American Purgatory


American Purgatory

Originally uploaded by heretakis

A mesmerizing first novel about a man, a woman, and a disappearance.

“I’m from Chicago originally. I went to New York, married a girl named Anne, and was in the middle of living happily ever after when something happened.”

So begins John Haskell’s mesmerizing first novel, American Purgatorio, the story of a happily married man who discovers, as he walks out of a convenience store, that his life has suddenly vanished. In cool, precise prose, written as both a detective story and a meditation on the seven deadly sins, Haskell tells a story that is by turns tragic and comic, compassionate and gripping. From the brownstones of New York City to the sandy beaches of Southern California, American Purgatorio follows the journey of a man whose object of desire is both heartbreaking and ephemeral. It confirms John Haskell’s reputation as one of our most intriguing new writers, “one of those rare authors who makes language seem limitless in its possibilities” (Susan Reynolds, Los Angeles Times).

John Haskell is the author of a short-story collection, I Am Not Jackson Pollock (FSG, 2003). His work has appeared in Granta, The Paris Review, Conjunctions and Ploughshares. He is a contributor to the radio show The Next Big Thing. He lives in Brooklyn.

Picador Publications/Papyros Publications 2009

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