Synopses & Reviews
A Naked Singularity tells the story of Casi, a child of Colombian immigrants who lives in Brooklyn and works in Manhattan as a public defender — one who, tellingly has never lost a trial. Never. In the book, we watch what happens when his sense of justice and even his sense of self begin to crack — and how his world then slowly devolves. It’s a huge, ambitious novel clearly in the vein of DeLillo, Foster Wallace, Pynchon, and even Melville, and it's told in a distinct, frequently hilarious voice, with a striking human empathy at its center. Its panoramic reach takes readers through crime and courts, immigrant families and urban blight, media savagery and media satire, scatology and boxing, and even a breathless heist worthy of any crime novel. If Infinite Jest stuck a pin in the map of mid-90s culture and drew our trajectory from there, A Naked Singularity does the same for the feeling of surfeit, brokenness, and exhaustion that permeates our civic and cultural life today. In the opening sentence of William Gaddis’s A Frolic of His Own, a character sneers, "Justice? You get justice in the next world. In this world, you get the law." A Naked Singularity reveals the extent of that gap, and lands firmly on the side of those who are forever getting the law.
"Originally self-published in 2008, this leviathan novel is not for the fainthearted, although its crazy, contemporary voice is so compelling and audacious that plodding through it to the end has its rewards. Narrator Casi is a brilliant young public defender whose hilarious interactions with criminals and colleagues are so absurd, and justice so often fleeting, that an existential angst quickly takes hold, morality is turned on its head, and nothing much is funny anymore. Plot strands abound, among them Casi's defense of a terminally ill drug addict, his advocacy of a Skittles-loving death row inmate whose execution might be a better fate than life in his dark cell, and a fellow lawyer who dreams up the perfect crime, which, despite its implausibility, gives the story momentum. Casi is humanized in scenes with his extended Colombian family complete with a mute niece and a thoughtful sister and with his friends, although his neighbors in Brooklyn are little more than surreal mouthpieces for the author's philosophical musings. In Casi's twisted postmodern world, the justice system is a farce, the heroes mostly aligned with the accused, and a person can care desperately but have so little power that his life becomes heavy enough to collapse into itself." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Sergio De La Pava is a writer who does not live in Brooklyn.