The multilingual author, known for her novels The Last Samurai and Lightning Rods, demonstrates her intellectual prowess in this thought-provoking debut collection. These 13 tales, which push the boundaries of fiction, center on misunderstood geniuses and manage to combine complex mathematical theories with razor-sharp wit—no easy achievement.

Time

At last a new book: a baker’s dozen of stories all with Helen DeWitt’s razor-sharp genius

Available May 29, 2018

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 yonder 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 if facing a world of boomeranging counterfactuals, situations spinning out to their utmost logical extremes, and Rube Goldberg-like moving parts, where things prove “more complicated than they had first appeared” and “at 3 a.m. the circumstances seem to attenuate.” In various ways, each tale carries DeWitt’s signature poker-face lament regarding the near-impossibility of the life of the mind when one is made to pay to have the time for it, in a world so sadly “taken up with all sorts of paraphernalia superfluous, not to say impedimental, to ratiocination.”

Your Independent Bookstore Barnes & Noble

Clothbound (published May 29, 2018)

ISBN
9780811227827
Price US
22.95
Price CN
29.95
Trim Size
5 x 8
Page Count
224

(published May 29, 2018)

ISBN
9780811227834

Helen DeWitt

American writer

The multilingual author, known for her novels The Last Samurai and Lightning Rods, demonstrates her intellectual prowess in this thought-provoking debut collection. These 13 tales, which push the boundaries of fiction, center on misunderstood geniuses and manage to combine complex mathematical theories with razor-sharp wit—no easy achievement.

Time

DeWitt reasserts herself as one of contemporary fiction’s greatest minds in this dazzling collection of stories about misunderstood genius. DeWitt’s disdain for those who seek to profit off of genius is sharp and refreshing, and her ability to deliver such astounding prose and thought-provoking stories constitutes a minor miracle. This is a gem of a collection.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

DeWitt’s wide-ranging intellect makes these stories, but it’s her sense of humor and profound humanity that make them work. She approaches her weirdos and screw-ups with keen-eyed honesty but also with sincere affection. And the first story, “Brutto,” has one of the most satisfying closing lines ever. This collection has many delights, but it’s worth picking up just for that.

Kirkus (starred review)

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