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Laura Warholic or, The Sexual Intellectual

Details for this: Book
Author: Alexander Theroux
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 824
Dimensions: 6" x 9"
Colors: n/a
Year: 2007
Publisher: Fantagraphics
ISBN-10: 1-56097-798-1
ISBN-13: 978-1-56097-798-8
Additional Details: n/a

Price: $29.95


In his first novel in nearly twenty years, Alexander Theroux, National Book Award Nominee, returns with a compendious satire, a bold and inquisitorial circuit-breaking examination of love and hate, of rejection and forgiveness, of trust and romantic disappointment, of the terrors of contemporary life. Eugene Eyestones, an erudite sex columnist for a Boston cultural magazine, becomes enmeshed in the messy life of a would-be artist named Laura Warholic, who, repulsing and fascinating him at the same time, becomes a mirror in which he not only sees himself but through which he is forced to face his own demons. Not only does she inadvertently supply him with material for his columns, but she exemplifies all that Eugene considers wrong with contemporary America (of which the publishing profession and its recognizable denizens serves as a microcosm) — a garish and dunce-filled Babylon that Theroux scorches with inventive and relentless satire. Nostalgic for the old days and old manners, a way of life lost to grace, loving from afar a mysterious beauty named Rapunzel Wisht, Eugene fights against the rising tide of stupidity, focusing on Laura in the hope that by saving her he can validate his ethical beliefs. But feckless Laura and the colorful but bizarre cast of characters surrounding Eugene — brilliant bigots, nihilists, Generation-X slackers and zanies of all sexual persuasions — threaten to pull him under, leading to the novel's unforgettable conclusion, a climax of betrayal and redemption of Dostoevskyan power. As in all of Theroux's works, his maximalist and pyrotechnic prose style and searching intellect are the chief attractions, capable of outrageous comedy, nuanced philosophical discussions, winsome love scenes, flame-throwing tirades, subtle theological musings, and an unflinching genius for a profound if merciless look at the human condition. Horrifying and hilarious, damning and demanding, Laura Warholic in its uncompromising power will surely be one of the most talked-about novels of the season, and for years to come.

24-page excerpt (download PDF):

"[Laura Warholic] is brilliantly written." – Norman Mailer

"Eugene Eyestones, Quink magazine's lonelyhearts, is a closet lover, and like Fibber McGee, he opens the closet at great peril. Lacking courage to approach the dazzling Rapunzel Wisht (he 'was so bewitched by her that he almost could not count his hands'), he becomes a companion and confident to the repellently needy Laura Warholic. Fleeing Boston, they motor deeper into the circles of American distraction than any couple since Humbert and Lolita. Alexander Theroux's first novel in 20 years is as smart, funny, outlandish, angry, and moving as we expect, and more accessibly riveting than we dreamed. The breadth of cultural references, high and low, is matched by the miraculous pageant of linguistic precision. Yet for all its virtuoso delirium, Laura Warholic is foremost a meditation on the unrequited ache of love. Barbara Cartland, eat your heart out." – Gary Giddins

"Not since William Gaddis's The Recognitions has a novel addressed the fallen present with such anger, love, and eloquence. Theroux writes with a vehemence that grows out of affection, an assertion of value phrased as an attack." – Paul Maliszewski, BookForum

"[Laura Warholic is] a work that screams 'literary event.' Theroux takes up a signature theme, thwarted love. Undeniably funny and compelling, linguistically and intellectually dazzling, as well as offensive and outrageously prolix, Theroux's spiky catchall satire of the myriad ills of contemporary culture and the divide between idealized love and unbridled lust grinds and thrashes its way to an obliterating conclusion." – Booklist

"Mad, erudite, word-drunk, Rabelaisian, Joycean, Sternean." – Anthony Burgess

"It is hard to imagine finding all these sentences in any other mind." – Smithsonian Magazine

"Theroux writes 'maximalist' fiction, which prizes wide learning, pique, and sheer hard work in his fiction, as opposed to the flat-chested minimalism of Bobbie Ann Mason and Raymond Carver." – James DeRossit

"I must confess at the outset that I love Alexander Theroux's work as I love no other." – Steven Moore

"A massive compendium of vituperation against contemporary society, jabs at pop culture, exposés of office politics, and exploration of life and love in modern times... a funny, sad and original satire of our funny, sad contemporary culture." – Rain Taxi

"Fiercely intelligent, frustrating, disturbing, wonderful, dawdling, horrible and ultimately didactic." – The Washington Post

"Ulysses, Midnight Cowboy and Lenny Bruce's comedy were all labeled obscene until enough time had passed that wider audiences began to see the works as brilliant. I wonder if the same will hold true of Alexander Theroux's new novel... A remarkable achievement, a bombastic, squirm-inducing and belief-rattling satire on political correctness shown through the lens of a sexless love story... bad company worth keeping." – The Believer

Links to Reviews and Features

FREE download of Chapter 1! (PDF format) (259,01 KB)

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