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Flatscreenby Adam Wilson
Synopses & Reviews
Flatscreen tells the story of Eli Schwartz as he endures the loss of his home, the indifference of his parents, the success of his older brother, and the cruel and frequent dismissal of the opposite sex. He is a loser par excellence—pasty, soft, and high—who struggles to become a new person in a world where nothing is new.
Into this scene of apathy rolls Seymour J. Kahn. Former star of the small screen and current paraplegic sex addict, Kahn has purchased Elis old family home. The two begin a dangerous friendship, one that distracts from their circumstances but speeds their descent into utter debasement and, inevitably, YouTube stardom.
By storys end, through unlikely acts of courage and kindness, roles will be reversed, reputations resurrected, and charges (hopefully) dropped. Adam Wilson writes mischief that moves the heart, and Flatscreen marks the wondrous debut of a truth-telling comic voice.
"Well past high school and still living off the 'Daddy Guilt Fund,' Eli Schwartz, the narrator of this rollicking debut novel, is the classic couch-bound failure-to-launch whiling away his 20s 'denying real time, like an anthropologist attempting to study a distant, extinct species, wondering what went wrong.' Eli's simple passions — pop culture, cooking, and watching the Food Network — render his life a pleasant stupor suddenly interrupted when his mother sells the house to one 'Seymour J. Kahn: actor, cripple.' The once accomplished and beloved but now elderly and wheelchair-bound Seymour acts as a time-lapsed version of Eli ('I recognize my own kind,' he says upon meeting him). And under the old man's terrible tutelage, Eli awakens to a wholly incongruous lifestyle of hillbilly heroin and gunplay. Comedy and pathos abound in Seymour's absurdist world, and in Eli's fantasies of a better life that come in the form of hilariously familiar cinematic scenarios in which, for instance, the screwup becomes the star chef. Fans of Jack Pendarvis and Sam Lipsyte will enjoy Wilson's fresh, fantastical perspective and the ways in which his vessel, Eli, proves too wry to allow the cliches to play out. Agent: Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"OMFG, I nearly up and died from laughter when I read Flatscreen. This is the novel that every young turk will be reading on their way to a job they hate and are in fact too smart for." Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story
"Adam Wilson is a gutsy, funny, and often beautiful writer, and Flatscreen is one of the most hilarious and commanding debuts I've read in a long time." Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask
"Flatscreen is a bleakly funny and totally outrageous debut from an exciting new writer. Adam Wilson has written the slacker novel to end all slacker novels." Tom Perrotta, author of The Leftovers
"Flatscreen is the sort of novel we've heard nobody is able to write anymore: erudite and hilarious, raunchy and topical, and flat-out fun. Nicholson Baker meets Barthleme with a dash of Nabokov....[B]uy this altogether magical book." Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life
"Adam Wilson struts into that dark destination of post-high-school misery and emerges with a story full of energy and hilarity and emotion. What a great read!" Deb Olin Unferth, author of Vacation and Revolution
"Adam Wilson delivers rapid fire prose that is distinctively intelligent, hilarious, artful, and perverse. While never failing to entertain, Flatscreen stealthily exposes the psychic abyss that haunts every fit of laughter. A dark jewel of a book." Heidi Julavits, author of The Uses of Enchantment and The Effect of Living Backwards
"A frequently funny subversion of the coming-of-age story...the voice is strong and the characters indelible..." Kirkus Reviews
"Five things we emphatically endorse this month...a laugh-out-loud literary debut ..." Details
"If you smashed The Catcher in the Rye into Jesus' Son, you might have something quite close to Flatscreen, a narrative of wayward youth for our beguiled new century on the brink of a discovery we might not welcome." BookForum
"Comic novelist Adam Wilson makes his swaggering debut in Flatscreen." Vanity Fair
"Eli's narration in Flatscreen is darkly funny...'B'" Entertainment Weekly
"Wilson gives us something depressingly hilarious and undeniably real....Low-level angst is still angst, and Wilson captures it perfectly." Time Out New York
"Despite a veneer of the ironic and snarky, the novel offers a foundation of genuine caring, affection, andyeslove. An auspicious debut that promises, in Wilson, a standout addition to a new generation of writers." Booklist (Starred Review)
About the Author
Adam Wilson is the editor of the Faster Times. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Paris Review, and Bookforum, among other publications. He teaches creative writing at New York University and lives in Brooklyn.
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