Reverend Maloney isn’t the world’s greatest spiritual advisor. He drinks gin out of his coffee cup and has sex dreams about the Holy Ghost. His best friend Eli isn’t perfect either, but he’s a chess genius, which has to count for something. So Maloney decides that they should hit the road: Eli can win major chess tournament after chess tournament; Maloney can pocket Eli’s winnings while getting away from, well, certain situations.

Thus begins a grand adventure story, with the Reverend and Eli racing out of the South, pursued by Eli’s girlfriend and a blind head-hunter named, naturally, Jack Cataract, toward New York City–sin city, chess heaven, and a location with a blessed amount of places to . . . hide.

Funny and sexy, with the sly energy of Nicholson Baker and the author’s mentor, Barry Hannah, Sophia is a spectacularly original vision of sin and redemption that marks the debut of a bodacious new talent.

MICHAEL BIBLE is originally from North Carolina. His work has appeared in Oxford American, The Paris Review Daily, Al Jazeera America, ESPN: The Magazine, and New York Tyrant.

“Amid the sharp, laconic prose that its structure facilitates, Bible emerges as one of the most interesting and exciting new novelists in years…superbly written…a rich yet entirely unpretentious debut that, just as its conclusion marks a promising new start for its cast, marks a very promising start for its author.”—Electric Literature

“Poetic and with flashes of brilliance…If Sophia is any indication, we have a promising new writer here, who, like his main character, might be on a pilgrimage of his own.”NPR

“[Bible’s] short, comic novel, which relates a bibulous Southern preacher’s perverse quest for sainthood, is full of small miracles.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Bible delivers an elliptical, provocative novella about the profane and the spiritual, all of it drenched in sweat, sex, and booze.”
 —Kirkus Reviews

”Most contemporary fiction makes me wonder why people try to write anymore. Michael Bible helps me remember why.”
—Blake Butler, author of Three Hundred Million

”Yes, the spirit of Barry Hannah resides in Sophia, but, as Reverend Maloney so eloquently puts it, ’Now is now and then was then.’ Bible’s talent is such that he knows how to take scripture and bend and twist it into something that can exist in both heaven and hell. This is an ecstatic novel, and Bible is a fantastic writer.”
—Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang

”Michael Bible’s Sophia is a real howl of a book. It will drill holes inside your head and then fill them with a rushing pop of words. It’s a wild journey from the deep south to New York City, with detours for chess tournaments, sexual escapades, and encounters with the holy ghost along the way. There’s a lot of pain inside this book, too, but don’t worry: you’ll enjoy it.”
—Scott McClanahan, author of Crapalacia

Praise for Cowboy Maloney’s Electric City

“It’s Hunter S. Thompson and William Burroughs on a road trip, high on peyote, their hearts broken, Denis Johnson looking to get naked in the sand . . . You slow down for a moment, and enter the nostalgic world that Michael Bible has created and wonder if there is any way to stay there.”
The Nervous Breakdown