Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones

Almost everyone in Swine Hill is haunted. Jane’s ghost tells her what people around her are thinking, even when she doesn’t want to know. The lonely spirit possessing her mother burns anyone she touches. Her brother Henry’s genius ghost forces him to build strange and dangerous machines. When unnatural beastmen appear in town, taking precious jobs at the pork processing plant and enraging the spirits, Jane knows her brother’s ghost has something to do with it. As Swine Hill’s violent tide of dead begins tearing the town apart, Jane will have to find a way to save her haunted family and escape the town before it kills her.

Cover Artist: Chris Thornley

ISBN: 9781328566454
Format: Hardcover / Ebook
Publicity Contact: Dani Spencer <>

About the Author

Micah Dean Hicks’s debut story collection Electricity and Other Dreams—a book of dark fairy tales and bizarre fables—won the 2012 New American Fiction Prize. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly calls the collection a “compact, impressive array of the strange” that “woos readers into [Hicks’s] wrangled worlds.” He won the 2014 Calvino Prize judged by Robert Coover, the 2016 Arts and Letters Prize judged by Kate Christensen, and the 2015 Wabash Prize judged by Kelly Link. His stories and essays have appeared in dozens of magazines ranging from The New York Times to Lightspeed to The Kenyon Review. Hicks teaches creative writing at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. You can find him on Twitter at @MicahDeanHicks and on the web at

Praise for Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones

I can’t stop thinking about this book. It’s a haunting story that burrows under your skin like an insect laying eggs that hatch within you in the middle of the night. Hick’s mesmerizing imagery kept me turning the pages and asking myself “How is this book happening? What sort of literary witchcraft am I witnessing?”

—Maurice Broaddus, author of Buffalo Soldier and The Usual Suspects

A tour-de-force of the imagination. Hicks has created a world that is beautifully and brutally surreal and yet, at the same time, BREAK THE BODIES, HAUNT THE BONES stands as a hyper-realistic psychological portrait of the death of the American factory town. My own identity as an American was disturbed and changed by this novel; some dormant understanding was shaken awake. This is a stunning and profound debut.

—Julianna Baggott, bestelling author of New York Times Notable Book Pure

Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones is a breathless wonder of a debut novel. Amid robots and a city of pigs and residents haunted by their own personal ghosts, Micah Dean Hicks explores economic uncertainty, the violence of bigotry and hate, and the tremendous weight of the past. In Swine Hill, no one escapes the horrors of grief. And yet this is a novel infused with hope, and with the most gorgeous sentences evoking the sublime wonder of this world. Hicks is a magician with words and has written a spellbinding, haunting and necessary book.

—Anne Valente, author of Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down

Hicks’ debut novel is a thoughtful tour of the rotted and haunted heart of America. Highly recommended.

—Shirley Jackson Award-nominated author Jeremiah Tolbert

In Break the Bodies Haunt the Bones, Micah Dean Hicks has crafted a haunting story with multi-generational appeal, where the very real horror of poverty meets supernatural horror, and social issues like xenophobia, racism and economic anxiety are addressed organically through allegory and gripping storytelling. I finished this book three nights ago and still feel the chill of Swine Hill in my bones.

—Chris L. Terry, author of Black Card and Zero Fade

Praise for Micah Dean Hicks

In this unsettling, impressive collection, Micah Dean Hicks effortlessly mixes realism, the fantastical, and the darkly gritty to great effect. These unique stories feel layered, lived-in, timeless. I felt in reading them as if I was receiving an early glimpse of a unique voice, and an important one. I loved it.

—Jeff VanderMeer, author of Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy, on Electricity and Other Dreams

I am not sure where Micah Dean Hicks comes from—maybe he fell flaming from space or maybe he rose damply from a swamp or maybe a mountain cracked open and he rolled out—but he does not see the world or use language or understand people like the rest of us. His stories, so original, so peculiarly extraordinary, will haunt and move you.

—Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon and The Dark Net, on Electricity and Other Dreams

With striking skill in form and vision, Hicks woos readers into his wrangled worlds.

—Publishers Weekly (starred review), on Electricity and Other Dreams