Brando Skyhorse

Author • Speaker • Educator

The Madonnas of Echo Park book cover

My Name Is Iris

Published by: Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster
Release Date: August 1, 2023
272 Pages
ISBN13: 9781982177850

Brando Skyhorse, the PEN/Hemingway Award–winning author of The Madonnas of Echo Park, returns with a riveting literary dystopian novel set in a near-future America where mandatory identification wristbands make second-generation immigrants into second-class citizens—a powerful family saga for readers of Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West and Rumaan Alam’s Leave the World Behind.

About My Name Is Iris

Iris Prince is starting over. After years of drifting apart, she and her husband are going through a surprisingly drama-free divorce. She’s moved to a new house in a new neighborhood, and has plans for gardening, coffee clubs, and spending more time with her nine-year-old daughter Melanie. It feels like her life is finally exactly what she wants it to be.

Then, one beautiful morning, she looks outside her kitchen window—and sees that a wall has appeared in her front yard overnight. Where did it come from? What does it mean? And why does it seem to keep growing?

Meanwhile, a Silicon Valley startup has launched a high-tech wrist wearable called “the Band.” Pitched as a convenient, eco-friendly tool to help track local utilities and replace driver’s licenses and IDs, the Band is available only to those who can prove parental citizenship. Suddenly, Iris, a proud second-generation Mexican American, is now of “unverifiable origin,” unable to prove who she is, or where she, and her undocumented loved ones, belong. Amid a climate of fear and hate-fueled violence, Iris must confront how far she’ll go to protect what matters to her most.

My Name Is Iris is an all-too-possible story about family, intolerance, and hope, offering a brilliant and timely look at one woman’s journey to discover who she can’t—and can—be.

Praise for My Name Is Iris

“Skyhorse made a big splash with his 2010 debut novel, “The Madonnas of Echo Park.” His follow-up maps out the technological and political fault lines in the U.S. When a Silicon Valley company launches a high-tech ID wristband, the surveillance state begins tracking those who don’t “belong” here. American-born Iris Prince, already reeling from a divorce, is forced to negotiate xenophobia and rising violence as she claims her new life.”

A Most-Anticipated Summer 2023 ReadThe Los Angeles Times

“Any new book by Brando Skyhorse is a cause for celebration. My Name Is Iris is rich and full of heart and emotion. This is the work of a lifetime of experience, and you will not forget his characters.”

—Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The House of Broken Angels

“A compelling take on identity and belonging.”

—People Magazine, A Best New Book Pick, August 7, 2023

“Brando Skyhorse’s ‘My Name Is Iris’ imagines a plausible American nightmare.”

—Marginalia NPR Podcast

“PEN/Hemingway winner Brando Skyhorse returns with an adept American allegory.”

—Kirkus Reviews Fully Booked Podcast

“‘My Name Is Iris’ offers a sharp vision of how racism gets imbibed by its victims like a sweet poison… Could there be a more incisive diagnosis of our era?… As Skyhorse’s clever satire accelerates into a truly terrifying thriller, the most insidious functions of racism appear illuminated in an eerie new light.”

Ron Charles, The Washington Post

“[N]uanced and compelling… it was satisfying to read about a demographic so often invisible, to see a community brought into focus through a woman with an inner life that is layered, confusing and at times unflattering. Narratives like this are rare, and I was grateful for it.”

—Erika L. Sánchez, The New York Times Book Review

“A chilling near-reality dystopian novel . . . My Name Is Iris is part social commentary and part thoughtful consideration of themes that include family, identity, transitions, perspectives, and hope. In addition to being an engrossing, discomfiting tale, this will make an excellent book club selection and fuel for tough conversations.”

—Shelf Awareness

“Skyhorse’s satirical eye is sharp. . . . He cultivates an engrossing Kafkaesque atmosphere across the novel. A well-imagined allegory of divisive racial politics.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“A harrowing and, at times, darkly funny exploration of one woman’s complex relationship with her own identity as Mexican American in a slightly fictionalized United States.”

—Electric Literature

“In My Name Is Iris, Brando Skyhorse tackles the surveillance state and xenophobia in an uncomfortably familiar dystopian vision of American.”

Time Magazine’s Best Books of August 2023

“The Mexican-American woman in Brando Skyhorse’s new novel, “My Name is Iris” is determined to follow all the rules, fit in and live the American dream. But soon after buying a house, an enormous wall starts growing out of the ground in her front yard. In this dystopian social satire, Iris realizes that she’ll never be quite white enough for a country obsessed with stigmatizing and excluding immigrants.”

—Ron Charles’s CBS News Book Report