top of page

Miss Portland
a novel by David Ebenbach


Winner of The 2016 Orison Poetry Prize, selected by Peter Orner


Orison Books
paper / 236 pp. / $18.00
ISBN: 978-0-9964397-1-8
E-book ISBN: 978-0-9964397-2-5
Distributed to the trade by Itasca Books
1-800-901-3480 /
Publication Date: June 5, 2017




After years of medicated struggle, 34-year-old Zoe quits her office job and moves into a trailer with her boyfriend in rural Maine against her family's wishes and her doctor's advice. After all, she has big plans with Gordy, a goateed vegetarian with thoughtful eyes and a job at a yoga studio and, as it turns out, an unfortunate desire to always be in control. But when a late-night argument turns violent, Zoe runs away in search of a mystical beach house she recalls from childhood, only to discover that in order to find it, she must reckon with her past. In electric prose that burns with wit and intelligence, Miss Portland explores what it means to give up everything in order to recover who you are.




An important and touching depiction of the complexities of selfhood and being with mental illness....[its] success also rests on Ebenbach's ability to see Zoe in all her dimensions, not simply as a collection of symptoms, an object of fascination, or a problem to be solved . . . . Ebenbach delivers an absorbing, suspenseful story of emotional depth and complexity.
–Margaret Luongo, Fiction Southeast

A moving paean to becoming the place where you belong . . . . [A] complex, intimate, and deeply humane portrait of a person whose experience of the world is both alternate and poignantly familiar . . . . Zoe's quest for a happy ending may take her to Portland, Maine, but, ultimately, it leads her back to herself.
Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers, Foreword Reviews

Anybody who has ever tried (again) to make a fresh start, to begin again (again), to give it all another shot someplace else (again), will adore Miss Portland and its hero, Zoe Tussler, a woman who can't make up her mind about very much, and yet is very much a survivor. Miss Portland is a book that makes not figuring out not only alright, but actually kind of inspiring....This is a very memorable and humane book, the kind of book we need more of.
Peter Orner, judge of The 2016 Orison Poetry Prize


In his novel, Miss Portland, David Ebenbach graces us with an unforgettable portrait of Zoe, a young visionary and divine innocent suffering from a diagnosis of the psyche that falls short of healing. With rabbinic wisdom, the sweet truths of parable and perfect wit, Ebenbach reminds us that what we can most richly give and receive from one another on this earth are acts of loving kindness and humble, curative gestures of empathy.
–Melissa Pritchard

David Ebenbach's novel Miss Portland accomplishes something remarkable, which is to make the mind of someone who thinks differently from most of us accessible and sympathetic. This book manages to be at once enchanting and deeply troubling, beautifully simple and subtly complex, a pleasure to read and something that will stay with you long after you've put it down.
–Emily Mitchell




David Ebenbach, the author of seven books of fiction (Miss Portland, The Guy We Didn't Invite to the Orgy, Into the Wilderness, Between Camelots), poetry (Some Unimaginable Animal, We Were the People Who Moved), and essays (The Artist's Torah), lives very happily with his family in Washington, DC, where he teaches creative writing at Georgetown University.

Miss Portland, a novel by David Ebenbach

$18.00 Regular Price
$15.00Sale Price
bottom of page