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Cover for Captives


Todd Hasak-Lowy


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Daniel Bloom will either fix our broken world in his imagination or destroy his real life trying.

A sniper is taking down suits and politicians—in Daniel Bloom’s head.

Bloom is the kind of guy who ends most social gatherings with an alternately raging and despairing conversation about The State of the World. And recently things have taken a turn for the worse. His marriage is on the rocks, his teenage son is becoming increasingly unknowable, and his sense of hopeless impotence has reached a stage of spiritual crisis that's no longer a matter of vapid dinner-party conversation.

So he decamps to his home office to work on his fifteenth screenplay, this time about a federal agent and a nameless assassin. The assassin is a sniper who targets the power elite: corporate chiefs who defraud their employees of billions of dollars in pensions, and political flacks who've rigged the system in their own favor. Only the federal agent isn't sure he wants to capture the sniper.

Soon Bloom realizes that his screenplay hits too close to home: He really does want these people dead, so much so that this revenge fantasy takes over his life, sending him in search of salvation in an outrageous mentor, a possibly dangerous foreign country, and, finally, his very own backyard.

Praise For Captives

“[A] Barbed, farcical, and ambitious first novel… Hasak-Lowy’s bold comedy of conscience is alluring, clever, and mordantly funny.”

“[A] Darkly humorous debut novel…This wittily incisive take on the film business, suburban life, and contemporary dystopia is recommended.”
—Library Journal

is a stinging indictment of our age and an equally stinging indictment of our weary indifference to the horrors of our age. It’s also an exploration of how, too often, what we think of as success leaves us emotionally and spiritually barren. Above all, though, Captives is the humane, hilarious, and ultimately touching story of a man in flux. Daniel Bloom enters middle age with a successful screenwriting career, a head full of frightening thoughts, and a wife and son who barely recognize him. It’s our privilege and pleasure as readers to watch as he risks his empty life in order to save it.”
--Ron Currie, Jr., author of God Is Dead

“Todd Hasak-Lowy has a compulsively propulsive prose style, an eye for detail, an ear for dialogue, and a head for argument. Captives is a fascinating literary concoction, a satire and a spiritual quest and a political head game rolled into one chilling but also often hilarious narrative.”
--Sam Lipsyte, author of Home Land and The Subject Steve

“Todd Hasak-Lowy is brilliantly funny, and his book is as funny as it is smart; this is high praise. Because, I mean, he’s really smart. So, anyway, please do yourself a favor and buy this book.”
--Darin Strauss, author of More Than It Hurts You

“How rare and exhilarating to find a book like Captives that is both dramatically engrossing and spiritually wise. Todd Hasak-Lowy can do story as well as Stephen King and parable as well as Martin Buber. Go on this journey. You won’t come out the same.”
--Joshua Shenk, author of Lincoln’s Melancholy

Spiegel & Grau, 9780385527736, 400pp.

Publication Date: October 14, 2008