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Flatscreen Cover


By Adam Wilson

Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780062090331, 330pp.

Publication Date: February 21, 2012


Flatscreen tells the story of Eli Schwartz as he endures the loss of his home, the indifference of his parents, the success of his older brother, and the cruel and frequent dismissal of the opposite sex. He is a loser par excellencepasty, soft, and highwho struggles to become a new person in a world where nothing is new.

Into this scene of apathy rolls Seymour J. Kahn. Former star of the small screen and current paraplegic sex addict, Kahn has purchased Elis old family home. The two begin a dangerous friendship, one that distracts from their circumstances but speeds their descent into utter debasement and, inevitably, YouTube stardom.

By storys end, through unlikely acts of courage and kindness, roles will be reversed, reputations resurrected, and charges (hopefully) dropped. Adam Wilson writes mischief that moves the heart, and Flatscreen marks the wondrous debut of a truth-telling comic voice.

Praise For Flatscreen

“…immensely satisfying … Wilson has created a thoroughly lovable slacker, part hilarious, part poignant.”
-New Yorker

“Comic novelist Adam Wilson makes his swaggering debut in Flatscreen.”
-Vanity Fair

“Eli’s narration in Flatscreen is darkly funny…”
-Entertainment Weekly

“Wilson’s prose is original and arresting … he approaches, in his loftier moments, the tortured grace of George Saunders. This is Cheever on Xanax, or maybe lithium, but the voice is still there; sardonic, hilarious, and very much of our time. Wilson is a writer to watch.”
-Daily Beast

“Five things we emphatically endorse this month … a laugh-out-loud literary debut …”

“If you smashed The Catcher in the Rye into Jesus’ Son, you might have something quite close to Flatscreen, a narrative of wayward youth for our beguiled new century on the brink of a discovery we might not welcome.”

“A fine debut from Wilson.”
-New York Post

“Wilson gives us something depressingly hilarious and undeniably real....Low-level angst is still angst, and Wilson captures it perfectly.”
-Time Out New York

‘’…hilarious and edgy…”
-Baltimore Sun

“Perverse, subversive, and hilariously outrageous, the book delivers memorable characters, a rollicking plot, and a new voice that comes across as anything but flat.”
-Barnes and Noble Review

“Wilson expertly crafts explosively hilarious scenes ranging from a Viagra/Oxycontin/cocaine-driven meltdown during a high school football game to the complete destruction of what might have been a reasonably pleasant Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends.”

“Wilson’s sharp, heartrending prose is captivating and comically laced, and an ultimately satisfying read.”
-Jewish Book Council

“Wilson pulls you in with smart, self-deprecating comedy, and you never see the sting that’s coming. Through the seemingly-familiar prism of a disaffected young man wandering through his Massachusetts hometown, Wilson examines questions of class, intimacy, and our relationship to the media that surrounds us every day.”
-L Magazine

“Sure, it’s another chubby stoner loser protagonist who is forced to turn into a real person when he gets irritating real-world problems dumped on his lap, but Adam Wilson does it with special aplomb.”

“An auspicious debut that promises, in Wilson, a standout addition to a new generation of writers.”
-Booklist (starred review)

“Rollicking…Comedy and pathos abound in Seymour’s absurdist world, and in Eli’s fantasies of a better life that come in the form of hilariously familiar cinematic scenarios in which, for instance, the screwup becomes the star chef. Fans of Jack Pendarvis and Sam Lipsyte will enjoy Wilson’s fresh, fantastical perspective…”
-Publishers Weekly

“A frequently funny subversion of the coming-of-age story…the voice is strong and the characters indelible…”
-Kirkus Reviews

Flatscreen is a bleakly funny and totally outrageous debut from an exciting new writer. Adam Wilson has written the slacker novel to end all slacker novels.”
-Tom Perrotta

“OMFG, I nearly up and died from laughter when I read Flatscreen. This is the novel that every young turk will be reading on their way to a job they hate and are in fact too smart for.”
-Gary Shteyngart

“Adam Wilson delivers rapid fire prose that is distinctively intelligent, hilarious, artful, and perverse. While never failing to entertain, Flatscreen stealthily exposes the psychic abyss that haunts every fit of laughter. A dark jewel of a book.”
-Heidi Julavits

Flatscreen is the sort of novel we’ve heard nobody is able to write anymore: erudite and hilarious, raunchy and topical, and flat-out fun. Nicholson Baker meets Barthleme with a dash of Nabokov….[B]uy this altogether magical book.”
-Darin Strauss

“Adam Wilson struts into that dark destination of post-high-school misery and emerges with a story full of energy and hilarity and emotion. What a great read!”
-Deb Olin Unferth

“Adam Wilson is a gutsy, funny, and often beautiful writer, and Flatscreen is one of the most hilarious and commanding debuts I’ve read in a long time.”
-Sam Lipsyte

“[Wilson’s] prose is relentless, and his world view is on fire. Flatscreen is a wickedly funny, absurdly engaging debut. I’d recommend it for fans of Sam Lipsyte and anyone looking for an unconventional coming-of-age story.”
-Jami Attenberg