Synopses & Reviews
Along the streets of the once-great Midwestern city of Trude, the ornate old buildings lie in ruin. Shrouded in disappointment and nostalgia, Trude has become a place to "lose yourself," as one tourist brochure puts it: a treacherous maze of convoluted shopping malls, barricaded libraries, and elitist assisted-living homes.
One night at Trude's opera house, the theater's most celebrated mezzo-soprano vanishes during rehearsal. When police come up empty-handed, the star's husband, a disconsolate legal clerk named Sven Norberg, must take up the quest on his own. But to discover the secret of his wife's disappearance, Norberg must descend into Trude's underworld and confront the menacing and bizarre citizens of his hometown: rebellious librarians, shifty music critics, a cop called the Oracle, and the minister of an apocalyptic church who has recruited Norberg's teenage son. Faced with the loss of everything he loves, Norberg follows his investigation to the heart of the city and through the buildings of a possibly insane modernist architect called Bernhard, whose elaborate vision will offer him an astonishing revelation.
Written with boundless intelligence and razor-sharp wit, The Facades is a comic and existential mystery that unfolds at the urgent pace of a thriller.
"In this fascinating, complex debut novel, a famous mezzo-soprano vanishes from rehearsal, leaving behind her husband, Sven, to care for their disaffected son and search for her in the labyrinthine streets of fictional Midwestern city Trude. Though most of the plot involves Sven's existential and often humorous detective work, Trude itself is the biggest of Lundgren's many successes here. The once-great city is well rendered not only in its physical appearance ('The city assembled itself, scattered lights in the old skyscrapers meandering the night sky like notes on a staff'), but also in its oddities, such as the militarized library where the librarians are in a stalemate with police, a pretentious nursing home that is more difficult to gain admission to than the local college, and bathroom graffiti that reads, 'There is no use in killing oneself; one always does it too late.' Ratcheted onto the spine of an un-put-downable mystery and brimming with entertaining dialogue and unique, well-wrought characters, this is one of those rare books that corners every mood, every emotion, and throws them into the spotlight. Lundgren's debut is a fierce, funny examination of loss, set against one of the most creative worlds in recent memory, and it's not to be missed. Agent: Renee Zuckerbrot, Renee Zuckerbrot Literary Agency. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Enter the world of The Facades at your own risk...in a seductive sleight-of-hand, Eric Lundgren is conjuring a whole world into motion behind your back, a world of sinister enchantment and misbegotten causes. The Facades challenges your sense of the world you think you know and live in. It is a dazzling invention." Kathryn Davis, author of Duplex and The Thin Place
"To borrow one of his many felicitous phrases, Eric Lundgren has found a language of maximum power, compression, and elegance, not to mention desiccated wit, in his elegy to the dying Midwest. Sven Norberg's physical and philosophical search for his missing wife, conveyed through crystalline prose, is unexpectedly suspenseful and moving — part meditation on Wittgensteinian solitude, part hard-boiled detective story. Forget the diminutive label of debut; Lundgren writes like a veteran in his prime, and The Facades is simply one of the best novels I've read in years, period." Teddy Wayne, author of The Love Song of Jonny Valentine and Kapitoil
"The Facades is a throbbing heart-breaker, an old-fashioned page-turner, and a searing portrait of a fractured family. Its also a mesmerizing tour through a landscape both grittily familiar and thrillingly strange, a literary sleuthing that brings to mind Kafka, Sebald, Dostoevsky, Calvino, Coetzee, Murakami and Auster. But this city — an uncanny, menacing and beautiful architecture of sorrow — belongs wholly to Eric Lundgren and his unearthly command of language. I expect that, a generation from now, Lundgrenesque will be a common adjective." Stefan Merrill Block, author of The Story of Forgetting and The Storm at the Door
About the Author
Eric Lundgren grew up in Minneapolis. He studied at Lewis & Clark College and earned his MFA at Washington University, where he was awarded a third-year fellowship. The Facades is his first novel. He works at a public library in St. Louis, where he lives with his wife Eleanor and their two cats.