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Every Cripple a Superhero
Every Cripple a Superhero

Every Cripple a Superhero



192 Pages, 5 x 7.75

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $18.99 (US $18.99)

Publication Date: March 2024

ISBN 9781802060997

Rights: US

Penguin Random House UK (Mar 2024)

Price: $18.99


An intimate, eye-opening exploration of the trials - and joys - of life with a progressive disability

Most stories of disability follow a familiar pattern: Life Before Accident. Life After Accident. For Christoph Keller, it was different: his childhood diagnosis with a form of Spinal Muscular Atrophy only revealed what had been with him since birth. SMA III, the 'kindest one', allows those who have it to live a long life, and it progresses slowly. There is no cure. By the age of 25, he had to use a wheelchair some of the time. 'There were two of me: Walking Me. Rolling Me.' By 32, he could still walk into a restaurant with a cane or on somebody's arm. At 45, 'Rolling Me' took over altogether.

Intimate, absurdist and winningly frank, Every Cripple a Superhero is at once a memoir of life with a progressive disorder, and a profound exploration of the challenges of loving, being loved, and living a public life - navigating restaurants, airplanes, museums and artists' retreats - in a world not designed for you. Threaded throughout are Keller's own photographs of the unexpected beauty found in puddle-filled 'curb cuts', the pavement ramps that, left to disintegrate, form part of the urban obstacle course. Those puddles become portals into a different, truer city; and, as they do, so this book - told with humor and immense grace - begins to uncover a truer world: one where the 'normal' is not normal, where disability is far more widespread than we might think, and where there always exist, just alongside our own, the lives of everyday superheroes.


"Everyone who doesn't use a wheelchair, and everyone who does, should read Christoph Keller's Every Cripple A Superhero. So many worlds exist side-by-side, yet we seldom truly enter the experience of another. Grace, strength, and humor are superpowers of extraordinary depth and stature, and Keller's slender, powerful book glows like a supernova." —Jayne Anne Phillips, author of Quiet Dell and Lark and Termite

"Pondering the title of this remarkable book, I wondered why I came away from it not thinking of its author as a superhero. Certainly, it is the work of an artist of singular skill and power. The answer, I realized, is that there is something inhuman about superheroes. Christoph Keller, by contrast, inspires our awe precisely because he demonstrates, with extraordinary wit, honesty, grace, and courage, what that well-worn phrase - "to live a fully human life" - really means." —Harold Schechter, Professor Emeritus, Queens College, CUNY

"What is it like to have a 'wasting' disease? In Every Cripple a Superhero, the excellence of Christoph Keller's writing is matched by its fearlessness. Precision, tragicomedy, quiet rage, elegant storytelling; every awkwardness, every frustration, every terror, every abjection is illuminated by the superpower of his style. No word or phrase is wasted in this marvelous book. And by the way, it is also a love story." —Alicia Ostriker, New York State Poet Laureate 2018-2021 and author of The Volcano and After: Selected and New Poems 2002-2019

Author Biography

Born in Switzerland, Christoph Keller is a novelist, memoirist and editor. His books include the bestselling 2003 memoir-novel Der beste Tänzer (The Best Dancer) and 2019's Der Boden unter den Füßen (The Ground Beneath Our Feet); winner of the Alemannic Literature Prize). Based for many years in New York City, he now lives in St Gallen.