Palimpsest (novel)

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Palimpsest cover byCatherynneValente.gif
Cover of the first edition of Palimpsest
AuthorCatherynne M. Valente
CountryUnited States
GenreFiction, Novel
PublisherBantam Spectra
Publication date
March 2009
Media typePrint (Paperback)
PagesApprox. 367 pages
ISBN978-0-553-38576-2 (pbk.)
813/.6 22
LC ClassPS3622.A4258 P36 2009

Palimpsest is a novel by Catherynne M. Valente, published in March 2009. It follows four separate characters as they discover and explore a mysterious city accessed only at night.


The novel follows four travelers: Oleg, a New York City locksmith; the beekeeper November; Ludovico, a binder of rare books; and a young Japanese woman named Sei. They have all lost something important in their life: a wife, lover, sister, or direction. They find themselves in Palimpsest after each spend a night with a stranger who has a tattooed map of a section of the city on his or her body.

During the course of the novel, November recalls a favorite book of hers as a child. This book, which is only mentioned briefly in Palimpsest, was turned into a full-length novel in 2009. Valente wrote The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making as a crowd-funded project; in October 2009, she announced that it, as well as a sequel, had been picked up by Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers.[1]


Palimpsest won the 2009 Lambda Literary Award for LGBT SF/Fantasy/Horror [2] and was a finalist for the 2010 Hugo Award for Best Novel.[3]


  1. ^ Catherynne M Valente - All Things Fairyland. [1]. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
  2. ^ "2010 Lambda Literary Finalists & Winners". Lambda Literary Awards. May 2010. Archived from the original on August 17, 2010. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  3. ^ "The 2010 Hugo and John W. Campbell Award Nominees". AussieCon 4. April 4, 2010. Archived from the original on January 21, 2012. Retrieved April 4, 2010.

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