Synopses & Reviews
Thurlow Dan is the founder of the Helix, a cult that promises to cure loneliness in the twenty-first century. With its communes and speed-dating, mixers and confession sessions, the Helix has become a national phenomenon — and attracted the attention of governments worldwide. But Thurlow, camped out in his Cincinnati headquarters, is lonely. And his ex-wife, Esme, is the only one he wants. They were a family once; they had a child together. For Esmes part, shes a covert agent who has spent her life spying on Thurlow, mostly in an effort to protect him from the law. Now, with her superiors demanding results, Esme recruits four misfits to botch a reconnaissance mission in Cincinnati. But when Thurlow abducts them, he ignites a siege of the Helix House that could keep him and Esme apart forever. With fiery, ecstatic prose, Maazel takes us on a ride through North Korea's guarded interior, a city of vice beneath Cincinnati, and a commune housed in a Virginia factory, while Thurlow, Esme, and their daughter search for a way to be a family again. Woke Up Lonely is a sprawling and original novel that reminds us our Nation's deepest problems cannot be fixed by the simple formulas that so frequently beguile us.
"Fiona Maazel's imagination is so wild...that you feel like you've woken up into one of those rare novels as real as life. Hooray for such a talent!" Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances
"A great novel. Great, major, important — say it however you like. This is a book you need." Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life
"Woke Up Lonely is the novel equivalent of a sonic boom — it builds, it explodes, it leaves your ears, mind, and soul ringing for days." Heidi Julavits, author of The Vanishers
"I may have bruised my ribs from laughing. Woke Up Lonely is a funhouse hall of mirrors whose dark (and hilarious) distortions reveal some almost unbearable truths about what it means to be lonely in America today." Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!
"No one does loneliness, self-abasement, and dread like Fiona Maazel. And maybe no one other than George Saunders illuminates with as much sadness and comic brio the grotesqueness of the extent to which we fall short of who we imagine ourselves to be." Jim Shepard, author of You Think That's Bad
The dizzying new novel by Fiona Maazel, a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35"
* A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year * A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice * A Kansas City Star, VICE, and Largehearted Boy Best Book of the Year * One of Book Riot's "Seven Funniest Novels of 2013" *
* One of the Millions's Most Anticipated Books of 2013 * An April IndieNext Pick*
Thurlow Dan is the founder of the Helix, a cult that promises to cure loneliness in the twenty-first century. With its communes and speed-dating, mixers and confession sessions, the Helix has become a national phenomenon--and attracted the attention of governments worldwide. But Thurlow, camped out in his Cincinnati headquarters, is lonely--for his ex-wife, Esme, and their daughter, whom he hasn't seen in ten years.
Esme, for her part, is a covert agent who has spent her life spying on Thurlow, mostly to protect him from the law. Now, with her superiors demanding results, she recruits four misfits to botch a reconnaissance mission in Cincinnati. But when Thurlow takes them hostage, he ignites a siege of the Helix House that will change all their lives forever.
With fiery, exuberant prose, Fiona Maazel takes us on a wild ride through North Korea's guarded interior and a city of vice beneath Cincinnati, a ride that twists and turns as it delves into an unsettled, off-kilter America. Woke Up Lonely is an original and deeply funny novel that explores our very human impulse to seek and repel intimacy with the people who matter to us most.
About the Author
Fiona Maazel is the author of Last Last Chance, called “moving, buoyant, and utterly true” by the New York Times Book Review. She is winner of the Bard Prize for Fiction, a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree, and the recipient of a Lannan Foundation Residency. Her work has appeared in BOMB, Bookforum, Conjunctions, Fence, GQ, Gulf Coast, Glamour, The Millions, Mississippi Review, n+1, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, Salon, This American Life, Tin House, The Village Voice, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. She teaches at Brooklyn College and New York University, and was appointed the Picador Guest Professor at the University of Leipzig, Germany, for the spring of 2012. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.