By Daniel Handler
Ecco, Hardcover, 9780060724412, 288pp.
Publication Date: April 1, 2006
List Price: $23.95*
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I am Daniel Handler, the author of this book. Did you know that authors often write the summaries that appear on their book's dust jacket? You might want to think about that the next time you read something like, "A dazzling page-turner, this novel shows an internationally acclaimed storyteller at the height of his astonishing powers."
Adverbs is a novel about love -- a bunch of different people, in and out of different kinds of love. At the start of the novel, Andrea is in love with David -- or maybe it's Joe -- who instead falls in love with Peter in a taxi. At the end of the novel, it's Joe who's in the taxi, falling in love with Andrea, although it might not be Andrea, or in any case it might not be the same Andrea, as Andrea is a very common name. So is Allison, who is married to Adrian in the middle of the novel, although in the middle of the ocean she considers a fling with Keith and also with Steve, whom she meets in an automobile, unless it's not the same Allison who meets the Snow Queen in a casino, or the same Steve who meets Eddie in the middle of the forest. . . .
It might sound confusing, but that's love, and as the author -- me -- says, "It is not the nouns. The miracle is the adverbs, the way things are done." This novel is about people trying to find love in the ways it is done before the volcano erupts and the miracle ends. Yes, there's a volcano in the novel. In my opinion a volcano automatically makes a story more interesting.
"This lovely, lilting book...dramatizes love's cross-purposes with panache."
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"The stories are clever, unsettling, confusing, and often brilliantly moving."
"Daniel Handler [is] something like an American Nabokov."
"Brilliantly kooky and off-kilter."
-Cleveland Plain Dealer
"[Handler] oozes wit and he's an astute social observer. The book's offbeat sweetness charms."