A darkly comic, wildly original novel of a family in flight from the law, set in a near-future American dystopia.

In an America of the semi-distant future, human knowledge has reverted to a pre-Copernican state. Science and religion are diminished to fairy tales, and Earth once again occupies the lonely center of the universe, the stars and planets mere etchings on the glass globe that encases it. But when an ancient bunker containing a perfectly preserved space vehicle is discovered beneath the ruins of Cape Canaveral, it has the power to turn this retrograde world inside out.

The Only Words That Are Worth Remembering is an indelible vision of a future in which we might one day live.

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Praise for The Only Words That Are Worth Remembering

“Using lush, sensory language, Jeffrey Rotter manages to make his futuristic tale feel vividly present. At its core lies something timeless: a family whose bonds and struggles are riveting and poignant.”
—Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad
“Scary, hilarious, sweet, and forlorn. Jeffrey Rotter has fashioned a fresh take on the dystopian novel. The Only Words That Are Worth Remembering is full of strange worlds, mutated language, and genuine post-human, de-humanized human feeling.”
—Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask
“Rotter’s seemingly effortless ability to marry the heartbreakingly authentic with the totally crazy makes The Only Words That Are Worth Remembering a rare display of talent reminiscent of Kafka’s work.”
—Etgar Keret, author of Suddenly, A Knock on the Door

“Like Vonnegut at his most tender, like Portis at his funniest, Jeffrey Rotter twists society as we know it into wild balloon-animal shapes, ones in which we may just recognize ourselves. The Only Words That Are Worth Remembering would be heartbreaking—even devastating—if it weren’t so damn much fun to read.”
—John Wray, author of Lowboy

The Only Words That Are Worth Remembering is one very funny book. More than that, it clearly establishes Jeffrey Rotter’s voice as a unique and necessary part of the 21st century.”
—Douglas Coupland, author of Worst. Person. Ever.


Jim Rath’s wife has grown tired of his hobbies: his immaculately maintained comics collection, his creepy underwater experiments, and his dreams of building a museum based on the Aquatic Ape Theory of Human Evolution. On the night that she leaves him, Jim thinks he has spotted an emissary from a lost aquatic race called the Nautikons. In truth, the man is a low-level government inspector—a man harboring his own strange fantasies. What follows is a riveting story of two delusional and quixotic men who stalk each other toward a bloody showdown—a spectacularly moronic act at an aging water park. In The Unknown Knowns, Jeffrey Rotter takes everyday domestic fixations and turns them into a stunning portrayal of the human condition.

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Praise for The Unknown Knowns

"Perceptive and humorous… Goes beyond the obvious sendup to explore the private and at times desperate ways his characters strive to secure their own homeland… Rotter’s imagination is formidable and fresh."
—Joseph Salvatore, New York Times Book Review

"Riotous-yet-highly controlled… Rotter [has] imaginative verve and eye for absurdity – personal, literary and political.”
—Kerry Fried, Newsday

"Absurdly hilarious... So smart about paranoia, so freshly observed, I feared the era of Rumsfeld had returned."
—Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan and The Russian Debutante's Handbook