a Real Simple Best Book of 2018

a Time Magazine Best Book of the Summer

an O Magazine Top Book of Summer

an NY Post Must-Read

an Entertainment Weekly June Must-Read

a People Magazine Book of the Week

Poets & Writers First Fiction 2018: the Hottest Debut Books of Summer

Brit + Co Summer Reads

“A brilliant and absorbing novel that’s not afraid to ask the big questions: What is the source of happiness? How do we recover from loss? How much do we really know about the people we love? A masterly portrait of grief written by an author of enormous sensitivity and insight.” — Nathan Hill, New York Times bestselling author of The Nix

"When this book arrived in the mail, its author, Katharine Dion, was a person unknown to me. Not anymore. The Dependents is a fine debut, full of intelligent writing and free of the canine desire to please that afflicts so much contemporary writing. And yet this book pleases on many levels. I will look for Ms. Dion's work in the future."  —Jeffrey Eugenides, Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Middlesex and The Marriage Plot

"This richly textured family drama is a marvel of a novel. With great subtlety and tact, it evokes the love, devotion, and sadness that bind a grieving father to his troubled daughter. Its cumulative power comes from the depth of Dion's entry into her characters and the vividness of her prose that brings them to life. The Dependents is one of the best debut novels I've read in years, and a very auspicious one. —Adam Haslett, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Imagine Me Gone

"The Dependents is a big book, one that grapples with important questions through generations--the way we live now, the way we may have chosen to live then--and the consequences. Dion's intelligence and ambition truly shine through sentence after sentence." —Kate Walbert, National Book Award finalist and author of A Short History of Women


A wise and lyrical debut novel about a new widower confronting the truth about his long marriage

After the sudden death of his wife, Maida, Gene is haunted by the fear that their marriage was not all it appeared to be. Alongside Ed and Gayle Donnelly, friends since college days, he tries to resurrect happy memories of the times the two couples shared, raising their children in a small New Hampshire town and vacationing together at a lake house every summer. But his daughter, Dary, challenges both his happy version of the past and his view of Maida. As a long-standing rift between them deepens, Gene begins to understand how unknown his daughter is to him—and how enigmatic his wife was as well. When a lingering suspicion seizes his mind, he must reexamine everything he thought he knew about his life. The Dependents is an intimate glance into the expanse of family life and the way we must all eventually bridge the chasm between what we want to believe and what we know to be true.

READ an excerpt of the first chapter or LISTEN to the author read an excerpt of the third chapter.



"The beach read you'll still be thinking about as the leaves fall.... debut novelist Dion writes like a dream. Or John Cheever crossed with a very insightful feminist." —People Magazine

“Dion's resplendent debut ponders the fickleness of memory and the human propensity for nostalgia and self-doubt.” —O Magazine

“[An] eloquent debut about memory, love, grief and friendship….The undeniably talented Dion has written a gorgeously meditative debut about how unfully we live our lives or know ourselves and our loved ones.” —SF Chronicle

“Dion’s wise debut asks compelling questions about memory and grieving.." —Entertainment Weekly

"Quietly moving and profound." —NY Post

"Tender...a heartbreaking meditation on the long process that is healing from grief." —Real Simple

“Luminous...Katharine Dion's singular debut is a polished tapestry rich in character and insight.” —Shelf Awareness

"This summer read might have you saying, “I’m not crying — there’s just sand in my eyes!” This book marries grief, nostalgia, and hope in a glittering way..."  —Between the Covers (Bay Area Book Festival)

"Rich and nuanced characters combine with [Dion's] exceptional writing to create a powerful and intimate look at the inner workings of one family. The Dependents is a deeply satisfying examination of the gulf between what we want to believe and the truth, and readers will be eager for more from Dion." —Booklist [STARRED REVIEW]

“Death and unavoidable truth shatter the serene surface of a man’s golden years in Dion’s fine debut….The narrative travels back and forth through Gene’s life as he tries to pick apart the performative from the heartfelt acts of love. The result is a beautiful story of communication and commitment.” —Publishers Weekly

“Dion's melancholy, meditative debut dwells in the head of Gene Ashe, a widower after 49 years of marriage… At this novel's most successful moments, the depiction of Gene's mental state achieves the eloquence and insight of C.S. Lewis' A Grief Observed: ‘It amazed him he could still remember so much about the particular way she had inhabited the world. Such intimacy, to think of these things, to know exactly the way she had cared for her own body or moved it through space.’ Intelligent and profound.” —Kirkus

"Promising young novelist Dion portrays a lonely older man in a sympathetic, believable way in this insightful story about friendship, love, and loss." —Library Journal 

“Dion builds tension by revealing bits and pieces of the saga gently and cleverly, carefully propelling the action onward even when Gene is considering the past.” ―Oakland Magazine


Illustration by Danica Novgoroff