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Eggers' protagonist in Heroes of the Frontier, a mother on the run named Josie, is both determined and increasingly crazy, but he manages the neat trick of keeping her both a believable and empathetic character as her flight to Alaska resurrects old ghosts and sparks new opportunities for failure.
Hut— From Heroes of the Frontier
“A picaresque adventure and spiritual coming-of-age tale — On the Road crossed with Henderson the Rain King… Deeply affecting.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
Longlisted for an Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction
A captivating, often hilarious novel of family and wilderness from the bestselling author of The Circle, this is a powerful examination of our contemporary life and a rousing story of adventure.
Josie and her children’s father have split up, she’s been sued by a former patient and lost her dental practice, and she’s grieving the death of a young man senselessly killed. When her ex asks to take the children to meet his new fiancée’s family, Josie makes a run for it, figuring Alaska is about as far as she can get without a passport. Josie and her kids, Paul and Ana, rent a rattling old RV named the Chateau, and at first their trip feels like a vacation: They see bears and bison, they eat hot dogs cooked on a bonfire, and they spend nights parked along icy cold rivers in dark forests. But as they drive, pushed north by the ubiquitous wildfires, Josie is chased by enemies both real and imagined, past mistakes pursuing her tiny family, even to the very edge of civilization.
A tremendous new novel from the best-selling author of The Circle, Heroes of the Frontier is the darkly comic story of a mother and her two young children on a journey through an Alaskan wilderness plagued by wildfires and a uniquely American madness.
About the Author
DAVE EGGERS is the author of ten books, including the national best sellers The Circle and A Hologram for the King, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. He is the founder of McSweeney's, an independent publishing company based in San Francisco. Eggers is the cofounder of 826 National, a network of eight tutoring centers around the country, and ScholarMatch, a nonprofit organization designed to connect students with resources, schools, and donors to make college possible. He lives in Northern California with his family.
“Among his bestselling literary fiction peers, Dave Eggers alone is engaged in a sustained effort to write about contemporary America. He’s been going at it so regularly, and so swiftly, that he’s keeping pace with the times, if not getting a half-step ahead… When Eggers draws the present into his fiction, it’s there not just as window dressing or setting; it tells us something about ourselves… Heroes gives us a woman who’s at the end of her rope, in a place of salvation without the wherewithal to seek it, as its promise goes up in flames.”
—Carolyn Kellogg, The Los Angeles Times
“This is a novel about America, about what forces people to leave ‘the lower 48’ to seek refuge in a forbidding, unpeopled landscape… Eggers renders it with such passion and good humour, and describes the ‘land of mountains and light’ in such stirring, lustrous prose… There is a feeling of utopianism about the novel, a sense that, in Alaska, some original American dream slumbers just beneath the ice… Heroes of the Frontier acts on the reader like a breath of Alaskan air, cleansing the spirit and lifting the heart.”
—Alex Preston, The Guardian (U.K)
“The phenomenally productive Eggers has talent to spare… In his books he has revealed a remarkable aptitude for inhabiting otherness and illuminating the world’s darker corners… Heroes of the Frontier again offers complex, believable characters… Entertains, often spectacularly.”
—Barbara Kingsolver, The New York Times Book Review
“Captivating…. Part adventure, part social critique, the book is occasionally harrowing and often very funny… As Eggers takes Josie through wildfires, avalanches, lightning strikes and narrow escapes from the long arm of the law, he suggests there's something a little heroic in all of us.” —Georgia Rowe, San Jose Mercury News
“Eggers, writing with exuberant imagination, incandescent precision, and breathless propulsion, casts divining light on human folly and generosity and the glories and terror of nature. This uproarious quest, this breathless journey from lost to found, this delirious American road-trip saga, is fueled by uncanny insight, revolutionary humor, and profound pleasure in the absurd and the sublime.”
—Donna Seaman, Booklist (Starred Review)
Coverage from NPR
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Sometimes the greater good requires the smaller evil.
17-year-old Arman Dukoff can't remember life without anxiety and chronic illness when he arrives at an expensive self-help retreat in the remote hills of Big Sur. He’s taken a huge risk—and two-thousand dollars from his meth-head stepfather—for a chance to "evolve," as Beau, the retreat leader, says.
Beau is complicated. A father figure? A cult leader? A con man? Arman's not sure, but more than anyone he's ever met, Beau makes Arman feel something other than what he usually feels—worthless.
The retreat compound is secluded in coastal California mountains among towering redwoods, and when the iron gates close behind him, Arman believes for a moment that he can get better. But the program is a blur of jargon, bizarre rituals, and incomprehensible encounters with a beautiful girl. Arman is certain he's failing everything. But Beau disagrees; he thinks Arman has a bright future—though he never says at what.
And then, in an instant Arman can't believe or totally recall, Beau is gone. Suicide? Or murder? Arman was the only witness and now the compound is getting tense. And maybe dangerous.
As the mysteries and paradoxes multiply and the hints become accusations, Arman must rely on the person he's always trusted the least: himself.
About the Author
Stephanie Kuehn is the critically acclaimed author of four young adult novels, including Charm & Strange, which won the ALA’s William C. Morris Award for best debut novel. Booklist has praised her work as “Intelligent, compulsively readable literary fiction with a dark twist.” She lives in Northern California and is a post-doctoral fellow in clinical psychology.
★"Kuehn’s specialty in depicting mental illness and her sharp, quick writing are on display in her latest novel, but it is her satirical integration of New Age hippie rituals with the pseudoscientific jargon of the self-help retreat world that is the most compelling addition. Fans of the author’s work will find familiar material in this book. Readers interested in a Gillian Flynn–style take on cults and self-help retreats will also be intrigued."--SLJ, starred review
"Suspenseful and enigmatic, bristling with Stephanie Kuehn's vivid prose and sharp-eyed characterizations, The Smaller Evil kept me guessing till the very last page. I immediately flipped back to the first page to read it again, and so will you." —Laura Ruby, Michael L. Printz Award winning author of Bone Gap.
"The Smaller Evil, with an engaging main character, precise, vivid writing and a continuous rushing train of tensions, is a captivating thriller." —2015 PEN/Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Working Writer Fellowship Judges
Praise for Delicate Monsters:
"Intelligent, compulsively readable literary fiction with a dark twist." -Booklist, starred
“[A] tough, punishing novel about the damages we inflict on others and the shaky defenses we build to mask trauma and guilt.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“As she did in Charm & Strange and Complicit, Kuehn unflinchingly explores the darkest places of the human psyche, leaving many lingering questions about nature-versus-nurture and the relentlessness of mental illness.” —The Horn Book Magazine
Praise for Complicit:
"Kuehn writes with the fleetness of a trained thriller author...Explosive." -Booklist, starred
Accolades for Charm & Strange
William C. Morris Award Medalist
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There are remarkable stories -- you never know what will happen next. Funny, sad, and everything in between-- this collection is long overdue.— Freyda
One of our longtime staff favorites!— From A Manual for Cleaning Women
A Manual for Cleaning Women compiles the best work of the legendary short-story writer Lucia Berlin. With the grit of Raymond Carver, the humor of Grace Paley, and a blend of wit and melancholy all her own, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday, uncovering moments of grace in the Laundromats and halfway houses of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Bay Area upper class, among switchboard operators and struggling mothers, hitchhikers and bad Christians.
Readers will revel in this remarkable collection from a master of the form and wonder how they’d ever overlooked her in the first place.
About the Author
Lucia Berlin (1936-2004) worked brilliantly but sporadically throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Her stories are inspired by her early childhood in various Western mining towns; her glamorous teenage years in Santiago, Chile; three failed marriages; a lifelong problem with alcoholism; her years spent in Berkeley, New Mexico, and Mexico City; and the various jobs she later held to support her writing and her four sons. Sober and writing steadily by the 1990s, she took a visiting writer's post at the University of Colorado Boulder in 1994 and was soon promoted to associate professor. In 2001, in failing health, she moved to Southern California to be near her sons. She died in 2004 in Marina del Rey. Her posthumous collection, A Manual for Cleaning Women, was named one of the New York Times Book Review’s Ten Best Books of 2015.
“In A Manual for Cleaning Women we witness the emergence of an important American writer, one who was mostly overlooked in her time. Ms. Berlin's stories make you marvel at the contingencies of our existence. She is the real deal. Her stories swoop low over towns and moods and minds.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“Some short story writers-Chekhov, Alice Munro, William Trevor-sidle up and tap you gently on the shoulder: Come, they murmur, sit down, listen to what I have to say. Lucia Berlin spins you around, knocks you down and grinds your face into the dirt. You will listen to me if I have to force you, her stories growl. But why would you make me do that, darlin'? . . . Berlin's stories are full of second chances. Now readers have another chance to confront them: bits of life, chewed up and spat out like a wad of tobacco, bitter and rich.” —Ruth Franklin, The New York Times Book Review
“[Lucia Berlin] might be the most interesting person you've never met . . . Life (and a long battle with alcohol) prevented her from publishing regularly, but it's all here in 43 autobiographical stories that read like one long, fascinating conversation full of switchbacks and revelations. Every detox ward, dingy Laundromat, and sunbaked Mexican palapa spills across the page in sentences so bright and fierce and full of wild color that you'll want to turn each one over just to see how she does it. And then go back and read them all again. A.” —Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
“The vivacity, humor, sorrow, pragmatism and sheer literary star power that fill the 43 stories collected in A Manual For Cleaning Women hit with such immediacy and vigor that it seems unbelievable that their author, Lucia Berlin, died in 2004, at the age of 68, before most of us ever knew about her. How a writer with this much appeal slipped under the radar is unfathomable, though sexism may be involved. Anyway, thank heavens it's over. Anyone who loves the stories of Grace Paley and Lorrie Moore will find another master of the form here. . . Just go get the book and start reading them for yourself.” —Marion Wink, Newsday
“Berlin's tales of addiction and violence, formally unpredictable and drolly grotesque, defy our expectations for working-class fiction . . . If you aren't familiar with Berlin, now's the time to get acquainted . . . A Manual for Cleaning Women brings together 43 of the unconventional, unnerving stories Berlin wrote over the course of thirty years . . . offer[ing] unusually detailed portraits of working-class lives . . . Allusive and lyrical, her writing looks more modernist than minimalist . . . [Berlin] didn't generalize or ironize working-class experience; she instead presented her neighbors in all their compelling specificity . . . What this writing affirms is the beautiful, broken human body as well as Berlin's rightful place in the canon of American short fiction.” —Maggie Doherty, New Republic
“Berlin was underrecognized during her life-she died in 2004 at age 68-but A Manual for Cleaning Women, a collection of her work edited by Stephen Emerson and with a foreword by Lydia Davis, should correct that. These 43 stories, mostly published from the 1960s to the '80s, illuminate a gritty world where pink-collar workers seek illegal abortions, endure unwanted caresses from strange men and scavenge for pennies to nurse their addictions . . . Infused with Berlin's caustic humor and a sense of self-discovery . . . the most touching stories have fun with the foreboding.” —Eliana Dockterman, Time
“Lucia Berlin's electrifying posthumous collection A Manual for Cleaning Women is a miracle of storytelling economy, showcasing this largely unheard-of writer's genius for streetwise erudition and sudden, soul-baring epiphanies.” —Lisa Shea, Elle
“A writer's writer whose posthumous, highly semiautobiographical collection will catapult her into a household name. Women who behave badly oscillate beautifully between funny ha-ha and funny-sad in these perfectly clipped, nuanced stories.” —Steph Opitz, Marie Claire
“[These stories] showcase a singular if unsung American voice.” —Megan O’Grady, Vogue
“Lucia Berlin has long been overlooked as one of America's best short story writers, and it only takes readers the first couple of pages to recognize that . . . Reminiscent of Raymond Carver with a dash of survivor's humor, which makes even the bleakest tales thoroughly enjoyable.” —Joseph Errico, Nylon
“A collection of wry, riveting stories.” —Marnie Hanel, W
“Begin reading a Berlin short story and you know immediately that you are in the presence of a unique and searing literary force . . . This revelatory volume now brings her forward to stand beside her peers, including Grace Paley . . . Berlin is exceptionally attuned to the randomness of life, its pains and pleasures, our vulnerability and resiliency . . . Berlin unflinchingly strips bare casual and catastrophic cruelty and injustice, dramatizing, as one narrator puts it, "times of intense technicolor happiness and times that were sordid and frightening." An essential collection of jazzy, jolting, incisive, wryly funny, and keenly compassionate, virtuoso tales.” —Donna Seaman (starred review), Booklist
“A posthumous collection of stories, almost uniformly narrated by hard-living women, that makes a case for the author as a major talent . . . The prevailing sensibility of this book, collecting 43 of the 76 stories Berlin published, is cleareyed and even comic in the face of life hitting the skids. The title story, for instance, balances wry commentary about housecleaning work ('never make friends with cats') and deadpan observation ('I clean their coke mirror with Windex') with a sad, thrumming back story . . . Berlin's skill at controlling the temperature of a story is best displayed in her most emotionally demanding material. In 'Tiger Bites,' narrated by an El Paso woman who heads to Juarez for an illegal abortion, the pain of her experience and the pieties of her family at home collide. And 'Mijito,' which deserves to be widely anthologized, exposes how an immigrant woman's best intentions to care for her ailing son are easily derailed by circumstance and obligation. A testament to a writer whose explorations of society's rougher corners deserve wider attention.” —Kirkus Review (starred)
“[Lucia Berlin] may just be the best writer you've never heard of . . . Imagine a less urban Grace Paley, with a similar talent for turning the net of resentments and affections among family members into stories that carry more weight than their casual, conversational tone might initially suggest . . . Berlin's offbeat humor, get-on-with-it realism, and ability to layer details that echo across stories and decades give her book a tremendous staying power . . . [A Manual for Cleaning Women] goes a long way toward putting Berlin, who died in 2004, back in the public eye.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Here's prose to fall hard for, from the first beautifully candid paragraph to the last. As Berlin's characters confide in the reader and in each other, somehow, through the "ifs" and "buts," laundry and flower clocks, grace and catastrophe, a mesh is woven that captures life itself. I'm bowled over by her.” —Helen Oyeyemi
“What a thrilling, welcome discovery this collection is. These are stories to beguile, fascinate and surprise. You are never sure what will happen next. As soon as I'd finished this book, I had to turn back to the beginning and start again.” —Maggie O’Farrell
“Berlin's literary model is Chekhov, but there are extra-literary models too, including the extended jazz solo, with its surges, convolutions, and asides. This is writing of a very high order.” —August Kleinzahler on Where I Live Now, London Review of Books
“This remarkable collection occasionally put me in mind of Annie Proulx's Accordion Crimes, with its sweep of American origins and places. Berlin is our Scheherazade, continually surprising her readers with a startling variety of voices, vividly drawn characters, and settings alive with sight and sound. ” —Barbara Barnard on Where I Live Now, American Book Review
“[The stories] are set in the places Berlin knows best: Chile, Mexico, the Southwest and California, and they have the casual, straightforward, immediately intimate style that distinguishes her work . . . [They] are told in an easy conversational voice and they go from start to finish with a swift and often lyrical economy . . . Berlin's stories capture and communicate these moments of grace and cast a lovely, lazy light that lasts. She is one of our finest writers and it is a pleasure to see her represented at the height of her powers.” —Molly Giles on So Long, San Francisco Chronicle
“Marvelous . . . Berlin's beautiful, rangy prose builds into unpredictable shapes that speak of the sprawling rural and urban western and South American landscapes that fueled her imagination . . . Full of humor and tenderness and emphatic grace . . . Those not lucky enough to have yet encountered the writing of Lucia Berlin are in for some high-grade pleasure when they make first contact.” —Laird Hunt, The Washington Post
“By the last line, each story reveals itself to have been microscopically crafted . . . As a writer, [Berlin is] like the genius in the movies who stares at a huge blackboard crisscrossed with equations, scrawls a few characters, corrects a subscript, and solves the big problem that's stumped the best minds in the field . . . It's as if Berlin had looked around and seen an empty space in fiction that no one else had noticed, so she decided to fill it with as much life as it could hold-and it turned out it could hold all of it.” —Michael Robbins, Chicago Tribune
“Berlin's stories . . . alternate between light and dark so seamlessly and suddenly that a certain emotion barely fades before you feel something abruptly different . . . The result is a fictional world of wide-ranging impact, a powerful chiaroscuro that manages to encompass the full spectrum of human experience . . . [Berlin] deserves to be ranked alongside Alice Munro, Raymond Carver, and Anton Chekhov. She excels at pacing, structure, dialogue, characterization, description, and every other aspect of the form.” —Nick Romeo,The Boston Globe
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You Know Me Well is a deeply honest story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.
Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?
Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.
That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.
When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other -- and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.
Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour, the award-winning author of Hold Still and The Disenchantments, and David Levithan, the bestselling author of Every Day and co-author of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn) and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green).
About the Author
David Levithan is the author of The Lover's Dictionary and many acclaimed young-adult novels, including the New York Times bestselling Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn), which was adapted into a popular movie. He is also an editorial director at Scholastic.
NINA LACOUR is the award-winning author of Hold Still, The Disenchantments, and Everything Leads to You. A former indie bookseller and high school English teacher, she lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.
A Publishers Weekly Staff Pick for Best Summer Book of 2016
A Bustle Summer 2016 YA Summer Reading Guide Pick
A PopSugar Best Book of June
A New York Daily News Summer Pick for Teens
A Seventeen Magazine Best YA Book of 2016
"You Know Me Well perfectly encapsulates those fraught, end-all-be-all feelings of high-school romance and graduation. The raw emotion of this novel will delight fans of Rainbow Rowell and John Green." -BookPage
"Both authors excel at writing smart, funny, and realistic dialogue. These are characters to whom readers will relate and want to get to know." -School Library Journal
"...incisively explore(s) the excitement and costs of change, and the importance of friends in figuring out what to keep and what to jettison." -Publishers Weekly
"The pacing and voices of LaCour's and Levithan's alternating points of view are on point, keeping this sweet...tale moving gladly forward." -Kirkus Review
“Often subtle and always absorbing examination of fraught relationships…popular authors LaCour and Levithan tell their heartfelt story seamlessly in chapters that alternate between Mark’s and Kate’s respective points of view and invite readers’ emotional engagement with these two empathetic teens.” -Booklist
“A perfect read for the bolter in all of us… LaCour and Levithan join together to give an honest view of the anxious teenage psyche.” -Romantic Times
"Two powerful forces in YA lit team up to tell one unique story in You Know Me Well." -Bustle
"Teens, queer or straight, are often dramatic and unsure of themselves, and by moving its characters beyond the coming-out trope and giving them other questions to focus on, this book gives them room to be." -Horn Book Review
"LaCour and Levithan are both dab hands at utopian romance." -The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Nina LaCour and David Levithan are two of the best YA authors working right now, and this story is further proof. This fun, sweet novel beautifully captures the power of romantic and platonic love alike." -Seventeen Magazine "Top 10 YA Book of 2016"
"Few literary titles have been able to portray adult romance as honestly and believably as LaCour and Levithan manage to in this irresistible teenage tale. I can only hope this isn't the last we hear from Kate and Mark." -Edge Media
"Levithan and LaCour beautifully capture what it’s like to have a romance against the backdrop of the cool grey city of love. There is something about this place that renders everything full of magic." -Forever Young Adult
"A sweet, hopeful story about finding the courage to live your truth — whatever it may be. And of course, it's a story about the friends who guide us through it all." -Bustle's Beach Reads
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Other Books in Series
This is book number 2 in the The Great Library series.
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
In Ink and Bone, author Rachel Caine introduced a world where knowledge is power, and power corrupts absolutely. Now, she continues the story of those who dare to defy the Great Library—and rewrite history...
With an iron fist, The Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion, forbidding the personal ownership of books in the name of the greater good.
Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower and doomed to a life apart.
Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London.
But Jess’s home isn't safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, or the Library willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control...
About the Author
Rachel Caine is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of more than forty novels, including the Great Library series, Prince of Shadows, the Weather Warden series, the Outcast Season series, the Revivalist series, and the Morganville Vampires series.
Praise for Ink and Bone
“Rachel Caine transports the reader to an imaginary future world where a Great Library controls all knowledge and the private ownership of printed books is a radical, dangerous practice…Ink and Bone launches a magical new series that will leave readers begging for more.”—Deborah Harkness, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
“Dark, riveting, heart-in-the-throat storytelling, with characters who caught me up and hold me even now. A don't-miss read!”—Tamora Pierce, New York Times Bestselling Author
“Caine’s elegantly detailed descriptions bring Jess’s world to vivid life in a fast-paced, action-oriented plot that will leave readers breathlessly anticipating not just the next page but the next book in the Great Library Series.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A thrill-a-minute adventure. . . This first entry into the Great Library series has pieces that mirror the excitement and bitterness of the Hunger Games series and contains some of the psychological elements of the Harry Potter books.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Fans will fall in love with Jess and want the next book out immediately.”—USA Today
“A strong cast of characters and nail-biting intensity make for a promising start to this series.”—School Library Journal
“A modern masterpiece. . . . Fellow bibliophiles, expect to be some variation on struck—awestruck, dumbstruck, starstruck, maybe even thunderstruck. . .a new series to thrill every bookworm’s heart!”—Christian Science Monitor
“Caine's world where books and libraries dominate is not for the faint of heart...What’s not to love? Imagine Harry Potter where the real magic is found within the pages of ancient texts. This book proves the adage that knowledge is power.”—RT Book Reviews (4 1/2 stars, Top Pick)
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This is a stunning collection of interlinked stories. Marra is one of about three living writers whose books (all of two now) consistently move me to tears. Even though he’s still at the beginning of his career, it is evident to this reader (and the staff at this store) that his narrative skills and stylistic grace will ultimately make him one of the most talented and distinguished American writers of his generation. His newest is a profound book -- a book to savor.— Nick
October 2015 Indie Next List
“A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is one of my favorite novels of the last several years, and now Marra follows that up with a dazzling set of linked stories set in Russia, Chechnya, and Siberia over a period of time spanning from the Russian Revolution to the modern day and beyond. As with his debut novel, what I love are the characters that he makes readers care so deeply about, as well as the fact that I constantly found myself wanting to know more about their lives and the history of their countries. Get on the Marra train now because one thing is certain: He is one of our brightest young talents writing today.”
— Cody Morrison (M), Square Books, Oxford, MS
From the New York Times bestselling author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena—dazzling, poignant, and lyrical interwoven stories about family, sacrifice, the legacy of war, and the redemptive power of art.
This stunning, exquisitely written collection introduces a cast of remarkable characters whose lives intersect in ways both life-affirming and heartbreaking. A 1930s Soviet censor painstakingly corrects offending photographs, deep underneath Leningrad, bewitched by the image of a disgraced prima ballerina. A chorus of women recount their stories and those of their grandmothers, former gulag prisoners who settled their Siberian mining town. Two pairs of brothers share a fierce, protective love. Young men across the former USSR face violence at home and in the military. And great sacrifices are made in the name of an oil landscape unremarkable except for the almost incomprehensibly peaceful past it depicts.
In stunning prose, with rich character portraits and a sense of history reverberating into the present, The Tsar of Love and Techno is a captivating work from one of our greatest new talents.
About the Author
ANTHONY MARRA is the author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (2013), which won the National Book Critics Circle’s inaugural John Leonard Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in fiction, the Barnes and Noble Discover Award, and appeared on over twenty year-end lists. Marra’s novel was a National Book Award long list selection as well as a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and France’s Prix Medicis. He received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where he teaches as the Jones Lecturer in Fiction. He has lived and studied in Eastern Europe, and now resides in Oakland, California. Visit http://anthonymarra.net/
American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Family Foundation Prize for Fiction, 2015
National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist in Fiction
Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Books of 2015
Praise for The Tsar of Love and Techno:
“[E]xtraordinary… Each story is a gem in itself. But the book is greater than its parts, an almost unbearably moving exploration of the importance of love, the pull of family, the uses and misuses of history, and the need to reclaim the past by understanding who you really are and what really happened…He starts this miracle of a book by showing us how a system can erase the past, the truth, even its citizens. He ends by demonstrating, through his courageous, flawed, deeply human characters, how individual people can restore the things that have been taken away. And if you’ve been worrying that you’ve lost your faith in the emotionally transformative power of fiction – Mr. Marra will restore that, too.”
-Sarah Lyall, The New York Times
“Remarkable…Marra is a gifted writer with the energy and the ambition to explore the lives of characters whose experiences and whose psyches might seem, until we read his work, so distant from our own. Reading his work is like watching the restoration — the reappearance, on the page — of those whom history has erased.”
-Francine Prose, Washington Post
“This book will burn itself into your heart. It’s a collection of interlocking short stories that stand alone but also fit together, piece by delicate piece, to form an astonishing whole whose artfulness becomes increasingly clear as it goes on. The Tsar of Love and Techno swoops around in time and place, beginning in Stalinist Russia and ending somewhere in outer space in the near future. It’s funny, moving and beautiful, the perfect thing to read.”
-New York Times
“Audacious… [an] ambitious and fearless [book], one that offers so much to enjoy and admire...Marra’s far-ranging, risky and explicitly political book marks him as a writer with an original, even singular sensibility.”
-New York Times Book Review
“Genius...what makes this (dare I say) masterpiece so stunning is Marra’s clear love for his subject and insistence on infusing beauty into even the darkest places…It’s nothing short of extraordinary.”
-San Francisco Chronicle
“Powerful…[an] ingenious book."
-Wall Street Journal
"Marra’s nine stories, cunningly set out like strewn mosaic tiles that keep self-rearranging until they cohere into a complex, cathartic whole, demand to be read in order...Marra here emerges with an oxygenizing wisdom and an arsenal of wit as inexhaustible as it is unlikely.”
“Dazzling… with its multiple narratives and recurring characters it certainly recalls both Jennifer Egan's "A Visit From the Goon Squad" (a novel) and Elizabeth Strout's "Olive Kitteridge"(short stories). By the time you reach Marra's astonishing final story about Kolya, "The End" — set, a dateline tells us, in "Outer Space, Year Unknown" — the book has achieved a heart-rending cumulative power.”
-Tom Beer, Newsday
“Like Nabokov, Marra is a writer for whom essential truths are found in detail… The nine interlocking stories grip from the off with their dry tone and meticulously realised worlds of totalitarian life and its aftermath. Characters appear, disappear and reappear throughout the collection, graceful as a troupe of dancers in the author’s assured hands.… His stories have subtle nods to the Russian greats (Chekhov’s gun, the lady with the lapdog) and more overt echoes of the writing of Kafka and Orwell in the tales of totalitarian living.”
-The Irish Times
"Private acts of dissidence (a smuggled mix tape, say) become heroic in Anthony Marra's era-spanning portrait of the USSR."
-Megan O'Grady, Vogue
“Cobbled together as a sort of mixtape itself (with four stories under “Side A,” four under “Side B,” and a single-story intermission), Marra’s latest work is tender, touching, haunting at times and humorous at others—in short, a feat.”
-Thomas Harlander, Los Angeles Magazine
“The Tsar of Love and Techno is inventively structured, emotionally resonant, superbly rendered.”
-Jane Ciabattari, BBC.com
“The Tsar of Love and Techno is an intricately structured and powerful collection[and] showcases Marra’s wit and his gift for unforgettable details…The Tsar of Love and Techno is the work of an elegant and generous writer.”
"Some books are love at first read, and this is one of them. Anthony Marra, author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, delivers his first collection of intimately tied stories (it kind of reads as a novel, actually), arranged into Side A and B and Intermission. With language as precise as a razor blade, Tsartakes us throughout Russia from 1937 to the present with a connected group of characters who, through their explosive escapades, demonstrate the peculiarities and nuances of life. It has everything: humor, action, suspense, drama — I'm going to go ahead and call it brilliant."
-Meredith Turits, Bustle.com
"Marra, in between bursts of acidic humor, summons the terror, polluted landscapes, and diminished hopes of generations of Russians in a tragic and haunting collection."
"With generosity of spirit and a surprising dash of humor, these artfully woven narratives coalesce into a majestic whole."
-Library Journal (starred)
“Powerful…strikingly reimagines a nearly a century of changes in Russia. [T]he book’s brilliance and humor are laced with the somber feeling that the country is allergic to evolution."
-Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“As in his acclaimed novel, Marra finds in Chechnya an inspiration for his uniquely funny, tragic, bizarre, and memorable fiction.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred)
"Love and betrayal reverberate through these nine deftly linked stories... With this collection, Marra has created a stunning portrait of a place and its indelible inhabitants."
-Dawn Raffel, More
“We know we are in the realm of fiction, but Marra makes it all feel viscerally real. He has mined modern Russian history for all it is worth to create a masterful novel.”
-Russian Life Magazine
“Treat yourself to these wise works of art set in Siberia, the USSR, and the heart.”
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In her groundbreaking history of the class system in America, what The New York Times hails as "formidable and truth-dealing," Nancy Isenberg takes on our comforting myths about equality, uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing if occasionally entertaining poor white trash.— From White Trash The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America
The New York Times bestseller
A New York Times Notable and Critics’ Top Book of 2016
Longlisted for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction
One of NPR's 10 Best Books Of 2016 Faced Tough Topics Head On
NPR's Book Concierge Guide To 2016’s Great Reads
San Francisco Chronicle's Best of 2016: 100 recommended books
A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2016
Globe & Mail 100 Best of 2016
“Formidable and truth-dealing . . . necessary.” —The New York Times
“This eye-opening investigation into our country’s entrenched social hierarchy is acutely relevant.” —O Magazine
In her groundbreaking bestselling history of the class system in America, Nancy Isenberg upends history as we know it by taking on our comforting myths about equality and uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing—if occasionally entertaining—poor white trash.
“When you turn an election into a three-ring circus, there’s always a chance that the dancing bear will win,” says Isenberg of the political climate surrounding Sarah Palin. And we recognize how right she is today. Yet the voters who boosted Trump all the way to the White House have been a permanent part of our American fabric, argues Isenberg.
The wretched and landless poor have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement to today's hillbillies. They were alternately known as “waste people,” “offals,” “rubbish,” “lazy lubbers,” and “crackers.” By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called “clay eaters” and “sandhillers,” known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds.
Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over four hundred years, Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. Reconstruction pitted poor white trash against newly freed slaves, which factored in the rise of eugenics–-a widely popular movement embraced by Theodore Roosevelt that targeted poor whites for sterilization. These poor were at the heart of New Deal reforms and LBJ’s Great Society; they haunt us in reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty. Marginalized as a class, white trash have always been at or near the center of major political debates over the character of the American identity.
We acknowledge racial injustice as an ugly stain on our nation’s history. With Isenberg’s landmark book, we will have to face the truth about the enduring, malevolent nature of class as well.
About the Author
Nancy Isenberg is the author of Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr, which was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize in Biography and won the Oklahoma Book Award for best book in Nonfiction. She is the coauthor, with Andrew Burstein, of Madison and Jefferson. She is the T. Harry Williams Professor of American History at LSU, and writes regularly for Salon.com. Isenberg is the winner of the 2016 Walter & Lillian Lowenfels Criticism Award from the Before Columbus Foundation and was #4 on the 2016 Politico 50 list. She lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Charlottesville, Virginia.
“Formidable and truth-dealing…necessary.” – The New York Times
“This eye-opening investigation into our country’s entrenched social hierarchy is acutely relevant.” –O Magazine
“A gritty and sprawling assault on…American mythmaking.” —Washington Post
“An eloquent synthesis of the country’s history of class stratification.” –The Boston Globe
“A bracing reminder of the persistent contempt for the white underclass.” –The Atlantic
“[White Trash] sheds bright light on a long history of demagogic national politicking, beginning with Jackson. It makes Donald Trump seem far less unprecedented than today’s pundits proclaim.”—Slate
“Isenberg . . . has written an important call for Americans to treat class with the same care that they now treat race…Her work may well help that focus lead to progress.” —TIME
“With her strong academic background and accessible voice, Isenberg takes pains to reveal classism’s deep-seated roots.”–Entertainment Weekly
“Carefully researched…deeply relevant.” –Christian Science Monitor
Coverage from NPR
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In our technology-driven, workaday world, connecting with nature has never before been more essential. A Wilder Life, a beautiful oversized lifestyle book by the team behind the popular Wilder Quarterly, gives readers indispensable ideas for interacting with the great outdoors. Learn to plant a night-blooming garden, navigate by reading the stars, build an outdoor shelter, make dry shampoo, identify insects, cultivate butterflies in a backyard, or tint your clothes with natural dyes. Like a modern-day Whole Earth Catalog, A Wilder Life gives us DIY projects and old-world skills that are being reclaimed by a new generation. Divided into sections pertaining to each season and covering self-reliance, growing and gardening, cooking, health and beauty, and wilderness, and with photos and illustrations evocative of the great outdoors, A Wilder Life shows that getting in touch with nature is possible no matter who you are and—more important—where you are.
About the Author
Celestine Maddy is the founder and publisher of Wilder Quarterly. She was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business for 2012 and is also a Cannes Lion winner. Before founding Wilder Quarterly, Maddy was the director of emerging media at the global agency StrawberryFrog. She lives in San Francisco, where she is currently VP of marketing at Reddit.
Abbye Churchill is the editorial director of Wilder. She is also a writer, artist, and herbalist living in Chicago who spends her free time traveling the world in search of unique natural experiences.
“The new book that’s becoming our natural beauty obsession. . . . It’s a comprehensive, coffee table–worthy, DIY project–packed manual for enjoying all four seasons through interaction with nature—including recipes (foraged elderflower champagne! Pumpkin butter!), gardening and home tips. . . . It’s also a particularly good resource for natural-beauty buffs.”
“Wander through the pages of A Wilder Life in awe and appreciation. . . . [The book] urges readers to garden with a purpose—to stew, brew, can and pot. . . . . Nature isn’t just a screen saver. It’s a soul saver.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Will smarten up any side table.”
“A beautiful, informative, thoughtful compilation of facts, recipes, DIY instructions, and more—a book designed to put you a little more in touch with nature and a lot more in touch with yourself.”
—Organic Lifestyle Magazine
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“My work piles up,
I falter with disease.
Time rushes toward me --
It has no brakes. Still,
The radishes are good this year.
Run them through butter,
Add a little salt.”
-- A poem from Dead Man’s Float
He never lost it. We’ll miss you Jim, you old crow. -- Nick— From Dead Man's Float
Jim Harrison's final book of poems, published only a few months before his death
" Jim Harrison] is still close to the source...Dead Man's Float is, as its title would suggest, a flinty and psalmist look at mortality and wonder."--Los Angeles Times
"Mr. Harrison's novels and poems over the last two decades have been increasingly preoccupied with mortality, never so much as in Dead Man's Float, his very good new book of verse. Here he details the shocks of shingles and back surgery, as well as the comprehensive low wheeze of a fraying body... The joys in Mr. Harrison's world have remained consistent. If sex is less frequently an option, his appetites for food and the outdoors are undiminished. In one poem, he goes out into a rainstorm at night and sits naked at a picnic table. In another, he writes: 'I envied the dog lying in the yard/so I did it.'... The title of this volume, Dead Man's Float, refers to a way to stay alive in the water when one has grown tired while far from shore. As a poet, however, Mr. Harrison is not passively drifting. He remains committed to language, and to what pleasures he can catch."--Dwight Garner, The New York Times
"Few enough are the books I decide to keep beyond a culling or two. Barring fire or flood, Dead Man's Float will be in my library for the rest of my life. If it's the last poetry collection we get from Harrison--and I hope it isn't--it is as fine an example of his efforts as any."--Missoula Independent
"Harrison's poems succeed on the basis of an open heart and a still-ravenous appetite for life."--The Texas Observer
"Forthright and unaffected, even brash, Harrison always scoops us straight into the world whether writing fiction or nonfiction and] goes in deep, acknowledging our frailness even as he seamlessly connects with a world that moves from water to air to the sky beyond."--Library Journal
"Harrison pours himself into everything he writes... in poems, you do meet Harrison head-on. As he navigates his seventies, he continues to marvel with succinct awe and earthy lyricism over the wonders of birds, dogs, and stars as he pays haunting homage to his dead and contends with age's assaults. The sagely mischievous poet of the North Woods and the Arizona desert laughs at himself as he tries to relax by imagining that he's doing the dead man's float only to sink into troubling memories...Bracingly candid, gracefully elegiac, tough, and passionate, Harrison travels the deep river of the spirit, from the wailing precincts of a hospital to a "green glade of soft marsh grass near a pool in a creek" to the moon-bright sea."--Donna Seaman, Booklist
"Jim Harrison has been a remarkably productive writer across a multitude of genres... His poetry is earthy, witty, keenly observed and tied closely to the natural world and] mortality looms large in Dead Man's Float, his 14th collection of poems... F]orceful, lucid, fearlessly honest, Harrison knows that the nearness of death intensifies life."--Arlice Davenport, Wichita Daily Eagle
This year we have two gorgeous
yellow warblers nesting in the honeysuckle bush.
The other day I stuck my head in the bush.
The nestlings weigh one twentieth of an ounce,
about the size of a honeybee. We stared at
each other, startled by our existence.
In a month or so, when they reach the size
of bumblebees they'll fly to Costa Rica without a map.
Jim Harrison (1937-2016) was one of America's most versatile and celebrated writers.
About the Author
Jim Harrison: Jim Harrison, one of America's most versatile and celebrated writers, is the author of over thirty books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction--including Legends of the Fall, the acclaimed trilogy of novellas, and The Shape of the Journey: New and Collected Poems. His books have been translated into two dozen languages, and in 2007 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. With a fondness for open space and anonymous thickets, he divides his time between Montana and southern Arizona.
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“I, too, dislike it…”
Rare is the piece of literary criticism that is both intelligent and actually f*cking useful to the lay reader. Even the most casual fan of verse will enjoy Lerner’s essay on his vocation. In examining its many contradictions, he arrives at a highly enjoyable assessment of its majesty. -- Nick— From The Hatred of Poetry
No art has been denounced as often as poetry. It's even bemoaned by poets: "I, too, dislike it," wrote Marianne Moore. "Many more people agree they hate poetry," Ben Lerner writes, "than can agree what poetry is. I, too, dislike it and have largely organized my life around it and do not experience that as a contradiction because poetry and the hatred of poetry are inextricable in ways it is my purpose to explore."
In this inventive and lucid essay, Lerner takes the hatred of poetry as the starting point of his defense of the art. He examines poetry's greatest haters (beginning with Plato's famous claim that an ideal city had no place for poets, who would only corrupt and mislead the young) and both its greatest and worst practitioners, providing inspired close readings of Keats, Dickinson, McGonagall, Whitman, and others. Throughout, he attempts to explain the noble failure at the heart of every truly great and truly horrible poem: the impulse to launch the experience of an individual into a timeless communal existence. In The Hatred of Poetry, Lerner has crafted an entertaining, personal, and entirely original examination of a vocation no less essential for being impossible.
About the Author
Ben Lerner was born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1979. He has received fellowships from the Fulbright, Guggenheim, Howard, and MacArthur Foundations. His first novel, Leaving the Atocha Station, won the 2012 Believer Book Award, and excerpts from 10:04 have been awarded The Paris Review's Terry Southern Prize. He has published three poetry collections: The Lichtenberg Figures, Angle of Yaw (a finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry), and Mean Free Path. Lerner is a professor of English at Brooklyn College.
Praise for The Hatred of Poetry:
“Loathing rains down on poetry, from people who have never read a page of it as well as from people who have devoted their lives to reading and writing it . . . Mr. Lerner skates across this frozen lake of pique with delicate skill . . . The book achieves its goal in the most circuitous of ways: by its (lovely) last sentence, Mr. Lerner might get you longing for the satisfactions of the thing you’re conditioned to loathe.” —Jeff Gordinier, New York Times
“The Hatred of Poetry does a brilliant job showing how poets ‘strategically disappoint’ our assumptions about what the medium should do . . . Engaging . . . Superbly written . . . [Lerner’s] granular, giddy analysis of Scottish bard William Topaz McGonagall, ‘widely acclaimed as the worst poet in history,’ fascinates as the negative expression of a Parnassian ideal. It’s also comedic gold.”
—Katy Waldman, Slate
“The Hatred of Poetry is one of the best denunciations of the genre of lyric poetry I have read—and one of the more intriguing defenses . . . it offers two for the price of one, and this is its insight.”
—Meghan O’Rourke, Bookforum
“Lerner is a fine critic, with a lucid style and quicksilver mind . . . But perhaps most remarkable is just how entertaining, how witty and passionate and funny, The Hatred of Poetry is . . . Reading it is less like overhearing a professor’s lecture than like listening to a professor entertain a crowd of students over pints after class.”
—Anthony Domestico, The Christian Science Monitor
“Lerner is able to trace not just the many roots and motivations of the collective disdain for poetry (from Plato first defriending it, to the Italian Futurists trying to explode it), but also its function as a crucial fuel to push it forward.”
—Michael Andor Brodeur, The Boston Globe
“An important essay . . . it doubles as a self-conscious ars poetica from a major American writer.”
—Jonathon Sturgeon, Flavorwire
“With this book-length essay, novelist and poet Lerner demonstrates that hating on poetry is reserved not only for critics—it is also the national pastime of poets.”
—Jeremy Spencer, Library Journal
“Mr. Lerner’s essay becomes most interesting when he ventures into more contemporary territory, attacking with polemic zeal what he sees as confused critical assaults on modern poetry . . . Mr. Lerner shows if we constantly think poetry is an embarrassing failure, then that means that we still, somewhere, have faith that it can succeed.”
“Perhaps The Hatred of Poetry is most compelling when reflecting on how poetry shapes our childhoods. Adults are eager, Lerner asserts, to return to that time of nursery rhymes, when language was rich in possibility, when meaning was still something to be discovered.”
—Ben Purkert, The Rumpus
"In lucid and luminous prose, poet and novelist Lerner (10:04) explores why many people share his aversion to poetry, which he attributes, paradoxically, to the deeply held belief that poetry ought to have tremendous cultural value. . . Lerner’s brief, elegant treatise on what poetry might do and why readers might need it is the perfect length for a commute or a classroom assignment, clearing a space for both private contemplation and lively discussion." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Lerner argues with the tenacity and the wildness of the vital writer and critic that he is. Each sentence of The Hatred of Poetry vibrates with uncommon and graceful lucidity; each page brings the deep pleasures of crisp thought, especially the kind that remains devoted to complexity rather than to its diminishment." —Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts
Praise for Ben Lerner:
"Just how many singular reading experiences can one novelist serve up? . . . Lerner obviously loves playing with language, stretching sentences out, folding them in on themselves, and making readers laugh out loud with the unexpected turns his paragraphs take . . . Let Lerner's language sweep you off your feet." —NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, Maureen Corrigan
"This is only Lerner's second novel (and he is only thirty-five), and yet to talk about mere 'promise,' as is customary with the young, seems insufficient. Even if he writes nothing else for the rest of his life, this is a book that belongs to the future." —Giles Harvey, The New York Review of Books
"Reading Ben Lerner gives me the tingle at the base of my spine that happens whenever I encounter a writer of true originality. He is a courageous, immensely intelligent artist who panders to no one and yet is a delight to read." —Jeffrey Eugenides, author of The Marriage Plot
"Ben Lerner is a novelist, poetry, and critic exploring the contemporary relevance of art and the artist to modern culture with humor, compassion, and intelligence . . . Lerner makes seamless shifts between fiction and nonfiction, prose and lyric verse, memoir and cultural criticism, conveying the way in which politics, art, and economics intertwine with everyday experience."
—The MacArthur Foundation - 2016 Fellowship citation
"One of the most important American writers to emerge in the new century." —Dan Katz, Textual Practice
Praise for 10:04:
“Just how many singular reading experiences can one novelist serve up? . . . 10:04 is a mind-blowing book; . . . Lerner obviously loves playing with language, stretching sentences out, folding them in on themselves, and making readers laugh out loud with the unexpected turns his paragraphs take . . . 10:04 is a strange and spectacular novel. Don't even worry about classifying it; just let Lerner's language sweep you off your feet.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross
“Ingenious . . . Lerner packs so much brilliance and humor into each episode. . . . This brain-tickling book imbues real experiences with a feeling of artistic possibility, leaving the observable world ‘a little changed, a little charged'.” —Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal
“What is 10:04 by Ben Lerner? It is a book for people who like great writing--"great," here, meaning frequently brilliant, electrically hyper-conscious, extravagantly verbose, aggressively sesquipedalian throw-the-book-across-the-room-in-despair-that-you-will-never-invent-that-metaphor-because-he-just-did writing . . . Nothing much happens, except for writing. But let me tell you: The writing happens.” —Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, "Best Book I Read This Year"
“[10:04] is a beautiful and original novel . . . it signals a new direction in American fiction, perhaps a fertile one.” —Christian Lorentzen, Bookforum
“[Lerner's] concerns wrap around the modern moment with terrifying rightness . . . 10:04 describes what it feels like to be alive.” —John Freeman, The Boston Globe
“Lerner is talented at noticing his mind's feints and twitches, and thereby making the quotidian engaging . . . As I read 10:04 I began to feel life itself take on the numinous significance, the seriousness, or art.” —Gabriel Roth, The Slate Book Review
“Lerner, with his keen poetic eye, manages to fill 10:04 with deft, breathtaking observations and possibilities . . . If indeed, as many postmodern critics tell us, there is no longer the prospect of the certified masterpiece or the Great American Novel, Lerner has created a meaningful substitute: a thinking text for our time.” —Christopher Bollen, Interview
“The boundaries between 10:04 and real life are porous, and it's exciting. But none of it would matter if it weren't for Lerner's excellent prose, which is galloping yet precise, his humorous, complex scene-settings (including one of the best extended party scenes I have ever read), his charming obsessions, and poingnant world-view.” —Halimah Marcus, Electric Literature
“10:04, with its slippery relationship between narrator and author, its beautifully wrought sentences, and its intricate network of leitmotifs, allusions, and recurring phrases--from a jar of instant coffee to time travel, to the speech Ronald Reagan gave after the Challenger exploded--demonstrates the pleasures and insights . . . literariness can still afford.” —Daniel Hack, Public Books
“Lerner writes rich, ruminative fiction . . . Like Whitman, and like W. G. Seabld and Teju Cole, Ben Lerner is a courageous chronicler of meditative ambulation, of the mind reflecting on its own vibrant thinking processes before they congeal into inert thoughts.” —Steven G. Kellman, San Francisco Chronicle
“Frequently brilliant . . . Lerner writes with a poet's attention to language.” —Hari Kunzru, The New York Times Book Review
“Lerner's perceptiveness makes his writing not only engaging but funny . . . Ben Lerner tells a story that moves and provokes.” —Maddie Crum, The Huffington Post
“Reading Ben Lerner gives me the tingle at the base of my spine that happens whenever I encounter a writer of true originality. He is a courageous, immensely intelligent artist who panders to no one and yet is a delight to read. Anyone interested in serious contemporary literature should read Ben Lerner, and 10:04 is the perfect place to start.” —Jeffrey Eugenides, author of The Marriage Plot
“Ben Lerner is a brilliant novelist, and one unafraid to make of the novel something truly new. 10:04 is a work of endless wit, pleasure, relevance, and vitality.” —Rachel Kushner, author of The Flamethrowers
Praise for Leaving the Atocha Station
“A work so luminously original in style and form as to seem like a premonition, a comet from the future.” —Geoff Dyer, The Observer on Leaving the Atocha Station
“Lerner's writing [is] beautiful, funny, and revelatory.” —Deb Olin Unferth, Bookforum on Leaving the Atocha Station
“[A] subtle, sinuous, and very funny first novel . . . There are wonderful sentences and jokes on almost every page.” —James Wood, The New Yorker on Leaving the Atocha Station
“One of the funniest (and truest) novels . . . by a writer of his generation.” —Lorin Stein, The New York Review of Books on Leaving the Atocha Station
“Flip, hip, smart, and very funny . . . Reading it was unlike any other novel-reading experience I've had for a long time.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross on Leaving the Atocha Station
“Remarkable . . . a bildungsroman and meditation and slacker tale fused by a precise, reflective and darkly comic voice.” —Gary Sernovitz, The New York Times Book Review on Leaving the Atocha Station
“The overall narrative is structured round [these] subtle, delicate moments: performances, as Adam would call them, of intense experience. They're comic in that obviously, Adam is an appalling poseur. But they're also beautiful and touching and precise.” —Jenny Turner, The Guardian on Leaving the Atocha Station
“Leaving the Atocha Station is a marvelous novel, not least because of the magical way that it reverses the postmodernist spell, transmuting a fraudulent figure into a fully dimensional and compelling character.” —Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal on Leaving the Atocha Station
“An extraordinary novel about the intersections of art and reality in contemporary life.” —John Ashbery on Leaving the Atocha Station
“Utterly charming. Lerner's self-hating, lying, overmedicated, brilliant fool of a hero is a memorable character, and his voice speaks with a music distinctly and hilariously all his own.” —Paul Auster on Leaving the Atocha Station
“Last night I started Ben Lerner's novel Leaving the Atocha Station. By page three it was clear I was either staying up all night or putting the novel away until the weekend. I'm still angry with myself for having slept.” —Stacy Schiff on Leaving the Atocha Station
“A character-driven ‘page-turner' and a concisely definitive study of the ‘actual' versus the ‘virtual' as applied to relationships, language, poetry, experience.” —Tao Lin, The Believer on Leaving the Atocha Station
“Ben Lerner's Leaving the Atocha Station is a slightly deranged, philosophically inclined monologue in the Continental tradition running from Büchner's Lenz to Thomas Bernhard and Javier Marías. The adoption of this mode by a young American narrator--solipsistic, overmedicated, feckless yet ambitious--ends up feeling like the most natural thing in the world.” —Benjamin Kunkel, New Statesman's Books of the Year 2011 on Leaving the Atocha Station
Praise for Lichtenberg Figures
"[A] funny, nervy volume."—The New York Times Book Review
"Charged with wit and abstraction... An impressive debut."—Library Journal
"Like the intricate patterns of 'captured lightning' to which the book's title refers, the poems in Ben Lerner's The Lichtenberg Figures make their mark in bursts of invention and surprise. The languages of critical theory and television collide, often with titillating and telling results: startling, gnomic ingots are scattered throughout; clichés are ripped apart and reassembled fresh and strange. While each of the poems in the book-length sequence is composed of 14 lines, the governing unit is less the sonnet than the sentence, and Lerner spring-loads one after another in order to deliver his splendidly calibrated punch... This debut is sharp, ambitious and impressive."—Boston Review
"Each [Lerner] sonnet [is] a nuclear explosion in a thimble."—New Orleans Gambit Weekly, Top 10 Books of 2004
"One of poetry's achievements, if it's lucky, is to forge connections among neurons by creating new pathways, memorable patterns, and compelling figures. The Lichtenberg Figures is lucky. And skillful. And, especially for a first volume, brilliant in its flashes."—Rain Taxi
"We have here a twenty-four-year-old poet whose ludic genius is unintimidated by the ludicrous. He romps in the English language, sometimes shooting down cliché after cliché through syllepsis such as we haven't seen since Alexander Pope."—Beloit Poetry Journal
"The Lichtenberg Figures, Ben Lerner's first book, is a series of brilliantly contrived poetic crash tests... The Lichtenberg Figures is at once highly literary and highly personal, formally subtle and shockingly frank. Dark, hilarious, obscene—it is a reading experience nearly impossible to forget. And the book's exploration of the very possibility of forgetting is one of its notable accomplishments... The most memorable part of this audacious and accomplished first book might be its exploration of memory itself."—New Orleans Review
"Lerner captures the surreality of modern culture better than anyone... The beauty of language and image reminds us why we crave this vision."—Pleiades
"Ben Lerner's brilliance has a toothy gleam. Indeed that’s the only reason to read this book. That, and... that it’s also very funny... This brash young voice [spins] literary talk back on itself, spoofing it all to smithereens.”—Poetry Flash
Praise for Angle of Yaw
"The poems in Angle of Yaw compact layers of thought into a language of emergency. The juxtapositions are as striking as they are in commercial media except the upshot is to exacerbate instead of conceal differences. The words are not easy on the ear, but the pressure to listen is unmistakable. The sights are not welcome to the eye, as it is our ‘radical emotional incapacitation’ being shown. Violence absorbs the background. No offhanded commentary, no prophesies, no reassurances are given here. Instead, a sane voice orbiting the failed authority of a culture. Instead, the radiant sanity of dissent." —National Book Award judges' citation
"Employing the language of aphorism, advertising, parable, personal essay, political tirade, journalism and journal, the collage-like poems of Lerner's second collection express the ennui of American life in an era when even war feels like a television event. Two sequences of untitled prose poems weave public and private discourse, yielding often absurd yet frighteningly accurate observations... this collection places Lerner among the most promising young poets now writing” —Publishers Weekly
"[Lerner's] prose poems can dazzle; they achieve reciprocity between theory and poetry, enlisting and rewarding a reader who wants a crack at critiquing our cultural codes."—Book Forum
"Lerner's second book, Angle of Yaw, is a stunner... I have spent a good week, a very good week, re-reading and mining this remarkable volume, but I... don't expect to exhaust its riches."—Beloit Poetry Journal
"Lerner's free verse flows easily from a personally logical structure into publicly proclaimed metaphysic. Words become vehicles to launch the reader into an alternate consciousness... The modern world provides Lerner with countless opportunities to search out mankind's psyche with the clinical scalpel of prose poetry."—Home News Tribune
Praise for Mean Free Path
"Lerner seems to have engineered a form that enacts a balance between the recuperative and the mournful, a kind of hobbling of thought and sentiment whereby he invites a phrase into the poem only to have enjambment cut off the engagement before it is fully expressed. Often the phrase will reverberate in later lines and stanzas, a kind of poetic afterlife or Doppler effect."—Boston Review
"[Lerner's new book] is sure to be among the best collections published in 2010. The world of Mean Free Path is fragmented and recursive... The poems are charged with the full force of Lerner's monumental talent, which begins with the finely chiseled line and extends to the architecture of the book entire. Images and phrases suddenly break off, disappear, and then later resurface in new contexts, colliding with or collapsing into one another, recombining to make themselves and the whole world new again, albeit through a process that bears an uncanny (and unsettling) resemblance to endlessly flipping through TV channels in the deep ditch of insomniac night."— Poetry Foundation
“In his third collection, [Ben Lerner] continues and deepens his exploration of how contemporary mass culture taints language, testing the border where words transition from expressing real feeling to being so overused they mean almost nothing... Lerner keeps refining his techniques and remains a younger poet whose work deserves attention.”—Publishers Weekly
"Lerner maintains a continuity of voice that proposes a flexible integrity of being that is formed by, and exists through, interruption and collision. Gaps, stutters, and redirections do not interrupt us, they constitute what we are."—The Constant Critic
"Lerner seeks to deliver an experience of simultaneity, interruption and disjunction throughout [Mean Free Path]."—Fanzine