Lost for Words: A Novel (Paperback)
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A SCABROUSLY FUNNY AND FIERCELY INTELLIGENT SATIRE OF THE LITERARY WORLD FROM THE ACCLAIMED AUTHOR OF THE PATRICK MELROSE NOVELS
Edward St. Aubyn's Patrick Melrose novels were some of the most celebrated works of fiction of the past decade. Ecstatic praise came from a wide range of admirers, from literary superstars such as Zadie Smith, Francine Prose, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Michael Chabon to pop-culture icons such as Anthony Bourdain and January Jones. Now St. Aubyn returns with a hilariously smart send-up of a certain major British literary award.
The judges on the panel of the Elysian Prize for Literature must get through hundreds of submissions to find the best book of the year. Meanwhile, a host of writers are desperate for Elysian attention: the brilliant writer and serial heartbreaker Katherine Burns; the lovelorn debut novelist Sam Black; and Sonny, convinced that his magnum opus, The Mulberry Elephant, will take the literary world by storm. Things go terribly wrong when Katherine's publisher accidentally submits a cookery book in place of her novel; one of the judges finds himself in the middle of a scandal; and Sonny, aghast to learn his book isn't on the short list, seeks revenge.
Lost for Words is a witty, fabulously entertaining satire that cuts to the quick of some of the deepest questions about the place of art in our celebrity-obsessed culture, and asks how we can ever hope to recognize real talent when everyone has an agenda.
About the Author
Edward St. Aubyn was born in London. His acclaimed Patrick Melrose novels are Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, Mother's Milk (winner of the Prix Femina étranger and short-listed for the Man Booker Prize), and At Last. The series was made into a BAFTA Award–winning Sky Atlantic TV series starring Benedict Cumberbatch. St. Aubyn is also the author of A Clue to the Exit, On the Edge (short-listed for the Guardian Fiction Prize), Lost for Words (winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize), and Dunbar, his reimagining of King Lear for the Hogarth Shakespeare project.
“An entertaining cartwheel of a book with a glittering razor's edge.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times Book Review
“Everything St. Aubyn writes is worth reading for the cleansing rancor of his intelligence and the fierce elegance of his prose.” —Anne Enright, The New York Times Book Review
“Lost for Words is . . . a satirical romp that showcases . . . [St. Aubyn's] Waugh-like talent for comedy and his unsparing eye for people's pretensions and self-delusions.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“Lost for Words is a withering satire . . . a deliciously irreverent novel.” —Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
“Lost for Words is especially witty... a hilarious commentary on the dissonance between the daily lives of authors and how they are perceived publicly.” —Maddie Crum, Huffington Post
“Lost for Words... is an entertaining squib... [with] perfectly aimed satirical barbs.” —John Banville, The New York Review of Books
“St. Aubyn… executes his irony with phlegmatic and tightly controlled prose, underneath which lurks the trenchant exasperation of a veteran.” —Esther Yi, Los Angeles Review of Books
“[D]eeply eloquent writing… St. Aubyn's mastery of language--and the resonance it can hew--can't help but come through.” —Brian Gallagher, The Seattle Times
“Lost for Words is a withering satire... a deliciously irreverent novel.” —Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
“Lost for Words [is a] savage field report. ...The best and meanest parts of the book are its pitch-perfect parodies of fashionable genres...” —Eugenia Williamson, The Boston Globe
“[Lost for Words] contains some of the best writing we're likely to read this year.” —Hannah Beckerman, Huffington Post
“A light-footed romp and a notable taboo-buster… a frisky satire on modern literary manners and the funniest thing St. Aubyn has ever written.” —Sunday Telegraph
“St Aubyn's powers of observation are as sharp as ever.” —Henry Hitchings, Financial Times
“Lost for Words is a fizzing satire that neatly skewers all the contradictions of literary prize-giving… Lost for Words is very funny, but it also makes some serious points about what is good writing, who is best qualified to make judgments about it… [The Melrose novels] are the most extraordinary transmutation of personal horror into great art.” —Telegraph magazine
“[St. Aubyn is] an adept observer of the elite with a devastating talent for dialogue…” —Chicago Tribune
“Edward St. Aubyn is among the handful of the current giants of English fiction. He has always had an eye for the sort of satire that does not exclude compassion and understanding; now that eye is trained on the absurd world of awarding literary prizes. The results are hilarious!” —Edmund White
“A laugh-out-loud sendup of literary prizes . . . Both the author and the reader have great fun.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Lost for Words is a... jaunty, often hilarious farce... very, very funny.” —Alexander Benaim, Bookforum
“... St. Aubyn offers a hearty satire, full of laughs and groans.” —Mark Levine, Booklist
“St. Aubyn has a cut-glass prose style, a gift for unexpected metaphor, and a skewering eye... [He] is a conjurer, able to take that greasy deck of cards and make it perform tricks of a sort rarely seen anymore.” —The Atlantic
“A tangy jeu d'esprit... [St. Aubyn] is such a bitchy, brilliant prose writer that any impression this book is a mere scathing divertissement is amply compensated for by nearly every sentence.” —Metro