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Sodom Road Exit

Sodom Road Exit

By Amber Dawn
Categories: LGBTQ+, Lesbian Literature, Women's Literature, Fiction
Paperback : 9781551527161, 408 pages, 2018
Read Excerpt (PDF)


Lambda Literary Award and Sunburst Award finalist; a Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year

It's the summer of 1990, and Crystal Beach in Ontario has lost its beloved, long-running amusement park, leaving the lakeside village a virtual ghost town. It is back to this fallen community Starla Mia Martin must return to live with her overbearing mother after dropping out of university and racking up significant debt. But an economic downturn, mother-daughter drama, and Generation X disillusionment soon prove to be the least of Starla's troubles: a mysterious and salacious force begins to dog Starla; inexplicable sounds in the night and unimaginable sights spotted on the periphery. Soon enough, Starla must confront the unresolved traumas that haunt Crystal Beach.

Sodom Road Exit might read like a conventional paranormal thriller, except that Starla is far from a conventional protagonist. Where others might feel fear, Starla feels lust and queer desire. When others might run, Starla draws the horror nearer. And in turn, she draws a host of capricious characters toward her--all of them challenged to seek answers beyond their own temporal realities.

Sodom Road Exit, the second novel by Amber Dawn, is a book that's alive with both desire and dread.


  • Short-listed, Lambda Literary Award 2109
  • Short-listed, Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize (BC Book Prizes) 2019
  • Winner, James Tiptree Jr. Honor List 2019
  • Short-listed, Sunburst Award 2019


In Sodom Road Exit, Amber Dawn writes at the edges, crossing the lines that separate reality from obsession, the living world from the dead, the trailer park from the strip club. In this vital novel, Starla returns home to Crystal Beach, a derelict resort town, to live with her mother, trailing a history of debt and failure. Home again, she encounters the ghosts of her childhood and adolescence, finds a job at a campsite, falls in love, and is possessed by another ghost, a forgotten woman named Etta, who died at the abandoned amusement park, and who is determined to be remembered in her afterlife. Sodom Road Exit is an extraordinary, strange, and deeply human novel about the often futile search for redemption, healing, and the ways in which we survive. -Jen Sookfong Lee, author of The Conjoined and The Better Mother

On the highway of trauma, lust, and desire, Amber Dawn's Sodom Road Exit is a wild complex literary off-road. This is a stunning novel with carnival-like drama, visceral characters, and hard-earned poetic insight into survivorship. Sodom Road Exit is designed to unlock and upheave. -Shannon Webb-Campbell, author of Still No Word and Who Took My Sister?

The greatest revelation from the angel of Crystal Beach is that Amber Dawn is the angel of CanLit -- masterful in her brazen prose and merciful in the redemption she grants her characters. Sodom Road Exit is a haunting testament to the transformative power of community, especially when face to face with the inexorcisable ghosts of our pasts. -Vivek Shraya, author of She of the Mountains and even this page is white

As Sodom Road Exit queers the horror genre, it also asks what queer horror includes -- a critical question right now -- and how we heal from that trauma. -The Globe and Mail

Starla Mia Martin is as flawed as they come: trouble, troubled, and full of wisecracks that had me laughing out loud. Carnivalesque, wise, and sometimes intensely funny, Sodom Road casts a clear-eyed look at what it means to flee, to return, to be trapped. Amber Dawn has written a special kind of ghost story. I'm in love. -Hiromi Goto, author of The Kappa Child and Half World

Unsettling. Captivating. Genius! As riveting as Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Spellbound" and as fascinating as Marian Engel's The Bear. Amber Dawn has rolled out a red carpet laced with sweet mystery for everyone this novel discovers.
I love everything about this. Amber Dawn RULES for all of eternity. -Richard Van Camp, author of The Lesser Blessed and Godless but Loyal to Heaven

A fun park ghost story that tilts from horror to desire and back again, Sodom Road Exit is both the roller coaster and the scream -- a long, death-defying scream that roars through pain and betrayal, forgiveness and new life. Amber Dawn's Star will break your heart, if apparitional Etta doesn't beat her to it; and the impact of their shivery, sensual touch across time will ripple fresh into the future. With ferocious compassion and an unforgettable cast of characters, Amber Dawn has written an extraordinary novel of queer love and survival. Consent to be possessed by it.
-Megan Milks, author of Kill Marguerite and Other Stories

A fresh and unusual story that encompasses both the dark and the hilarious . .. If you're jonesing for a dose of early 90s, Gen-X ennui, with a side of the supernatural, Sodom Road Exit is worth the price of admission. -Lambda Literary

Amber Dawn is the white girl's Eden Robinson -gritty and honest. Her skillful use of dialogue brings us to the edge of our seats and draws us into a world of miracles and magic, where a trailer park is transformed by carnival artifacts meant to invoke the presence of an angel. But all is not as it seems. Sodom Road Exit is spellbinding storytelling at its best. -Jonina Kirton, author of An Honest Woman and page as bone - ink as blood