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The Verificationist

by

The Verificationist Cover

 

Staff Pick

"Donald Antrim's novels are smart, surreal, deliciously neurotic, and hilariously funny. Based on his first two, The New Yorker crowned him one of 'The 20 Writers for the 21st Century.' In The Verificationist, his latest (and the one that will likely introduce him to a wide popular audience), a group of psychologists gather in a pancake house. The Wall Street Journal raved, 'Mr. Antrim is the Buster Keaton of current American literature. This book is an elaborate stunt, pulled off with a perfect dead-pan expression.'"
Recommended by Dave, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

With The Verificationist, Donald Antrim, acclaimed author of The Hundred Brothers, confirms his place as one of America's strangest and fiercely intelligent young writers.

One April night, a group of psychologists from the Krakower Institute meet at a pancake house, where they order breakfast foods and engage in shop talk and the occasional flirtation. At the center of this maelstrom of pyschobabble and unrequited lust sits Tom, program coordinator for the Young Women of Strength, who has been known to sob uncontrollably at meetings. When Tom tries to initiate a food fight, a rival psychologist bear hugs him into submission, resulting in an out-of-body experience that leaves our Tom hovering over his colleagues. In the hands of Donald Antrim, this unique perspective becomes an exuberantly funny riff on our culture that does nothing less than expose the core of emotions underlying the most basic of human needs.

Review:

"The guy has nailed me with his deadpan. Not since the late Donald Barthelme have we had such a pitch-perfect surrealizing of domestic American life, and given the already surreal nature of that life, this is saying something.... Antrim's art is to render the uncanny as if it were the canny. The confessional matter-of-factness of Tom's voice plays beautifully against the preposterous scenario.... A high-altitude view of therapists, sure. One man's existential self-confrontation, okay. More interesting to contemplate, though, is the tension of improbability that Antrim creates ... how vivid he makes that arguably near-universal split between vulnerable inwardness and the utterly implausible momentum of the outer world." Sven Birkerts, Esquire

Review:

"Donald Antrim is in top form with this high-spirited hallucination, whose characters, undeniably ourselves, carry on engagingly and shamelessly, in an off-the-wall, not to mention off-the-ceiling, environment that is also the world we know, and sometimes wish we didn't." Thomas Pynchon

Review:

"Antrim is that rarest of birds, a virtuoso satirist. In The Verificationist he plays the banal against the grotesque, sets a fool's reductionist logic grinding like a tiny wheel against the ceiling of a pancake house, finally opens the exit to the void. Antrim's extraordinary imagination has invited comparison of his work with that of Italo Calvino, but Antrim has a sharper razor, a diamond eye drilling our culture and time. In Antrim's pinball machine the reader ricochets from intellectual pleasure to anxiety to nervous laughter." Annie Proulx

About the Author

Donald Antrim is the author of three novels, Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World, The Hundred Brothers and The Verificationist. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780679769439
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Antrim, Donald
Publisher:
Vintage
Location:
New York
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Humorous
Subject:
Psychotherapists
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage Contemporaries
Series Volume:
106-852
Publication Date:
20010327
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
192
Dimensions:
8.00x5.21x.54 in. .48 lbs.

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Verificationist Used Trade Paper
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Product details 192 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780679769439 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

"Donald Antrim's novels are smart, surreal, deliciously neurotic, and hilariously funny. Based on his first two, The New Yorker crowned him one of 'The 20 Writers for the 21st Century.' In The Verificationist, his latest (and the one that will likely introduce him to a wide popular audience), a group of psychologists gather in a pancake house. The Wall Street Journal raved, 'Mr. Antrim is the Buster Keaton of current American literature. This book is an elaborate stunt, pulled off with a perfect dead-pan expression.'"

"Review" by , "The guy has nailed me with his deadpan. Not since the late Donald Barthelme have we had such a pitch-perfect surrealizing of domestic American life, and given the already surreal nature of that life, this is saying something.... Antrim's art is to render the uncanny as if it were the canny. The confessional matter-of-factness of Tom's voice plays beautifully against the preposterous scenario.... A high-altitude view of therapists, sure. One man's existential self-confrontation, okay. More interesting to contemplate, though, is the tension of improbability that Antrim creates ... how vivid he makes that arguably near-universal split between vulnerable inwardness and the utterly implausible momentum of the outer world."
"Review" by , "Donald Antrim is in top form with this high-spirited hallucination, whose characters, undeniably ourselves, carry on engagingly and shamelessly, in an off-the-wall, not to mention off-the-ceiling, environment that is also the world we know, and sometimes wish we didn't."
"Review" by , "Antrim is that rarest of birds, a virtuoso satirist. In The Verificationist he plays the banal against the grotesque, sets a fool's reductionist logic grinding like a tiny wheel against the ceiling of a pancake house, finally opens the exit to the void. Antrim's extraordinary imagination has invited comparison of his work with that of Italo Calvino, but Antrim has a sharper razor, a diamond eye drilling our culture and time. In Antrim's pinball machine the reader ricochets from intellectual pleasure to anxiety to nervous laughter."
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