Practical Blasphemy: The New Testament by LJT


Practical Blasphemy: The New Testament by LJT


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Fiction, 5.5" x 8.25", paperback, 250 pages, October 2019, ISBN 9780997592313

Amelia Adams, besieged with mental illness that no doctor seems to know how to treat, carefully plans and carries out her suicide. Bleeding in the bathtub of her Chicago apartment, she calls 911 so her roommates do not have to come home to find her body. To her horror, EMTs get there sooner than she bargains for, “save” her life, and deposit her in a psychiatric ward.

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Amid the relentless onslaught of unwelcome thoughts, visions, and sound—including ghostly children who urge her to hurt herself and a vicious blind rabbit dipped in tar—Amelia must confront the nightmare that is her every waking moment in a setting that offers no escape. In this hospital, Amelia meets, befriends, and learns the stories of other people who are also facing the darkest moments of their lives. Her only solace beyond the camaraderie of the self-described “misfit toys” is music—songs that play inside her head, welcome or not, which bring her a peace that no pill cocktail can match.

At once a personal tale of survival when it is least wanted and a harrowing indictment of society’s lack of understanding of how to help those who live with mental illness, Practical Blasphemy: The New Testament is the debut novel from LJT, who has chosen to remain anonymous in order to present this thinly veiled fiction of her own powerful story. This debut is stunning not only in its frank portrayal of the true agony that comes of mistreating mental illness, but also, through her wholly unique style on the page, LJT pulls the reader inside Amelia’s mind to better understand what it is to experience life this way.

As evocative and urgent as Nelly Arcan, as honest and openhearted as William Styron, LJT heralds a new, necessary voice in American fiction—one that sheds much-needed light on what it means to live with mental illness, and, just possibly, provides a glimmer of hope to those who struggle daily with demons of their own.

LJT is a musician and suicide survivor. She enjoys delusions of grandeur, schadenfreude, and dry toast. This is her first novel.

Cover and book design by Najeebah Al-Ghadban.

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