This is no ordinary novel. An encyclopedia of memory—from A to Z—The End of the World Book deftly intertwines fiction, memoir, and cultural history, reimagining the story of the world and one man’s life as they both hurtle toward a frightening future. Alistair McCartney’s alphabetical guide to the apocalypse layers images like a prose poem, building from Aristotle to da Vinci, hip-hop to lederhosen, plagues to zippers, while barreling from antiquity to the present. In this profound book about mortality, McCartney composes an irreverent archive of philosophical obsessions and homoerotic fixations, demonstrating the difficulty of separating what is real from what is imagined.
Finalist, Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, The Publishing Triangle
Finalist, PEN USA Literary Award for Fiction
About the Author
Alistair McCartney teaches creative writing at Antioch University in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in Fence, Bloom, James White Review, and other literary journals as well as in a number of fiction and creative nonfiction anthologies, including Wonderlands: Good Gay Travel Writing, published by the University of Wisconsin Press, and Between Men. Born in Australia, he lives in Los Angeles with his partner Tim Miller. This is his first novel. Finalist, PEN USA Literary Award in Fiction Award, PEN Center USA
“The End of the World Book is in turn informative, playful, erotic, imaginary, witty, perverse, charming, autobiographical, and full of wonders; the letter K, for example, begins with Kafka and ends with Freddie Krueger. If the world is ending soon, I recommend you read it while there’s still time.”—Jim Krusoe, author of Iceland and Blood Lake
“Beguiling, comical, earnest, and wise beyond its author’s years. Crossing sporadic bursts of linear narrative with a detailed taxonomy of altercation, McCartney has engineered a compelling compendium of integrated distractions, somewhat in the manner of Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy. Read it from A to Z. He knows who you are: you will be quizzed.”—James McCourt, author of Queer Street
“If I’ve read a more deeply impressive, beautiful, sweeping, mindful, and innovative first novel than Alistair McCartney’s The End of the World Book, I have no memory of it. McCartney is a writer of peerless, brilliant originality and pure, giant talent.”—Dennis Cooper, author of The Sluts and God Jr.