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two illustrated harpies with blue wings set against an orange background with a city skyline in the distant background; text reads Roxy and Coco: A Novel, Terese Svoboda

Terese Svoboda

February 2024
PB 978-1-959000-06-8
eBook 978-1-959000-07-5

Roxy and Coco

A Novel


Sisters Roxy and Coco are two glamorous harpies—mythical bird women—attempting to outrun extinction and fix the planet by preventing child abuse, one child at a time.

When Roxy is suddenly attracted to her human supervisor at a social work agency a hundred years too early, Coco is very suspicious. Luring Roxy with his scent, Tim is also on the payroll of a fake conservationist intent on her less-than-legal collection. Coco swoops in to vet Tim, but Interpol is hot on her trail for a series of curious homicides. (Surveillance has a very hard time convincing his boss of what he’s monitoring.) When the sisters find themselves trapped, Chris, a bipolar skateboarding truant, tries his best to rescue them but it’s Stewie, Coco’s colleague, who turns the story inside out. Roxy and Coco climaxes at a gala of egg fanciers who scramble to escape the harpies’ talons.

Action figure–worthy, for readers of Neil Gaiman and Karen Russell, this modern take on these fabled women touches on mental illness, racism, animal rights, and the rights of children.


Author of more than twenty books of poetry, fiction, memoir, biography, and translations from the Nuer, Terese Svoboda has received the Guggenheim, Bobst Prize in fiction, Iowa Poetry Prize, National Endowment for the Humanities translation grant, Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, Jerome Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts media grants, O. Henry Award, Pushcart Prize for the essay, and three New York Foundation for the Arts fellowships.


“[A] wry and rambunctious fable . . . . The book offers brief and staggered visions of family, in all its complex permutations. Here, flocks settle into wonderfully unlikely formations. It’s possible that the most dangerous thing for anyone, harpy or human, is the decision to fly alone.”
— Hilary Leichter, New York Times Book Review

“Existing at the sweet spot between Rachel Ingalls’s Mrs. Caliban, Donald Barthelme’s Snow White, and James Purdy’s I Am Elijah Thrush, Roxy and Coco plucks a creature out of myth to bring it into our present—and does so in a way that keeps a steady eye on the flaws of our own weird moment. Rarely has fantastic fiction managed to say so much so deftly about the real while still offering a terrific, strange, and highly original read.”
Brian Evenson, author of Song for the Unraveling of the World

“There are many mythic reimaginings out there, but I can guarantee you that Roxy and Coco is unlike anything you’ve read—Terese Svoboda’s harpies are winged avengers, a celestial task force who save kids who have been abused by their terrestrial protectors. Who but Svoboda with her talons descending from the clouds could wrest so much humor, poetry, and beauty from the abyss?”
Karen Russell, author of Orange World and Swamplandia!