like a blueprint—but you know what they say about good things and small packages.


  • María José Ferrada examines the Pinochet regime through the eyes of a traveling 7-year-old in How to Order the Universe. Traveling salesman D is his daughter, M’s, whole world. But readers will catch the subtle shifts taking place around them in Chile, even if the novel’s young protagonist does not.


  • Charming. . . . Fans of The Elegance of the Hedgehog will want to make time for this one.

    —The Chicago Review of Books

  • Filled with tenderness, awe, and love, How to Order the Universe. . . . is a gem of a book, short and brilliant, a shooting star we would want to hold on to, but, as anything worth experiencing, can’t.

    —The Common

  • Arresting.

    —Sydney Review of Books

  • A tale that captures a child’s perspective on a world created and disrupted by adults.

    —The Christian Science Monitor

  • I was so delighted with it. . . . It’s one of these novels in translation that you can read in a sitting or extend it out in a way that’s really lovely.

    —So Many Damn Books podcast

  • This quick and quirky book is as charming as it is unsettling, as appealing as it is wise.

    —Kirkus, Starred Review

  • A moving tribute to childhood, Ferrada’s novel is an enthralling tale of resilience, deception, and trauma during a dark time in Chile’s history.

    —Publishers Weekly

  • A debut as haunting as it is charming, a study in contrast between the simplicity of childhood and the heaviness of adulthood. Readers will fly through this slim novel, which is perfect for discussion.


  • Outstanding.

    —World Literature Today

  • Through a child’s clever but innocent point of view, this inventive debut novel considers family, hope and the harsher realities of 1980s Chile.

    —Shelf Awareness

  • Sparse, poetic. . . . Ferrada organizes her work in short, breathable chapters, each of which is constructed like a poem without ever feeling pretentious.

    —Rain Taxi

  • A Paper Moon-esque story set in Pinochet-era Chile. . . .  A really bittersweet story of a girl’s love for her dad and the things in life that even the most intelligent children don’t understand when they are young.

    —Book Riot

  • How to Order the Universe is rife with wisdom, lists and wishes, and Ferrada unpacks the strangeness of M’s early years in poetic and simple prose.


  • Intimate, intense. . . . Luminous and tender, How to Order the Universe is a novel about the love—filled with words unsaid—between a father and daughter who are caught up in the tides of change that engulf their ordinary, ordered way of life.

    —Foreword Reviews

  • How to Order the Universe is a dreamscape of a book. In an assured and striking voice, María José Ferrada tells the story of M, a girl who skips school to join her traveling salesman father on the road. Along the way, M witnesses tragedy, desire, secrecy, and grief as she finds her own truths and learns to separate her father’s disappointments from her own. I adored this compelling, wise, and utterly unique coming-of-age tale.

    —Tara Conklin, author of The Last Romantics

  • Complex in its simplicity, and full of life and mystery.

    —Frances de Pontes Peebles, author of The Air You Breathe

  • Powerful and accomplished.

    —Complete Review

  • Honest, endearing and nostalgic—it seems to scratch an urge one didn’t even know they had. Its length and accessibility may make it the perfect novel to pick up on a Sunday afternoon with a cup of tea.

    —Sounds and Colours