Lewis, Jim The King is Dead

ISBN 13: 9780007135233

The King is Dead

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9780007135233: The King is Dead

The breakthrough novel from one of the most talented and celebrated young novelists in America. ‘A marvellous book, written in a prose of a purity you don’t come across much anymore. It gave me absolute pleasure, possessed me entirely while I was reading it, and hasn't faded in memory.’ Jeffrey Eugenides, Guardian Books of the Year

One hot, dark night in Memphis, Walter Selby finds himself wandering alone in the parking lot outside a baseball stadium, trying to find his friend. Instead he finds his future wife, Nicole, illuminated by the headlights of a passing car. In that empty car-lot, the perfect setting for an archetypal American romance, they begin a long, lovely fall – into bed, into marriage, into parenthood, into responsibility.

A generation later Walter’s son Frank, now a grown man himself, is also alone in Memphis, trying to find a trace of two parents who faded from view while he was still a child. His sister Gail is building a new family for herself on the other side of the continent, while his precious daughter Amy seems to slip further from him with each passing year. Frank’s life seems to be racing away in a flurry of wrong decisions and lost moments, with nothing to show for it. And yet if Frank’s life is anywhere, it is in his family, in these men and women, their lives and their passing. This is their story.

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Review:

‘Ever since the publication of “The Corrections”, I have been looking around for another novelist who can match Jonathan Franzen’s dextrous inventiveness and capacity for close-up emotional engagement. After spending a pleasurable week in the company of “The King is Dead”, I am convinced that Jim Lewis is a writer of the same heavyweight stature as Franzen and David Foster Wallace. A short review can barely do justice to the artfulness and deep intelligence of this novel. Above all, Jim Lewis persuades you that a single reading of his work is not enough.’ Andrew Biswell, Scotland on Sunday

‘Full of kings dead and dying, lost fathers, doomed country singers, untrustworthy leaders, set mostly in the American South and incorporating such worlds as music, politics, baseball and the movies…this is a novel written and conceived as elegy; and Walter Selby, a decent man, is going to be ruined by passion. There’s an expansiveness here that is particularly American, [yet] “The King is Dead” creates a powerful narrative urgency as it approaches its end: you find you have to force yourself to read more slowly, not wanting the experience to end.’ David Flusfeder, Daily Telegraph

‘Similar to Richard Ford or Jonathan Franzen, with whom Lewis stands comparison…The result is a fine book, finely written.’ Daily Mail

‘A deceptively simple story – the best always are…sad, illuminating, songful and shivering with life.’ Time Out

‘The King is Dead is a marvelous book, and with it, Jim Lewis has come into full possession of a powerful literary voice whose main qualities are the hardest to come by: integrity, empathy, narrative allure, and wisdom. Lewis's moral intelligence purges his prose of every false move and cheap convention, burrowing ever closer to the truths about the pull and stain of heritage. This is a book of impeccable artistry, and yet it goes beyond that, becoming, in the end, like the songs of the nameless country singer who appears in its pages, songs that were 'neither art nor amusement, nor solace, nor democratic odes: they were facts, and they would be known.’
Jeffrey Eugenides, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Middlesex

'The lives of Walter and Frank unspool into a powerful, decades-long meander through loss, alienation, identity, remembrance and forgiveness… Such a dramatic gesture gives us the willies, but: If you read only one work of fiction this summer, make it this eloquent meditation on the second half of the 20th century as reflected through the cracked prism of two flawed men, a banished father and his rootless son, each battered by secrets, impulse and circumstance.' Miami Herald

‘Jim Lewis is an accomplished and erudite writer who wears these qualities lightly… A rare talent.’ The Times

From the Publisher:

`THE KING IS DEAD is a marvelous book, and with it, Jim Lewis has come into full possession of a powerful literary voice whose main qualities are the hardest to come by: integrity, empathy, narrative allure, and wisdom. Lewis's moral intelligence purges his prose of every false move and cheap convention, burrowing ever closer to the truths about the pull and stain of heritage. This is a book of impeccable artistry, and yet it goes beyond that, becoming, in the end, like the songs of the nameless country singer who appears in its pages, songs that were 'neither art nor amusement, nor solace, nor democratic odes: they were facts, and they would be known.
Jeffrey Eugenides, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of MIDDLESEX

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