The Readymade Thief (Viking)
Lee Cuddy is seventeen years old and on the run, alone on the streets of Philadelphia. After taking the fall for a rich friend, Lee reluctantly accepts refuge in the Crystal Castle--a cooperative of homeless kids squatting in an austere, derelict building. But homeless kids are disappearing from the streets in suspicious numbers, and Lee quickly discovers that the secret society's charitable facade is too good to be true. She finds an unexpected ally in Tomi, a young artist and hacker whose knowledge of the Internet's black market is rivaled only by his ability to break into and out of buildings. From abandoned aquariums to highly patrolled museums to the homes of vacationing Philadelphians, Tomi and Lee can always chart a way to the next, perfect hide-out.
But the harder Lee tries to escape into the unmapped corners of the city, the closer she unwittingly gets to uncovering the disturbing agenda of the very men who pull the strings of the secret society she's hoped to elude, a group of fanatics obsessed with the secrets encoded in the work of early-twentieth-century artist Marcel Duchamp. What these men want is more twisted than anything Lee could've imagined, and they believe Lee holds the key to it all. The Readymade Thief heralds the arrival of an astoundingly imaginative and propulsive new voice in fiction for fans of Marisha Pessl and Ernest Cline.
Praise for The Readymade Thief
"In his highly addictive and multi-faceted first novel, Augustus Rose pits an irrepressible and gritty young heroine against a sinister group of fanatics. The Readymade Thief is a kickass debut from start to finish." --Colson Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad
"The Readymade Thief is my favorite kind of book: an improbable one. The novel is a map of things--urban exploration, secret societies, the city of Philadelphia, Marcel Duchamp, very possibly the Home Alone movies--and if those things don't seem to fit together, well, that's the magic of the improbable book, and the transmutation of obsessions, by energy and intellect, into something wholly new: a novel that's unexpected, uncategorizable, unputdownable." --Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
"In The Readymade Thief, Augustus Rose shows that he has one of the steadiest hands in fiction. How else to explain how effortlessly he complicates and expands the mystery at the heart of the novel, adding Marcel Duchamp, the Darknet, Urban Exploration, and a unified field theory along the way to such amazing effect. Each time I thought I had found my way to solid ground, another level opened up, and I eagerly tunneled deeper. Rose has crafted something memorable, crackling with energy, a truly wonderful tale." --Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang
"A rewarding novel full of pleasures and surprises. Every time I thought I knew where the story was going, it took me somewhere stranger and deeper than I could have imagined. A rich, heady mix of ideas and thrills." --Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
Augustus Rose is a novelist and screenwriter. He was born in the northern California coastal town of Bolinas, and grew up there and in San Francisco. He lives in Chicago with his wife, the novelist Nami Mun and their son, and he teaches fiction writing at the University of Chicago.
Tom Bissell is the author of eight previous books, most recently Apostle: Travel Among the Tombs of the Twelve, and has been awarded the Rome Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He writes frequently for Harper’s Magazine and The New Yorker.
Augustus Rose photo by Nathanael Filbert
Tom Bissell photo by Joanna Degeneres