Joy Lanzendorfer

Joy Lanzendorfer’s fiction and nonfiction has appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe Atlantic, NPR, Plougshares, Raritan, Poetry Foundation, and many others.

She was included in The Best Small Fictions anthology and was a notable in The Best American Essays 2019. Other honors include grants and residencies from the Discovered Awards for Emerging Literary Artists, Wildacres Residency Program, and the Speculative Literature Foundation.

Find Joy on her website or follow her on Twitter at @JoyLanzendorfer


  • Standalone
    Right Back Where We Started From
    Joy Lanzendorfer



Right Back Where We Started From
"Lanzendorfer paints a vivid portrait of California’s history, which is the novel’s strength...These fascinating details don’t disappoint."

Washington Independent Review of Books

"Right Back Where We Started From is not told in a linear fashion, but rather switches time periods from mid-19th century, to early 20th, and then the 1930s and 40s. This structure keeps you guessing as to how the geneartional saga enfolds as the secrets hidden by history are slowly revealed. We see all sides of these stories via the three generations of women, as well as their lack of sight in recognizing their similarities despite their tenuous mother-daughter relationships. As the title states, these characters can’t seem to escape who they truly are. Joy Lanzendorfer’s debut is a cinematic treat. I wouldn’t be surprised if this book gets developed into a mini series at some point!"

Nichole Louise Reviews

"Follow three generations of women through a century of California’s history in this engrossing piece of literary fiction."


"Regardless of how you feel about the women, this is a story that comes alive around you, immersing you in the eras so that you’re startled when you look up and realize you’re not there with them."

Quiet Fury Books

"This is a novel of California dreaming, from the Gold Rush to the Hollywood Hills. Lanzendorfer writes with charm, style, and great energy."

Ellen Sussman, New York Times bestselling author

"Joy Lanzendorfer artfully weaves a beautifully textured saga...Gripping prose and memorable and complex characters make this shining debut a pleasure to read."

Liza Nash Taylor, author of Etiquette for Runaways

"Joy Lanzendorfer has crafted a terrific first novel, one brimming with energy, wit, and emotional resonance...The novel captures, vividly, some of the crazier times in California’s crazy history. Highly recommended!”

Peter Orner, author of Maggie Brown & Others

Awards & Accolades


Right Back Where We Started From
USA "Perfect Paperbacks Pick for the Summer"