Helen DeWitt

Helen DeWitt

Author of The Last Samurai and Lightning Rods, “Helen Dewitt knows, in descending order of proficiency, Latin, ancient Greek, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Arabic, Hebrew, and Japanese: ‘The self is a set of linguistic patterns,’ she said. ‘Reading and speaking in another language is like stepping into an alternate history of yourself where all the bad connotations are gone’ (New York Magazine).”

Some Trick

Fiction by Helen DeWitt

For sheer unpredictable brilliance, Gogol may come to mind, but no author alive today takes a reader as far as Helen DeWitt into the funniest, most far-reaching dimensions of possibility. Her jumping-off points might be statistics, romance, the art world’s piranha tank, games of chance and games of skill, the travails of publishing, or success. “Look,” a character begins to explain, laying out some gambit reasonably enough, even in the face of situations spinning out to their utmost logical extremes, where things prove “more complicated than they had first appeared” and “at 3 a.…
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The Last Samurai

Fiction by Helen DeWitt

Helen DeWitt’s 2000 debut, The Last Samurai, was “destined to become a cult classic” (Miramax). The enterprising publisher sold the rights in twenty countries, so “Why not just, ‘destined to become a classic?’” (Garth Risk Hallberg) And why must cultists tell the uninitiated it has nothing to do with Tom Cruise? Sibylla, an American-at-Oxford turned loose on London, finds herself trapped as a single mother after a misguided one-night stand. High-minded principles of child-rearing work disastrously well.…
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Lightning Rods

Fiction by Helen DeWitt

Helen DeWitt’s follow-up to her critically accalimed debut novel The Last Samurai arrives with a bang, ready to take on the complex issues surrounding sexual tension in the workplace with a wicked dose of satire and humor. Joe is a down-and-out salesman who spends most of his time sitting around his trailer in Florida fantasizing about women. But one afternoon a particularly strange fantasy turns into a life-changing epiphany. Suddenly he knows how to curtail sexual harassment in the office and increase productivity.…
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At times I’ve thought of “geniuses” as those lucky individuals who turn out to have a destiny, one they can convince themselves and many others of at once. To me, DeWitt is an exception: No matter the vicissitudes of the publishing industry, she remains the real deal.

—Hannah Gold, Village Voice

DeWitt’s bracing experiments are risks worth taking.

—Madeleine Schwartz, Dissent

Brilliant and inimitable Helen DeWitt: patron saint of anyone in the world who has to deal with the crap of those in power who do a terrible job with their power, and who make those who are under their power utterly miserable. Certain stories have something in common with dreams: they’re expressions of the creator’s wish-fulfillment. Helen DeWitt’s wishes are distinct in American literature — in world literature, as far as I know.

—Sheila Heti, Electric Literature

There is much madness in DeWitt’s method, a madness of pure logic. Hilarious.

—Hermione Hoby, The New York Times Book Review

Ruthlessly honest about the sausage making of literary production … DeWitt’s stories are devastatingly specific, and yet they serve as broad parables about the inevitability of being misunderstood, both as an artist and as a person.

Paris Review Daily

DeWitt is the sort of artist that doesn’t back away from her vision, and she takes the reader with her. A polyglot with a PhD in Classics from Oxford, DeWitt wields an immense intellect that, in each of her books, she uses to cynically delight her readers.

Los Angeles Review of Books

A tremendous novel. DeWitt is one of the most interesting writers working in the English language today.

—David Flusfeder

Fiercely intelligent, very funny and unlike anything else I’ve ever read.

—Mark Haddon

DeWitt’s stories are comic and intricate, and cut against the grain of current American fiction in the best of ways.

—Christian Lorentzen, Vulture

DeWitt pushes against the limitations of the novel as a form; reading her, one wants to push against the limitations of one’s own brain.

—Miranda Popkey, The Paris Review

An intellectual powerhouse, laugh-out-loud funny in unexpected ways.

—Ilana Teitelbaum, The Huffington Post

Her books assert (and often attest) that a work of fiction can encompass many kind of knowledge–probability theory, scatterplots of data, tables of non-Roman alphabets–without compromising its form.

—Lindsay Gail, Los Angeles Review of Books

DeWitt’s fiction is lethal, limitless, and economical. She has more fun on the page than most.

The Rumpus

DeWitt pushes against the limitations of the novel as a form; reading her, one wants to push against the limitations of one’s own brain.

The Paris Review

A triumph—a genuinely new story, a genuinely new form.

—A. S. Byatt, The New Yorker

The most well-executed literary sex comedy in ages.

Salon

An absurdist comedy of the American workplace and the indignities faced by employees in today’s turbo-capitalism, a quietly seething feminist critique of pornography and the commodification of women, and a category-defying fable about the meaninglessness of success.

—David Annand, The Telegraph

A tightly disciplined and extremely funny satire on office politics, sexual politics, American politics, and the art of positive thinking.

The Guardian

[Helen DeWitt] tunes into the contemporary American idiom and its corporate-speak with perfect pitch.

The Rumpus

DeWitt is a brutal humorist…uproariously funny.

The Wall Street Journal

It so emphatically aces the tasks it sets for itself, and delivers such a jolt of pleasure along the way, that it reminds me of just how major a minor work can be… At any rate, as one of her endearingly flummoxed characters might say, I literally cannot wait to see what she does next.

—Garth Risk Hallberg, The Millions

DeWitt’s wickedly smart satire deserves to be a classic.

Bookforum
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