The Answer Is Always Yes
By Monica Ferrell
The Dial Press, Hardcover, 9780385339292, 400pp.
Publication Date: May 20, 2008
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This darkly exuberant debut novel—by turns a fierce, funny coming-of-age story and a teasing work of literary suspense—traces the precipitous rise and fall of a teenage impresario at the zenith of the New York club scene.
Matthew Acciaccatura of Teaneck, New Jersey, begins his freshman year at NYU in the fall of 1995 with one goal in mind: to become cool. A former high school outcast, used to lumbering the hallways alone in oversize turtlenecks, Matt seems an unlikely candidate for such a transformation. Yet by dint of effort he lands the coveted position of promoter at one of the hottest clubs in New York in the heyday of rave music and Ecstasy. However, as “Magic” Matt rises to fame, portents of tragedy begin to appear, literally in the margins of the story. Footnotes from one Dr. Hans Mannheim, an imprisoned German academic obsessed with Matt’s dangerous trajectory, suggest that Matt is not as in control of his destiny as he might appear….
A gorgeously written archetypal tale of self-discovery (and self-deception) and a love letter to the enduring possibilities of New York City, The Answer Is Always Yes will keep readers guessing until its explosive climax.
Monica Ferrell’s poems have appeared in the New York Review of Books, Paris Review, and other magazines, and her first collection, Beast for the Chase, was published in 2008. A former “Discovery”/The Nation winner and Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, she lives in Brooklyn. This is her first novel.
"Here is a brainy, heartfelt, continuously inventive novel on a theme we know very well from life and hardly at all from fiction: the wish to be cool. It's impossible not to assent to The Answer is Always Yes."—Benjamin Kunkel, author of Indecision
"From the smoke and mirrors of the New York club scene emerges Magic Matt, the Jay Gatsby of his generation. This painfully unpopular young man's fierce determination to reinvent himself as the hippest kid at NYU is, by turns, darkly comic and profoundly tragic. The Answer Is Always Yes is a stellar coming-of-age novel with a nifty, sinister postmodern twist. And it's a terrific read; an eloquent page-turner. How's that for some kind of wonderful?"—Binnie Kirshenbaum, author of An Almost Perfect Moment, and A Disturbance In One Place
"Fierce and wildly original—Monica Ferrell is a thrilling new voice."—Nick Flynn, author of Bullshit Night in Suck City
"Packed with poetry and humor, this dazzlingly written first novel unearths the sorrow behind that strange American sickness, the pursuit of cool. Like the city they eulogize, Ferrell's sentences teem with beauty and ambition—you want to linger at every turn."—Eric Puchner, author of Music Through the Floor
“A pyrotechnic debut…. The protagonist and prose recall the Richard Fariña/Tom Robbins school of writing.”—Kirkus Reviews
"Exquisite...[Ferrell's] exuberant narration evokes her likable protagonist's world."—New Yorker
"Irresistibly readable, Ferrell's first novel is a triumph not only of setting but also of voice, tone, and attitude...Gorgeously written, beautifully imagined, and wonderfully spot-on."—Booklist, starred review
"Ferrell is a good writer who understands hipster anxiety and the aspirations that New York manufactures with every generation."—Time Out
“A stylized and exuberantly written debut novel.” —Publishers Weekly