The Novelist: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

A debut novel irrefutably of its time and far ahead of it simultaneously. Told over the course of a single morning, The Novelist follows a writer who must overcome the confines of the algorithm in a world obsessed with itself and the instant gratification of perpetual scrolling. Tao Lin sums it up in one word: "Succulent." No doubt.

— Riley


Brisk and shockingly witty, exuberantly scatological as well as deeply wise, The Novelist is a delight. Jordan Castro is a rare new talent: an author highly attuned to the traditions he is working within while also offering a refreshingly fun sendup of life beset by the endless scroll. —Mary South, author of You Will Never Be Forgotten

In Jordan Castro’s inventive, funny, and surprisingly tender first novel, we follow a young man over the course of a single morning as he tries and fails to write an autobiographical novel, finding himself instead drawn into the infinite spaces of Twitter, quotidian rituals, and his own mind.
The act of making coffee prompts a reflection on the limits of self-knowledge; an editor’s embarrassing tweet sparks rage at the literary establishment; a meditation on first person versus third examines choice and action; an Instagram post about the ethics of having children triggers mimetic rivalry; the act of doing the dishes is at once ordinary and profound: one of the many small commitments that make up a life of stability.
The Novelist: A Novel pays tribute to Nicholson Baker’s The Mezzanine and Thomas Bernhard’s Woodcutters, but in the end is a wholly original novel about language and consciousness, the internet and social media, and addiction and recovery.

About the Author

Jordan Castro is the author of two poetry books and the former editor of New York Tyrant Magazine. He is from Cleveland, Ohio. The Novelist is his first novel.

Praise For…

"Very funny . . . [A] critique of his, and our, collectively frayed attention." —Maddie Crum, Vulture

"Part journal and part novel . . . An interesting peek into one specific life." —Sam Franzini, The Daily Nexus

"The entire plot, or lack thereof, unspools over the course of a few hours. It's a clever conceit that Castro executes with disarming sincerity, exploring his narrator’s quotidian mundanities and interior life with reverence and precision . . . Where The Novelist most succeeds is in its use of tropes of the genre to transcend the genre, pushing its premise to some logical limit, stopping just short of the cliff over which the project might fall into a satirical abyss." —Gideon Jacobs, Interview

"An engaging reflection on the anxieties of writing autofiction, and of the genre as it exists today . . . The Novelist shines—not only in its exploration of the conventions of the genre, but in [Castro's] experimentation with it as well . . . A highly self-aware novel." —Joshua Vigil, Chicago Review of Books

"Critical yet big-hearted, and always self-questioning and humorous." —Juliet Escoria, BOMB

"Bitingly funny [and] scatalogically exuberant . . . Castro’s inhalable first novel manages to be both an uncanny reflection of our collective fragmented attention spans, and such a strong, cohesive narrative that I read it straight through . . . A generous portrait of what it takes to be truly creative, rather than reactive or imitative. With The Novelist, Castro reveals the ways in which inspiration is never the single lightning bolt we wish it would be; it needs to be teased out and encouraged, given space to grow louder and louder, until we can’t ignore its buzz and brilliance." —Kristin Iversen, Just Circling Back

"Compact, brilliant, and very funny . . . Castro has committed the unlikely act of attending to his art while including its corruption, a tradition all its own, thus making it all the more contemporary and comedic." —Scott Cheshire, The Brooklyn Rail

"A hilarious satire about trying to write a novel. It’s an inventive insight into the creative life that is completely binge-worthy." —Adam Vitcavage, Debutiful

"This is a confident, unique take on autofiction, a form that lends itself well to Castro’s focus on the endless distractions of modern life, and it is hilarious and enthralling, to boot." —Booklist

"[Castro's] quotidian miniaturism bears the influence of Nicholson Baker and Lucy Ellmann . . . A confident and surprising chronicle." —Publishers Weekly

"Genuinely clever . . . Deadpan and scatological." —Kirkus Reviews

"Brisk and shockingly witty, exuberantly scatological as well as deeply wise, The Novelist is a delight. Jordan Castro is a rare new talent: an author highly attuned to the traditions he is working within while also offering a refreshingly fun sendup of life beset by the endless scroll." —Mary South, author of You Will Never Be Forgotten

“No vacuous fad nor commonplace hypocrisy is safe from Jordan Castro. With prose as relentless as it is rhythmic, The Novelist gouges into the status-quo, laying bare the futility of both art and meaningful subversion against a culture of narcissism and instant gratification. Among his biting social commentaries, Castro weaves in shards of unabashed earnestness, even of rue, all of which culminate in a poignant meditation on the creative impulse. The Novelist not only establishes Castro as a fresh force to be reckoned with, but one with rare heart, too.” —Jakob Guanzon, author of Abundance, longlisted for the National Book Award

“I admire the ingenious invention of The Novelist, in which an unnamed writer struggles to write his book, begins to write another book, and ultimately writes this book, which is blunt, earnest, scatological, self-critical, provocative, philosophical, and very fun to read.” —Kathryn Scanlan, author of The Dominant Animal

“Jordan Castro brilliantly manipulates time and perception in The Novelist: A Novel. Prescient, funny, and deeply uncanny, this is a wholly unique book about distractions, digressions, and what it means to make art and live meaningfully while trapped in the bright, narcotic thrall of social media.” —Kimberly King Parsons, author of Black Light

“This book, better than any other I know, shows how creation emerges from the nothingness of our culture. A hilarious and important novel.” —Michael W. Clune, author of Gamelife and White Out: The Secret Life of Heroin
Product Details
ISBN: 9781593767136
ISBN-10: 1593767137
Publisher: Soft Skull
Publication Date: June 14th, 2022
Pages: 208
Language: English