a novel

Agatha of Little Neon


Agatha has lived every day of the last nine years with her sisters: they work together, laugh together, pray together. Their world is contained within the little house they share. The four of them are devoted to Mother Roberta and to their quiet, purposeful life.

But when the parish goes broke, the sisters are forced to move. They land in Woonsocket, a former mill town now dotted with wind turbines. They head up a halfway house, where they live alongside castoffs like the jawless Tim Gary and the headstrong Lawnmower Jill. Agatha is forced to venture out into the world alone, to teach math at a local all-girls high school, where for the first time in years she will have to reckon with what she sees and feels all on her own. Who will she be if she isn't with her sisters? These women, the church, have been her home—or has she just been hiding?

Disarming, delightfully deadpan, and full of searching, Claire Luchette’s Agatha of Little Neon offers a view into the lives of women and the choices they make. It is a novel about female friendship and devotion, the roles made available to us, and how we become ourselves.

Vogue Best Book of 2021
A Best Book of the Summer: VogueRefinery29Lit Hub

Publishers Weekly Writer to Watch, Fall 2021

“Sublime . . . A literary version of Sister Act by way of Wes Anderson.”
―O Magazine


“An enchanting, sparkling book about the many meanings of sisterhood, Claire Luchette's Agatha of Little Neon is an effervescent treat of a novel, a reminder that there are many different ways in which we protect ourselves from the world without actually confronting what it is that makes us vulnerable.”
—Kristin Iversen, Refinery29


“Written in a bracing, acerbic, and darkly comic tenor, [Agatha of Little Neon] is a surprisingly buoyant and fast-paced read, a modern and sly spin on the meaning of devotion.”
—Chloe Schama, Vogue


"Vibrant... A charming and incisive debut."
—Kirkus Reviews


“[A] dynamic and resonant debut… Employing…shimmering prose, Luchette [creates] a lovely story of how cross-cultural exchange can foster hope and fruitful advancements. This is charming and remarkably thoughtful.”
Publishers Weekly

“Claire Luchette is so wildly talented that I would follow her anywhere. Here, it’s to Woonsocket, along with four women who are searching for meaning and a sense of belonging from one another and the world beyond. The result is a novel that’s blazingly original, wry, and perfectly attuned to the oddness—and the profundity—of life.”

—Cristina Henríquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans

Agatha of Little Neon is the rare kind of book that reads like a transmission from a stranger you don’t know, but who is already nestled close to your heart. Full of small devotions, pith and vigor, and a bounty of tender feeling for a world that is not quite as full of grace as it could be, this bold debut shines with a light all its own and announces Claire Luchette as a true original and a voice to follow closely.”
—Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine


“There’s not a false step in this novel of sisterhood, belonging, and what it means to choose a life for yourself. Agatha of Little Neon is a brilliant testament to Claire Luchette’s skill and original voice.”

—Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers

“Claire Luchette is a dazzlingly gifted new voice, a master at balancing a sneaky deadpan wit with deep and genuine pathos. Agatha of Little Neon brilliantly mixes the sacred and the transgressive, the solemn and the absurd, and the profound, contradictory longings for belonging and independence. This book is a moving meditation on how to be a woman in the world—and how to be a human.”
—Karen Thompson Walker, author of The Dreamers

Advanced Praise