Life Among Giants (Hardcover)

A Novel

By Bill Roorbach

Algonquin Books, 9781616200763, 352pp.

Publication Date: November 13, 2012

Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (11/12/2012)
Paperback (8/20/2013)
CD-Audio (11/13/2012)
Other (11/1/2012)

List Price: 24.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

December 2012 Indie Next List

“Roorbach has given readers a totally unique family saga that is infused with love, sex, and murder. This is the kind of story that takes you on a journey from the very first page and races right along to the unforgettable conclusion. I was drawn in by the characters, both sympathetic and despicable. This is a great book to recommend to everyone.”
— Barbara Kelly, Portland Bookstore, University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME
View the List

Description

This funny, exuberant novel captures the reader with the grand sweep of seven-foot-tall David “Lizard” Hochmeyer’s larger-than-life quest to unravel the mystery surrounding his parents’ deaths. It’s a journey laden with pro football stars, a master chef and his beautiful transvestite lover, a world-famous ballerina and her English rocker husband, and a sister who’s as brilliant as she is unstable. A wildly entertaining, plot-twisting novel of murder, seduction, and revenge--rich in incident, expansive in character, and lavish in setting--Life Among Giants is an exhilarating adventure.

Editors’ pick for Amazon’s Best of 2012 


Shelf Awareness 
Top Ten Best Fiction of 2012 


Columbus Dispatch
’s Top Books of 2012 



About the Author

Bill Roorbach is the author of nine books of fiction and nonfiction, including the Flannery O'Connor Prize and O. Henry Prize winner Big Bend; Into Woods; Temple Stream; and most recently, the bestselling Life Among Giants. The 10th anniversary edition of his craft book, Writing Life Stories, is used in writing programs around the world. His work has been published in Harper's, the Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, the New York Times Magazine, Granta, New York, and dozens of other magazines and journals. Life Among Giants was an Editor's Pick for Amazon's Best 2012, a Shelf Awareness Top Ten Best Fiction for 2012, and a winner of the Maine Literary Award for Fiction.



Praise For Life Among Giants: A Novel

Editors’ Pick for Amazon’s Best of 2012 list


Shelf Awareness Top Ten Best Fiction of 2012


Columbus Dispatch’s Top Books of 2012



“Consistently surprising and truly entertaining . . . Part thriller, part family drama, Life Among Giants is deliciously strange and deeply affecting.”—The Boston Globe

“A bighearted, big-boned story . . . Life Among Giants reads like something written by a kinder, gentler John Irving . . . Roorbach is a humane and entertaining storyteller with a smooth, graceful style.”—The Washington Post

“I hereby nominate Lizard the humongous football player and Sylphide the mysterious ballerina as two of my favorite characters of 2012 . . . Roorbach has crafted a story that's rollicking and sexy but not shallow or slight. Seven-foot Lizard and petite Sylphide, both giants in their own way, are a pair to behold. Part Gatsby, part Garp, Life Among Giants is an urgent tale of greed, love, and revenge.”—Neal Thompson for Amazon.com (Best Books of the Month Spotlight Selection)

“[Lizard’s and his sister’s] fascinating journey highlights the importance of steering your own fate, and it left me pondering where my own life will lead.”—Real Simple (reader’s review)

“[An] eventful, elegiac novel of sports and murder, food and finance.”—Bloomberg News

“What lingers after finishing Life Among Giants is the beauty of Roorbach’s appreciation of his characters’ exceptional physical abilities, as they play football, cook, make love and dance.”—The Dallas Morning News

“Complexly plotted, wildly entertaining, and hugely funny.”—Orion Magazine

“Besides being a compelling mystery, the kind to keep one reading well after bedtime, and a novel that almost insists on being immediately reread, Life Among Giants is a reminder of the ways we all shape our lives into stories, and the ways those stories, in turn, shape us.”—The Columbus Dispatch

Life Among Giants is a long, strange trip, but an enthralling one.”—Wilmington Star-News




“This is one of those novels you read because you care about what happens to the people and the connections between them as those connections grow, fray, and snap. By turns surreal and gritty, the book is written with the same muscular grace possessed by the dancers and athletes who are its main characters.”—Booklist

“This ambitious, energetic novel from Roorbach has something for everyone—steamy sex, rock stars, ballet stars, professional football, a dysfunctional family, an unsolved murder, and a complicated revenge plot.”—Library Journal

“[A] thrilling indulgence, a tale of opulence, love triangles, and madness, set against a sumptuous landscape of lust and feasts . . . This is a purely Gatsbyesque portrayal of celebrity; David and Sylphide inhabit a galaxy of stars, each more blinding and destructive than the next, drawing intrigue and violence into their orbits.”—Publishers Weekly

“Great set-up, sparkling characters . . . A narrative threaded through with corruption and an appreciable number of love stories.”—Kirkus Reviews


— Review

“Hilarious and heartbreaking, wild and wise, Bill Roorbach’s Life Among Giants, which is earning comparisons to The World According to Garp, is a vivid chronicle of a life lived large.” —Parade

“An enchanting, darkly mysterious ballerina. A dead rock star. An unsolved double homicide, decades old. A father felled by a shadowy past. An older sister as beautiful as she is mad. A gay vegetarian chef covered in tattoos. His transvestite lover. Secret passageways, nighttime trysts, affairs, embezzling, illicit recordings--all of it revolving around one 6-foot-8, humble, sincere, Ivy League-educated orphaned professional football player. Really, what more could you want? As you might guess from its title if not from the list above, Bill Roorbach’s second novel, Life Among Giants, is a larger-than-life production. Yet all of its wild characters feel genuine, their aches and flaws and desires wholly organic; and the plot they’re tangled in moves forward at a breakneck pace. It’s a dizzy romp. There’s murder and intrigue and sex and terror, and Roorbach is generous with it all . . . Which isn’t to say there isn’t real meat here. Roorbach doesn’t let the novel’s rich entertainment stand in the way of emotional subtlety . . . [He] seems to relish creating lushly bold biographies for his characters, then getting the shading right--carefully applying depth and warmth.” —The New York Times Book Review

“A bighearted, big-boned story . . . Life Among Giants reads like something written by a kinder, gentler John Irving . . . Roorbach is a humane and entertaining storyteller with a smooth, graceful style.” —The Washington Post

“Consistently surprising and truly entertaining . . . Part thriller, part family drama, Life Among Giants is deliciously strange and deeply affecting.” —The Boston Globe

“[A] thrilling indulgence, a tale of opulence, love triangles, and madness, set against a sumptuous landscape of lust and feasts . . . This is a purely Gatsbyesque portrayal of celebrity.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A compelling mystery . . . [Roorbach] knows how--in the best way--to manipulate and misdirect a reader.” —The Columbus Dispatch (a Top Ten Book of 2012)

“A few novels every year . . . achieve greatness . . . Life Among Giants is one of those blessed occurrences.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"A bravura performance. It's been a long time since a writer's written so brilliantly about subjects as varied as pro football, dance, food, and murder in the same book. My God, it was fun." —Richard Russo

“A sprawling, exuberant novel filled with murder and lust and, mostly, love. Bill Roorbach is a writer with enormous vision and an even more enormous heart.” —Ann Hood, author of The Red Thread

“No one writes pleasure quite like Bill Roorbach.” —Debra Spark, author of Good for the Jews

“A book that’s big in the best of ways . . . Bill Roorbach has delivered his award-winning writing talents in one big bunch.” —Clyde Edgerton