September 26, 2023
When Eli leaves the cramped Bulgarian apartment he shares with Elizabeth, his more organized and successful wife, he discovers that he now inhabits her body. Not only have he and his wife traded bodies but Elizabeth, living as Eli, has disappeared without a trace. What follows is Eli’s search across Europe to America for his missing wife—and a roving, no-holds-barred exploration of gender and embodied experience.
As Eli comes closer to finding Elizabeth—while learning to exist in her body—he begins to wonder what effect this metamorphosis will have on their relationship and how long he can maintain the illusion of living as someone he isn't. Will their new marriage wither completely in each other's bodies? Or is this transformation the very thing Eli and Elizabeth need for their marriage to thrive?
A rich, rewarding exploration of ambition and sacrifice, desire and loss, People Collide is a tender portrait of shared lives that shines a refreshing light on everything we thought we knew about love, sexuality, and the truth of who we are.
Praise for People Collide
"A profound and moving meditation on love and commitment swapped into the body of a gripping literary thriller—I predict Isle McElroy’s People Collide will inaugurate an entire genre."
-Torrey Peters, author of Detransition, Baby
"People Collide is spectacular. McElroy has given us a work of art that's original, stylish, and frequently masterly in the ways it explores the porous and mutable nature of bodies, selves, partnerships, and what we call love. Bravo, tbh."
-Sarah Thankam Mathews, author of All This Could Be Different
"McElroy is sharp on the collaborative failures endemic to love, and the kind of oneness that creates separation. In People Collide, that separation is explored through the body with wonder and frankness."
-Raven Leilani, author of Luster
"People Collide asks how the ambition, power, sweetness, and deep-feeling of our bodies gets policed by those who perceive us, and how we sometimes wind up hurting each other as a result. McElroy writes their characters with compassion for human pain and bumbling, but makes room for all our complexity and occasional grace too. This is the queer novel I didn’t know I so badly needed."
-CJ Hauser, author of The Crane Wife