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Busy Monsters

by

Busy Monsters Cover

 

Staff Pick

William Giraldi is one of those writers for whom every sentence matters. He commands language like Kinglsey Amis or Peter Carey. Busy Monsters is quite simply a fun book to read. I felt like Giraldi was letting me in on a joke and allowing me to come along for the ride. And what a ride it is -- a postmodern quest that riffs on every epic story in Western literature, yet never takes itself too seriously.
Recommended by Mark P., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Memoirist of mediocre fame, Charles Homar has a problem: his bride-to-be, Gillian Lee, has nixed their nuptials and fled to the high seas in search of a legendary giant squid, unleashing an unholy heart wreck upon him. In a hell-bent effort to prove his mettle as an American male and win back Gillian's affections, Charlie crisscrosses the nation seeking counsel, confronting creatures both mythic and real — "Bigfoot on the Canadian border, space aliens in Seattle, a professional bodybuilder with Asiatic sex slaves in suburban New Jersey, the demons dancing a rumba inside his own heart — "and then writing about his travails every week for a popular slick magazine.

Echoing a narrative tradition that includes Don Quixote and Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions, William Giraldi's debut novel is a love story of linguistic bravado that explores American excess, the diaphanous line between fiction and fact, and what desperate men and women will do to one another.

Review:

"In his riotous debut novel — up there with, say, James Wilcox's Modern Baptists — Giraldi tells the story of Charles Homar, a jilted fiance who embarks on a hilariously ill-advised odyssey to win back his beloved. Charles is a 'memoirist of mediocre fame' whose engagement to the lovely Gillian falls apart when she takes off with oceanographer Jacob Jacobi. After a short jail sentence for ineptly shooting up Jacobi's boat, Charles decides that the only way to win back Gillian is to prove his manhood to her. He sets off on a cross-country odyssey: searching for Bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest with a Jewish African-American hunter; looking for UFOs with an ex-girlfriend in Seattle who claims to have been abducted by aliens; seeking advice from an astronomer in Boulder, Colo., who has his own calamitous love life to deal with; and getting fit with the aid of a New Jersey bodybuilder and two Chinese prostitutes before heading back to Boston for a final reckoning. Charles's journey — filled with offbeat characters, seen through a perfectly skewed worldview, and related in an idiosyncratic voice — might remind readers of the one taken by the equally wrong-headed Ray Midge in Charles Portis's comic masterpiece, The Dog of the South. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"William Giraldi's Busy Monsters is rammed with life. It has more than promise. A kind of elegiac intensity, remarkable for so young a man, pervades its harmonies." Harold Bloom

Review:

"Take the amped-up lyrical braggadocio of the American South and join it to a sly, at times Nabokovian celebration of psychological obsession. Add a pinch of O'Connor, a dash of Hannah, heat with an imagination reared in both the canon and its rock & roll antipodes. Busy Monsters is an unforgettable achievement by one of our most important young chroniclers of anguish and bliss." Sven Birkerts

Synopsis:

An exuberant modern-day picaresque about the cost of love-struck obsession and the inevitable monsters of every human heart.

Video

About the Author

William Giraldi's work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Georgia Review, The Believer, the Kenyon Review, and Poets & Writers. A senior editor at AGNI, he teaches in the Arts & Sciences Writing Program at Boston University.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

asunofsky, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by asunofsky)
Funny and terse, this picaresque swallowably explores self-conduct, or morality, or that which edifies and that which tears down. Also, the back jacket boasts a plug from the one and only Harold Bloom, so...
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
alex milton, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by alex milton)
Charles Homar takes us on a humorous and daring adventure across the country with the company of the ridiculous yet somehow believable people he meets along the way.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Michael Miller, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by Michael Miller)
It's so hard to determine a favorite book, so I decided to go with a recent favorite book.

I picked this up on a lark, having remembered reading about it on some site. And I have to say, it's refreshing to read a book that cares about language and character as much as "Busy Monsters" does, without sacrificing story and humor.

At its core, this novel is about a man trying to win back his woman. How he goes about it, the cast of characters he meets, the zany adventures, the divergent suggestions...all these blend together to create an inane sort of Odyssey for the main character.

What I really liked was the fact that the chapters are written as though the main character is posting them as his serially-published memoirs. And the fact the characters critique his writing from previous installments and a sort of nod-and-a-wink/4th wall breakdown that really adds another level of hilarity.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 3 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780393079623
Author:
Giraldi, William
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20110801
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Debut Fiction
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Adventure
Transportation » Automotive » General

Busy Monsters New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$24.95 In Stock
Product details 304 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393079623 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

William Giraldi is one of those writers for whom every sentence matters. He commands language like Kinglsey Amis or Peter Carey. Busy Monsters is quite simply a fun book to read. I felt like Giraldi was letting me in on a joke and allowing me to come along for the ride. And what a ride it is -- a postmodern quest that riffs on every epic story in Western literature, yet never takes itself too seriously.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In his riotous debut novel — up there with, say, James Wilcox's Modern Baptists — Giraldi tells the story of Charles Homar, a jilted fiance who embarks on a hilariously ill-advised odyssey to win back his beloved. Charles is a 'memoirist of mediocre fame' whose engagement to the lovely Gillian falls apart when she takes off with oceanographer Jacob Jacobi. After a short jail sentence for ineptly shooting up Jacobi's boat, Charles decides that the only way to win back Gillian is to prove his manhood to her. He sets off on a cross-country odyssey: searching for Bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest with a Jewish African-American hunter; looking for UFOs with an ex-girlfriend in Seattle who claims to have been abducted by aliens; seeking advice from an astronomer in Boulder, Colo., who has his own calamitous love life to deal with; and getting fit with the aid of a New Jersey bodybuilder and two Chinese prostitutes before heading back to Boston for a final reckoning. Charles's journey — filled with offbeat characters, seen through a perfectly skewed worldview, and related in an idiosyncratic voice — might remind readers of the one taken by the equally wrong-headed Ray Midge in Charles Portis's comic masterpiece, The Dog of the South. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "William Giraldi's Busy Monsters is rammed with life. It has more than promise. A kind of elegiac intensity, remarkable for so young a man, pervades its harmonies."
"Review" by , "Take the amped-up lyrical braggadocio of the American South and join it to a sly, at times Nabokovian celebration of psychological obsession. Add a pinch of O'Connor, a dash of Hannah, heat with an imagination reared in both the canon and its rock & roll antipodes. Busy Monsters is an unforgettable achievement by one of our most important young chroniclers of anguish and bliss."
"Synopsis" by , An exuberant modern-day picaresque about the cost of love-struck obsession and the inevitable monsters of every human heart.
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