A story of a man who leaves his wife and goes off in search of the man he believes is responsible for the dissolution of his marriage. Quest? Quixotic escapade? Unsettlingly surreal adventure?

Winner of the Cabell First Novelist Award

“Unferth is always playing a sort of life-or-death word game. She will seize a word and wring all meanings from it, like a terrier worrying a bone… in their very abstraction the descriptions can be truly poignant.”

—The New York Times Book Review

“The quirky, metafictional gloom is part of the charm of this novel and is a critical gear in the apparatus that propels it to its lonely conclusion in a far-flung corner of the earth.”


Vacation, Deb Olin Unferth’s dreamy, surreal debut novel, reads like an extended hallucination or out-of-body experience, as unsettling as it is compelling.”

—The Village Voice

“The genius of this sad, poignant, and hilarious book is its capacity to demonstrate how hollow our destinations can be, while simultaneously showing how much fun can be had in the going.”

—American Book Review

“Unferth skillfully layers what for another writer might be throwaway details into a gripping psychological adventure, and the persistence of her writing turns a rather abstract work…from a postmodern anti-narrative into prose that grips the reader like a Jane Austen novel.”

—Review of Contemporary Fiction

“Unferth’s imaginative, fractured, uncompromising Vacation is urgently contemporary without failing to strike at the heart of the most enduring human concerns.”

Laura van den Berg, Rumpus