Join us for an evening with debut Chicago author, Adam Levin, as he discusses his novel, The Instructions.
Beginning with a chance encounter with the beautiful Eliza June Watermark and ending four days later with the Events of November 17, this is the story of Gurion Maccabee, age ten: a lover, a fighter, a scholar, and a truly spectacular talker. Ejected from three Jewish day schools for acts of violence and messianic tendencies, Gurion ends up in the Cage, a special lockdown program for the most hopeless cases of Aptakisic Junior High. Separated from his scholarly followers, Gurion becomes a leader of a very different sort, with righteous aims building to a revolution of troubling intensity.
The Instructions is an absolutely singular work of fiction by an important new talent. Combining the crackling voice of Philip Roth with the encyclopedic mind of David Foster Wallace, Adam Levin has shaped a world driven equally by moral fervor and slapstick comedy—a novel that is muscular and rollicking, troubling and empathetic, monumental, breakneck, romantic, and unforgettable.
Adam Levin’s stories have appeared in Tin House, McSweeney’s, and Esquire. Winner of the 2003 Tin House/Summer Literary Seminars Fiction Contest and the 2004 Joyce Carol Oates Fiction Prize, Levin holds an MA in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago and an MFA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. His collection of short stories, Hot Pink, will be published by McSweeney’s in 2011. He lives in Chicago, where he teaches writing at Columbia College and The School of the Art Institute.
This event is free and open to the public. Co-sponsored by The Book Table and the Oak Park Public Library.
The Instructions is one of Jason's staff recommendations: "First of all, don't be scared of its size. Because the novel takes places over four days and is told (almost entirely) from one voice, it's a much smaller and intimate novel than its girth would make you believe. I found it impossible to not be converted to the cause of the 10-year-old potential messiah as he justifies each of his seemingly unjustifiable actions. This is a novel about power and appalling violence, but it's filled with so many cute and tender moments and such a variety of humor, from a brilliant dissertation on the word "combover," to a hilarious response to the narrator's fan letter to Philip Roth, to several scenes of physical comedy that would make Laurel & Hardy proud. This is a masterly conceived debut and will be a topic of discussion for decades to come."
"So sprawling is this debut novel that the galley came into the book room in two bound volumes. The Chicago author, whose 1,000-plus-page story is about a juvenile delinquent with messianic tendencies who starts a revolution, is being compared to the late David Foster Wallace."--Chicago Sun-Times
"One of the buzziest books of the fall."--The Stranger (Seattle)
One of New York Magazine's 20 most anticipated books of the Fall.