AWARD-WINNING RISING STAR: Sergio de la Pava’s debut A Naked Singularity was a sensation and has become a cult classic beloved by fans and booksellers. He still receives fan mail about it, and he replies to all of it. A Naked Singularity was self-published; then his wife (and agent) did a deal with the University of Chicago Press; then the book won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. It was a Wall Street Journal best book of 2012.
HIGHTENED HILARITY: Lost Empress is de la Pava’s most accessible work yet, centering around subjects with broad appeal: what one might call crime and punishment and football. In a way reminiscent of Thomas Pynchon or David Foster Wallace, he pulls off a deeply literary and experimental novel that’s also, somehow, insanely hilarious.
THE LETTERS AND THE LAW: De la Pava’s “day job” is as a public defender in Manhattan, so his depiction of the legal system boasts a level of authenticity that goes far beyond Law & Order. He combines all the entertainment of compelling courtroom drama and gritty prison narrative with a breathtaking, brutal, and wrenchingly relevant takedown of the prison-industrial complex.
“Hilariously profane…. Thrilling…. Colloquial in tempo yet nerdy in content, divinely detached yet intimately casual in tone, impossibly learned and improvisational at the same time.”—The New Yorker
“The book oscillates between hilarious surrealism and shocking reality. As in his first novel, A Naked Singularity, Mr de la Pava (a public defender) deploys his expertise in a maximalist form reminiscent of Thomas Pynchon and David Foster Wallace…. With messianic fervour, he conjures up marginalised voices and the horrors of mass incarceration, against a backbeat of sporting thrills and that apocalyptic crescendo.”—The Economist
“In the tradition of maximalists like Thomas Pynchon and William Gaddis…. Half farce, half serious social novel, half compendium of meditations on everything from Joni Mitchell’s early albums to the superiority of football’s 4-3 defensive alignment. That’s three halves, but as with A Naked Singularity, Lost Empress feels bigger than a single book…. It carries the reader into a teeming, complex world guided by a logic that’s never far removed from lunacy.”—The Wall Street Journal
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