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Half a Life by Strauss; The Instructions by Levin (both books published by McSweeney's)
Darin Strauss, author of More Than It Hurts You, will discuss and sign his heartbreaking memoir about how one outing in his father's Oldsmobile during his last month of high school resulted in the death of a classmate and the beginning of a different, darker life for the author. Joining him, Adam Levin will read and sign his new novel, The Instructions, which begins with a chance encounter with the beautiful Eliza June Watermark and ends, four days and 900 pages later, with the Events of November 17; this is the story of Gurion Maccabee, age ten: a lover, a fighter, a scholar, and a truly spectacular talker.
Advance praise for Half a Life:
“Half a Life is the best anything I’ve read—novel, memoir, story—in a very long time. Incredibly, it’s also the most moving." —David Lipsky, author of Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself
“This book will break your heart. It’s a great and moving book about a boy becoming a man, and it belongs on the shelf with just a precious few others—The Catcher in the Rye, The Moviegoer, Joe Gould’s Secret. It should be read and re-read. It’s a treasure.” —Rich Cohen, author of Tough Jews and Sweet and Low
Advance praise for The Instructions:
"A great big novel, shaggy and undisciplined, but with moments of brilliance." —Publishers Weekly
"The Instructions is a sizzling fire-cracker of a book. Readers beware: you will not be able to put this book down, you will not be able to get ten-year old Gurion Maccabee's fevered voice out of your head, and you will not be able to read anything else for like six months without thinking back to this book. The Instructions is a thrilling hurricane of an epic—1,000 pages that takes places over a mere four days—and it will chew you up and spit you out and you will be better for it." —Rachel Meier, Booksmith (San Francisco, CA)
Darin Strauss is the best-selling author of Chang & Eng, The Real McCoy, and More Than It Hurts You. The recipient of a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction writing and -numerous other awards, Strauss’s work has been translated into fourteen langauges, and published in over twenty countries. He is a Clinical Associate professor of Writing at New York University.
Adam Levin's stories have appeared in Tin House, McSweeney's, and Esquire. Winner of the 2003 Tin House/Summer Literary Seminars Fiction Contest and the 2004 Joyce Carol Oates Fiction Prize, Levin holds an MA in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago and an MFA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. His collection of short stories, Hot Pink, will be published by McSweeney's in 2011. He lives in Chicago, where he teaches writing at Columbia College and The School of the Art Institute.
Half my life ago, I killed a girl...” So begins Darin Strauss’s memoir Half a Life—the true story of how one outing in his father’s Oldsmobile resulted in the death of a classmate and the beginning of a different life for Strauss. We follow him as he relives his startling past—the collision, the funeral, the drama of a high-stakes court case—but soon, what begins as a tale of a singular tragic event, opens into a story about how Strauss came to live with one difficult fact: In crucial moments, sometimes your best still isn’t enough.
Combining the crackling voice of Philip Roth with the encyclopedic mind of David Foster Wallace, Levin has shaped a world driven equally by moral fervor and slapstick comedy--a novel that is muscular and verbose, troubling and empathetic, monumental, breakneck, romantic, and unforgettable.