People Collide

A Novel

Author Isle McElroy

From the acclaimed author of "The Atmospherians," a gender-bending, body-switching novel that explores marriage, identity, and sex, and raises profound questions about the nature of true partnership.

When Eli leaves the cramped Bulgarian apartment he shares with Elizabeth, his more organized and successful wife, he discovers that he now inhabits her body. Not only have he and his wife traded bodies but Elizabeth, living as Eli, has disappeared without a trace. What follows is Eli’s search across Europe to America for his missing wife—and a roving, no-holds-barred exploration of gender and embodied experience.

As Eli comes closer to finding Elizabeth—while learning to exist in her body—he begins to wonder what effect this metamorphosis will have on their relationship and how long he can maintain the illusion of living as someone he isn’t. Will their new marriage wither completely in each other's bodies? Or is this transformation the very thing Eli and Elizabeth need for their marriage to thrive?

A rich, rewarding exploration of ambition and sacrifice, desire and loss, "People Collide" is a portrait of shared lives that shines a refreshing light on everything we thought we knew about love, sexuality, and the truth of who we are.


Isle McElroy is a graduate of ASU, having earned a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing in 2015.

Praise for this book

'A more agile, universal book, with its title alluding to the randomness of human connection. It’s a variety of rom-com, really, that somewhat lost art....'[People Collide's]' naturalness and ease with the most fundamental questions of existence make it a big project knocking around in a small package, portending even bigger projects ahead.

Alexandra Jacobs The New York Times

'People Collide''s 'Freaky Friday' concept covers a deep exploration of marriage, love, and the ways we know one another—and don't—as well as how slippery a sense of self can be when so much of how we navigate the world depends on how it sees us.

Ilana Masad NPR
Painting of two people embracing
Date published
Harper Collins

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