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March 28 , 2010

The Abyss of Human Illusion


"To the novel-everyone's novel – Sorrentino brings honor, tradition, and relentless passion." – Don DeLillo
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"Sorrentino [is] a writer like no other. He's learned, companionable, ribald, brave, mathematical, at once virtuosic and somehow without ego. Sorrentino's books break free of the routine that inevitably accompanies traditional narrative and through a passionate renunciation shine with an unforgiving, yet cleansing, light." – Jeffrey Eugenides

"For a compelling, hilarious, and ultimately compassionate rendering of life in mid-20th-century America, forget the conscientious subjectors and take Gilbert Sorrentino at his golden Word." – Harry Mathews

"One of [Brooklyn]'s most intriguing and authentic homegrown talents, Sorrentino's Bay Ridge deserves to be appreciated alongside Malamud's Crown Heights, Arthur Miller's Coney Island, Henry Miller's and Betty Smith's Williamsburg, Hamill's and Auster's Park Slope, and Lethem's Boerum Hill." – Bookforum

Titled after a line from Henry James, Gilbert Sorrentino's final novel consists of fifty narrative set pieces full of savage humor and cathartic passion – an elegiac paean to the bleak world he so brilliantly captured in his long and storied career. Mirroring the inexplicable coincidences, encounters, and hallmarks of modern life, this novel revisits familiar characters – the aging artists, miserable couples, crackerjack salesmen, and drunken soldiers of previous books, placing them in familiar landscapes lost in time between the Depression era and some fraudulent bohemia of the present.

A luminary of American literature, Gilbert Sorrentino was a boyhood friend of Hubert Selby, Jr., a confidant of William Carlos Williams, a two-time PEN/Faulkner Award finalist, and the recipient of a Lannan Literary Lifetime Achievement Award. He taught at Stanford for many years before returning to his native Brooklyn and published over thirty books before his death in 2006.
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