Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination


Lithium for Medea is a tale of addiction: to drugs, to physical love, to dysfunctional family chains. It is also a tale of mothers and daughters, their mutual rebellion and unconscious mimicry. Rose grew up with an emotionally crippled, narcissistic mother while her father, a veteran gambler, spent his waking hours in the garden cut off from his wife’s harangues. Now an adult, Rose works her way through a string of unhealthy love(less) affairs. After a brief, unhappy marriage, she slips more deeply and dangerously into the lair of a parasitic, cocaine-fed artist whose sensual and manipulative ways she grows unable to resist. Like a drug that leaves one’s perceptions forever altered, Lithium for Medea sears us with Rose’s breathless, fierce, visceral flight.

Collected in  

Radical Women

Buying options

“Kate Braverman's Lithium for Medea is jumpy, kinetic, and finally very powerful, a deeply felt piece of work by a very gifted young writer.”

“[Lithium for Medea] has the power and intensity you don't see much outside of rock and roll.”

“Kate Braverman has the ability to write a great tragedy.”

“[Lithium for Medea] lays bare the dark side of the family while ironically affirming the primacy of familial allegiance … The vividness of poetic image is present from the first page.”

blog — March 30

Celebrating Kate Braverman and Other Radical Women

For Women's History month, we've been featuring on our homepage a collection of books by radical women: titles penned by some of our favorite women and non-binary poets and authors. It's a list of staggeringly brilliant and diverse minds, with books by speculative fiction pioneer Octavia Butler, prison abolitionist and intellectual Angela Davis, all around genius Arundhati Roy, and a whole host of other greats from the Seven Stories pantheon.

Now, for no other reason than that it seems the time is ripe, we're singling out Kate Braverman's masterful first novel, Lithium for Medea, and putting up the e-book edition for free through April 6, 6PM EST.

Braverman, whose latest book, A Good Day for Seppuku, was touted in the New Yorker last month, is a literary virtuoso, and it's with Lithium for Medea that her novelistic virtuosity first showed through. Lithium is a tale of addiction: to drugs, physical love, and dysfunctional family chains. It is also a tale of mothers and daughters, their mutual rebellion and unconscious mimicry. But in the end, this great novel is so much more than the words that can be used to describe it. An unsung masterpiece, Lithium is a lyrical fireball that sears the reader from its first line. It is a book that, like all great books, created its own tradition. And the time is now to follow in its burning wake.


A native of Los Angeles who grew up surrounded by the counterculture of San Francisco, Kate Braverman received her BA from the University of California, Berkeley and her MA in English from Sonoma State University. As astute an observer of California’s marginal spaces as she is a bold experimenter in form, Braverman is the author of four novels, four books of poetry, and a collection of short stories. She has won the Best American Short Story Award on multiple occasions and received the O. Henry Award for her story Tall Tales From the Mekong Delta in 1992. Braverman currently lives in New Mexico.