A dreamy and adrenaline-fueled new novel from a two-time Granta Best Young Novelist
Lurid & Cute is a kind of machine for the reader's corruption. It opens with all the things we've come to expect of Adam Thirlwell-"the playfulness of language, the way the mandarin wit, line by line, consorts with grisly or louche material," as Jeffrey Eugenides has said-when the narrator wakes confused in a seedy hotel room. He has had the good education, and also the good job. Together with his wife and dog, he lives at home with his parents. But then the lurid overtakes him-a chain of events that feels to those inside it narcotic and neurotic, like one long and terrible descent: complete with lies, deceit, and chicanery, and including, in escalating order, one orgy, one brothel, and a series of firearms disputes.
Lurid & Cute balances the complexity of an interior world-our hero's apparently innocent obsessions with food, old movies, and all the gaudy, shoddy building blocks of pop culture-with a picaresque plot delivered with expert, insidious pacing. For very possibly this is the story of a woebegone and global generation. And our hero, the sweetest narrator in world literature, also may well be the most fearsome.
It's the most sophisticated and gruesome novel from an author celebrated for his precocious talents, and it will leave you feeling like you've been on one hell of a bender.
About the Author
Adam Thirlwell was born in London in 1978. He is the author of the novels Politics and The Escape; the novella Kapow!; a project about international novels, The Delighted States, which won a Somerset Maugham Award; and of a compendium of translations edited for McSweeney’s. He has twice been selected as one of Granta’s Best Young Novelists. His work has been translated into thirty languages. He lives in London.
“Isn't that what we're looking for in the fiction we read . . . the world rarified by art, yet kept down to earth. This is what I feel is happening in Thirlwell's new fiction, and I can't wait to read more.” —Jeffrey Eugenides
“A wittily observant young author . . . Audacious.” —Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Review of Books
“A witty, irreverent, and elegiac new novel.” —The New York Times Book Review on The Escape
“A novel where the humor is melancholic, the melancholy mischievous, and the talent startling.” —Milan Kundera on The Escape
“A prodigy . . . Thirlwell's book shoves its delirious way around and through four centuries of great novelists, tumbles them down one trapdoor and hauls them out of another; it provokes as much as evokes . . . A treasure.” —The New York Times on The Delighted States
“Raises questions that are vital to novelists and their readers; it will be hard for anyone with an interest in the subject to keep from defiling the margins with notes.” —The Wall Street Journals on The Delighted States