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The Long Corner by Alexander Maksik
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The Long Corner


Get for $14.99 with membership
Length 7 hours 51 minutes
Language English
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A bold novel about ambition, grief, creativity, beauty, and existential emptiness that retraces the arc of American life and culture in the first decades of the 21st century.

It is early 2017 in New York City, Donald Trump is President, and Solomon Fields, a young Jewish journalist-turned-advertising hack, finds himself disillusioned by the hollowness and conformity of American life and language. Once brimming with dreams and ideals instilled in him by his eternally bohemian grandmother, a survivor of the Holocaust who has dedicated her life to passion and pleasure, Sol now finds the senseless jargon he produces at work seeping into all aspects of the world around him—and most disturbingly, into the art that his beloved grandmother taught him to revere.

A personal tragedy drives Sol to leave New York and accept an invitation to The Coded Garden, an artists’ colony on a tropical island, whose mysterious patron, Sebastian Light, seems to offer the very escape Sol desperately needs. But the longer he remains in the Garden, the more Light comes to resemble Trump himself, and the games he plays with Sol become more dangerous. Slowly lines begin to blur—between reality and performance, sincerity and manipulation, art and life, beauty and emptiness—until Sol finds that he must question everything: his past, his convictions, and his very sanity.

“Alexander Maksik is a sorcerer of the first order."—Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies

Alexander Maksik is the author of three previous novels: You Deserve Nothing (Europa, 2011), a New York Times and IndieBound bestseller; A Marker to Measure Drift, which was a New York Times Notable Book; and Shelter in Place (Europa, 2016), named one of the best books of the year by the Guardian and the San Francisco Chronicle. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, and the Andrew Lytle Prize, as well as fellowships from the Truman Capote Literary Trust and the Corporation of Yaddo.

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Praise for The Long Corner

“Eerie and moving...compelling...It is finally an argument for the necessity of irony, risk and integrity in the production of art as in life.”—Will Stephenson, The New York Times Book Review

“While it’s imme­di­ate­ly clear that there’s some­thing less-than-whole­some going on at The Cod­ed Gar­den, Mak­sik, to his cred­it, keeps read­ers guess­ing exact­ly what that is...This ambi­gu­i­ty makes the nar­ra­tive par­tic­u­lar­ly com­pelling; it’s a hard book to put down.”—Jewish Book Council

“I really loved The Long Corner—it is funny, honest, and self-aware as it tries to figure out how to make and think about art.”—Lauren Elkin, writer and translator

“Maksik updates Fowles’ The Magus for the era of wellness, wealth and cultural impoverishment—a strange and haunting fable.”—Ayad Akhtar, author of Homeland Elegies, winner of the Pulitzer Prize 

The Long Corner is a sharp, witty and utterly engrossing novel about culture, kitsch, cynicism, and all the ways we corrupt what is most important to us. I laughed out loud, I couldn’t get enough of the characters, and I couldn’t put it down.”—Phil Klay, author of Missionaries and winner of the National Book Award

“Rarely does a novel so perfectly and delightfully encapsulate the madness of the time in which it is written. Maksik is masterful.”—Elliot Ackerman, author of Red Dress in Black and White

“Alexander Maksik is one of the most talented and versatile novelists of his generation…The Long Corner sees a disenchanted writer from New York invited to an artist’s colony on a tropical island. What seems at first like an idyll from the politics of Trump’s America turns into its own kind of nightmare.”—Geordie Williamson, The Australian

The Long Corner is such a pleasurable novel that you almost don't notice how unsettling it is. It is a wonderfully written, probing book about power, passions, legacies and ways of seeing…Page by page The Long Corner asks us—with the deep resonance of all unfettered art—what one of Maksik’s brilliant characters calls the ‘most popular question in New York City’: What do you do?”—Jonathan Lee, author of High Dive and The Great Mistake

“Both touching and comedic…even when it is hilarious, the stakes are significant: The Long Corner confronts the orthodoxy of authenticity as it dismantles questions about the creative act.”—Matthew Barney, artist

The Long Corner may be the world’s weirdest page-turner. The narrator’s incandescent intimacy with his grandmother, his preposterous encounters with artists (and “artists,” and money,) and the bleakness of his Late Capitalist Manhattan existence unspool in Maksik’s seductive novel— as propulsive as it is surreal.”—Ariel Levy, author of Female Chauvinist Pigs and The Rules Do Not Apply

“[A]n enigmatic literary top that continues to spin after the last page…a triumph of sophisticated art.”—The Forward

“My little English major heart fluttered all the way through this one. It had me yelling across the apartment to my partner as mysteries were uncovered, characters were betrayed, edens set on fire. Perfect for a deep-thinking book club, I guarantee you won’t be able to keep your thoughts to yourself.”—Little Village Magazine

“A scathing satire...Readers will revel in the riotous upending of a self-absorbed personality.”—Publishers Weekly

Praise for Alexander Maksik

“Unsettling and honest, a remarkably insightful portrait of mental illness, Shelter in Place is elegiac, savage and mournful, a beautifully written novel about the echoes of our actions, of love and its consequences.”—Aminatta Forna, author of The Hired Man and The Memory of Love

Shelter in Place takes a brilliant look at the fractured, jagged nature of masculinity, at how gender warps consciousness in ways we struggle and fail to understand.”—Merritt Tierce, author of Love Me Back 

“There’s something truly exhilarating about reading a novel that's so audaciously original, so inventive and let's be honest, so sort of weird that you want to put it in the hands of just about everyone you know.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Maksik has an expansive and affecting vision of human capacity.”—The New York Times

"Sensual, musical...Shelter in Place is as unquestionably brilliant as it is painful; a rare meditation on mania, depression, and the rage of youth.”—The Huffington Post

“A fever dream of a novel…So compelling and visceral that one rushes until the fever breaks, dazed and haunted by its power.”––Chicago Tribune, Editor’s Choice, on A Marker to Measure Drift

“Haunting and sensual, Maksik’s prose deftly intertwines the tenderness and torment of memory with the hard reality of searching for sustenance and shelter.”––Harper’s on A Marker to Measure 

“Beautiful...It will leave you breathless and speechless; it will send you reeling.”––The San Francisco Chronicle on A Marker to Measure 

“Immensely powerful... Beautifully written.”––The Boston Globe on A Marker to Measure 

“Moving, painful and beautiful. It will change you.”––Booklist on A Marker to Measure 

★ “A moving, deeply felt and lyrical novel.”––Kirkus (Starred Review) on A Marker to Measure 

“Luminous.”––Winnipeg Free Press on A Marker to Measure 

“Alexander Maksik deftly evokes the beauty and pathos of Paris, and the story of Will, Gilad and Marie—each compelled towards moral and sexual awakening—
is at once dark and luminous. This is a book to be read all at once with a glass of wine in a café or a cup of tea while tucked safely in bed.”—A.M. Homes, author of May We Be Forgiven on You Deserve Nothing 

★ “Intelligent and intellectual, this is both a tribute to brilliant teachers and a cautionary tale of their imperfections.”—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review), on You Deserve Nothing

You Deserve Nothing…is the enduring story of the clash of the personal moral codes we mouth and the private and hidden imperatives that compel us. Alexander Maksik depicts it fearlessly—and brilliantly, with graceful exactitude.”—The Daily Beast

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