Bunny, a 1950s housewife and heiress to a small Texas oil fortune, grows bored with her own life and comparing herself to her sister. She first exerts creative control over the ranch house she shares with her husband in extravagant interior design - lush curtains, velvet sofas, and glass ashtrays, but she soon finds it's not enough. A pervasive loneliness drives her into the sudden center of a group of seekers who might be in touch with forces beyond her own understanding.
An aging Hollywood film star, Jessica, purchases the same house in an attempt to recede into the background of her own life. Bored with Los Angeles, and hoping to reenact a scene from Dallas, she instead finds she no longer knows how to blend in. She spends her days tanning and getting tipsy in the expansive lawn that she doesn't know how to maintain. But, when her past resurfaces in the present, she must make a choice to guide her own future happiness.
The house, now dilapidated and no longer in a desirable neighborhood, is bought on the cheap by Amanda, an aspiring influencer turned house flipper. She hopes to flip the house and win a reality TV show and, with it, a host of new followers. She soon realizes, her job, her interests, even her boyfriend, were chosen with a certain superficiality and this house might be the first tangible step to manifesting a new reality.
A steely-eyed feminist, multi-generational novel, Foundations is told in three parts following the lives of three women all living in the same Dallas house in different eras, whose experiences parallel the history of women's rights struggles in the American south.
"I devoured the hell out of this wonderful novel about three different women in the same house across the decades, dealing with unhappiness and doubt in their own, often wild ways. I loved the careful, compassionate way Stewart crafted these characters - it drew me in completely to their stories."
— Amber Sparks, author of And I Do Not Forgive You
"Was loneliness an emergency?" Abigail Stewart asks in this novel, rich in atmosphere and detail... As Stewart explores repetitions and recurrences over time, you keenly care about these characters who are linked by one particular house that may or may not be able to contain their desires and their dreams." — Deborah Shapiro, author of Consolation
Assemblage explores small town Southern myths, pregnancy as body horror, humans who exist on the periphery, and the place of art in modern society. Although the stories are grounded in reality, each one possesses a spectral echo of the surreal.
“A freewheeling imagination powers this collection, fully embracing the wild possibilities that grow from the stories’ brilliant premises. So many of these characters and their predicaments will live forever in my mind. What stole my heart on every page was Stewart’s command of language, paired with her unwavering attention to the details that illuminate and unravel both individuals and their relationships. There are innumerable wonders to unsettle and delight you in these pages." — Kate Finegan, author of Ablaze
"Abigail Stewart's writing is always surprising, twisting and turning each moment into something both completely other and perfectly real at the same time. I love these stories — each so perfectly assembled." — Chloe N. Clark, author of Collective Gravities and Escaping the Body
The Drowned Woman
Jeanette, a graduate student on scholarship and majoring in art history, arrives on the West Coast intending to be embraced by endless sunshine. She finds comfort in her studies and in her new apartment, drinking cheap Scotch and enjoying casual hookups.
From her youth slowly emerges a many-veiled seductive dance that begins in the carnal and veers toward the reluctantly domestic, before ultimately descending, as they do, into the maternal. Fueled by anger alone, Jeanette plies her own orbit, determined to reclaim her life.
With nods to the psychoanalytic works of Louise Bourgeois, The Drowned Woman explores the collision of the tender and the violent, and the brand of survival instincts unique to women artists.
"The Drowned Woman is a powerful and tender exploration of a woman trapped in a life she did not choose—but also incidentally did. Abigail Stewart’s astute and wry novel incisively explores the ways a woman, and an artist, is always becoming. And how she might defy expectation and forge her own way." — Natalie Bakopoulos, author of Scorpionfish
“The Drowned Woman has the gothic stylings of Barbara Comyns and the emotional register of a black-and-white film, fresh yet remarkably vintage. A stoic, dazzling debut."
— Tucker Leighty-Phillips, Hayden's Ferry Review