Synopses & Reviews
People fell in love every day, all over the world, and I didn't know how to do it. I didn't understand what it meant, and I didn't know how it was done.
This worried me.
Days after his ex-girlfriend's suicide, Wayne, a recent film school grad, flies to San Francisco for her funeral. When he learns that she aborted their child, Wayne embarks on a search for meaning that takes him to unusual places and through some of the most influential events of the past ten years.
Wayne's journey becomes a series of meditations on modern life, and he draws on everything from the ancient philosophy of Siddhartha Gautama, the warrior-aristocrat who exacted the Four Noble Truths, to a visit with Gregorio Fuentes, Hemingway's fishing guide and inspiration for the protagonist in The Old Man and the Sea.
Haunted by regret and wonder about what could have been, Wayne's quest for connection leads him up and down the East Coast on foot and across the American West in an RV, and finally to the Costco Soulmate Trading Outpost in the middle of the Black Rock Desert. Listi weaves innovative flashes of nonfiction throughout the story -- lists, quotations, and strange facts -- and creates a deeply emotional exploration of love, death, escape, and maturation.
Highly original and effortlessly readable, Attention. Deficit. Disorder. exhibits an unforgettable voice that is Listi's alone.
"The title of Listi's debut diagnoses the novel's malady: a jangly, unfocused plot that caroms off pop cultural flotsam in an attempt to evoke the potpourri of postmodern existence. This lurching ride begins as 20-something Wayne Fencer, a defeated day-trader and idling pizza delivery boy with a B.F.A. in avant-garde filmmaking, attends the funeral of an ex-girlfriend in San Francisco who has committed suicide. Wayne can find few words of condolence and instead strafes the reader with a fusillade of facts on suicide, death and mourning, a distancing device that Listi relies on throughout the novel. The news that Wayne's ex aborted his child in college sends the narrative machinery sputtering to life, with Listi shuttling his hero across the country (after jaunts to Mexico and Cuba) in a neo-beatnik search for meaning. Wayne's encounters trigger all manner of intrusive digression, from boldface definitions of key words (e.g. 'pheramone,' 'megalopolis,' 'absinthe') to bulky movie plot summaries that detract from the novel's story. With this Trivial Pursuit like tic, Listi aims to capture the fragmented worldview of a coolly detached generation, but a few wedges are missing." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"As its title seemed to demand, I found myself skipping about Brad Listi's novel, yanked further in by each random, episodic jewel. They were quirky, evocative, and clever...something genuinely different, and defiantly genuine. Then, reading from start to finish, an entirely other experience emerged: a cohesive, poignant story, subsuming warmth and depth, and again that unflinching honesty. Overall, it seems I got a lot more than I bargained for. A perfect book about what we and the world are becoming." Jim Carroll
"It's not easy writing lightly about heavy things, but Brad Listi makes it look effortless.... Attention. Deficit. Disorder. is a wild American picaresque." Stewart O'Nan
"Recall the Ritalin! Brad Listi's writing, in this post-modern meditation on love and loss, is spellbinding, knowing, intelligent, and hip. The primary side effect is epiphany." Susan Compo
In this inventive and moving debut, a young man embarks on a search for meaning after he attends the funeral of an ex-girlfriend and learns that she was pregnant with his child at the time of her suicide.