Before Elvis There Was Nothing




A FABULIST FOR the twenty-first century, Laurie Foos is back with a whip-smart, refreshingly contemporary take on the nature of beauty, the importance of appearance and the all-too-human cravings for friendship, spiritual fulfillment and love.

A modern-day superwoman, Cass embodies the Elvis adage “Taking Care of Business“-from coping with the disappearance of her Elvis-obsessed parents and caring for her agoraphobic sister to treating the folically-challenged and avoiding the attentions of a perverse podiatrist-until the day a horn sprouts from her forehead. As Cass seeks treatment for her unwelcome appendage, she finds herself in a facility only Dr. Moreau could love. Join the beautiful Cass as she plans her escape and, in the process, resolves her physical and spiritual ailments, discovering more about herself than she ever thought possible.

In a world gone mad, where we’re all on display and our obligations and obsessions are magnified by a voyeuristic culture, this feverishly hip, comic caper is the perfect tonic-one that may even answer the burning question that lurks deep in all of our hearts: “Has Elvis really left the building?”

“A wonderful mixture of insecurity and insanity. Every line of Laurie Foos’ new novel is suffused with intelligence, wit and daring. Exhilarating!”

Fay Weldon

“Foos launches an exhilarating, life-affirming tale that blends Elvis questionnaires and facts about hair with the heroine’s search for spiritual serenity…Leave it to Foos to write such a stunningly ironic, page-turning commentary on public image, beauty, and celebrity.”


“Oy, is this a weird book! Here are a few of the key elements: Elvis, runaway parents, agoraphobia, toe fungus, Bagel King, hair replacement therapy, a randy podiatrist, a big-hearted mailman, a crazy doctor, Cousin It, and a woman named Cass (after Mama Cass) who grows a six inch horn in the middle of her forehead. And did I mention she wants to be Jewish? Cass, lest she choke to death like her namesake! What kind of mishigass is this?
“Turns out, the author, Laurie Foos, has a theory or two about how to write a novel. One theory goes like this: Make something weird enough and folks will look right past all of the weirdness to find the heart of the story. The second theory? Make something weird enough, and folks will stick with you to see how you’re going to pull the damn thing off. And pull it off, she does. I think. I’m still a little bit woozy from this tale’s wild and often very funny ride.”

The Believer

“The appeal of Before Elvis There Was Nothing is not limited to people who have had hair loss issues or who are fascinated with Mr. Presley. Foos’s delightful book is a novel for people who enjoy unusual and creative fiction.“

Psychiatric Services


Coffee House Press / 978-1566891684 / Paperback $14.00


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