“An ingeniously plotted postmodernist mystery. . . . David Czuchlewski writes with imagination, vision, and style.”—Joyce Carol Oates
Who is Horace Jacob Little, and what is he trying to hide?
Legend has is that not even his agent had met him, that they communicated via post office box. Horace Jacob Little had insisted on blank covers for all his books. . . . No one knew what he looked like or where he lived. . . . I used to imagine him: a death-row inmate, a mild-mannered accountant, a disfigured cripple. . . .
He was none of these, as it turned out, nothing my imagination could conjure.
Andrew Wallace, recent Princeton graduate and troubled genius, spends his days in the Overlook Psychiatric Institute—the Muse Asylum—writing about a dark conspiracy against him engineered by the elusive author Horace Jacob Little. When fellow classmate Jake Burnett, a novice reporter, arrives on the hospital grounds to visit Andrew, he learns that Andrew’s problems run much deeper than simple paranoia and obsession.
Along with Lara Knowles, the girl they both love, they try to break through the shadows of the enigmatic Horace Jacob Little. Instead, they find themselves caught in a twisted game of reflections and reversals, where each seems to be pursuing the other—for love, for success, or for a far more sinister purpose.
“[A] cleverly devised, sharply composed, entertaining and moving novel.”—The Wall Street Journal
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David Czuchlewski graduated from Princeton University in 1998. He is currently a resident in the Department of Pathology at New York Weill Cornell Medical Center.From Publishers Weekly:
Genius and madness blur in a daring, self-consciously literary debut that runs circles around the postmodern chestnut, the "death of the author," to speculate on the murderous theft of an author's identity. Czuchlewski, a 24-year-old medical student who started work on the book as a senior thesis project at Princeton, may lack the visionary gifts of the fictional author at his novel's center, but he has crafted a stylish, assured and gripping work of fiction. Jake Burnett, fresh out of Princeton, takes a reporting job with the Manhattan Ledger, a rundown weekly rag. He and his editor hatch a circulation-boosting plan to track down Horace Jacob Little, a Pynchonesque cult author who has never been photographed or interviewed. Meanwhile, Jake's former classmate Andrew Wallace, is documenting his own encounters with Little furiously penning his "Confessions" from his room in the Muse Asylum, a residential psychiatric facility for artists. For Andrew, tracking the author is more than just a hobby; his obsession with Little's identity permeates his troubled "Confessions." Jake and Andrew are linked not only by their interest in Little but by their romantic infatuation with Lara Knowles, a fellow Princetonian who dated both men and had planned to wed Andrew before his psychiatric break. When Lara lends Jake her copy of Andrew's "Confessions," Jake discovers that Andrew's schizophrenic rant may point to a surprising truth about Little that puts both Andrew and Jake in danger. While some of Czuchlewski's prose has the amateurish enthusiasm of an undergraduate taking his first class in literary criticism (the plot summaries of Little's stories make the fabled author seem like an ersatz Borges), the novel is well plotted, with nuanced characters and real intellectual heft. Czuchlewski is a writer to watch. Agent, Elly Sidel. Foreign rights sold in France.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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