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A Brilliant Novel in the Works

Overview

When Yuvi's wife finds him in his underwear, standing on top of his desk, she isn't particularly impressed with his writing habits. A self-proclaimed neurotic Jew, he has a wife who wants things he can’t give her, an agent who wants a book he can’t deliver, and dead parents who, well, they don't really want anything, but that doesn't stop the memory of them from haunting Yuvi at every opportunity.

His life begins to unravel as quickly as his unfinished novel, until the two ...

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A Brilliant Novel in the Works

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Overview

When Yuvi's wife finds him in his underwear, standing on top of his desk, she isn't particularly impressed with his writing habits. A self-proclaimed neurotic Jew, he has a wife who wants things he can’t give her, an agent who wants a book he can’t deliver, and dead parents who, well, they don't really want anything, but that doesn't stop the memory of them from haunting Yuvi at every opportunity.

His life begins to unravel as quickly as his unfinished novel, until the two finally begin to intertwine. Soon, his real-life friends and family begin to intermix with his characters. Yuvi travels from his suburban-Atlanta home to the North Carolina mountains of his father's childhood, to several hospital waiting rooms in a struggle to save himself, his marriage, his novel, and also the life of his brother-in-law and end war in the Middle East (if he has time).

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Zalkow's debut novel is having an out-of-body experience: it is a first-person account of an anxious Jewish writer named Yuvi struggling to complete his debut novel, and worrying incessantly about his floundering marriage. At the same time, Yuvi's brother-in-law, Joel, nicknamed Shmendrik, is suffering from severe colitis and requires intermittent hospitalization. Throughout the book, short italicized sections disrupt the already disjointed narrative; these sketches include childhood memories, science fictions set on Uranus, and conversations between Yuvi and his editor. The novel is obtrusively metafictional; one of the minor characters even refers to himself as an "ethnic plot device." Yet the book is not so much about Yuvi writing as it is about Yuvi's inability to write. His wife exclaims, "No wonder you have no plot in your novel! You get fixated on the smallest things and can't move forward." And she's right; bemoaning plotlessness doesn't lead to an engaging plot. The incessantly ironic, self-reflexive Yuvi also fails to provide a compelling centerpiece for the narrative—he's an unsympathetic and immature protagonist, and he never manages to overcome his angst. Instead, he stresses over negative reviews and frets that "What I'm writing these days is bupkis." Unfortunately for Zalkow, bupkis comes of bupkis. (Aug.)
Cheryl Strayed

Yuvi Zalkow writes like the secret love child of the smartest person you've ever met and the weirdo who lives down the block. In A Brilliant Novel in the Works, he mines the territory between heartbreak and hilarity with a voice so original... you must read this.

author of WIRE TO WIRE Scott Sparling

A Brilliant Novel in the Works is an extremely smart and beautiful book. It will mess with your mind, in a good way, and show you what's inside your heart. All while making you laugh. Read it before your friends do...so you can say you discovered Yuvi Zalkow.

author of LITTLE MISS STRANGE Joanna Rose

F*** writing a blurb - I just want to read this book all over again.
Gary Shteyngart

If you buy just one book this year, consider resting this book on top of it. Yuvi Zalkow is a writer I'm going to watch from a safe distance.
author of CHRONOLOGY OF WATER and DORA: A HEAD Lidia Yuknavitch

Yuvi Zalkow brilliantly navigates the territory between your head and your heart, and down to your privates.

author of CAPTAIN FREEDOM G. Xavier Robillard

For this beautiful novel I am proud to stand up on a desk, anywhere, anytime, without pants.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781849821650
  • Publisher: MP Publishing Ltd
  • Publication date: 8/14/2012
  • Pages: 225
  • Sales rank: 1,393,572
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.32 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Yuvi Zalkow's stories have been published in Glimmer Train, Narrative Magazine, Carve Magazine, and others. He received an MFA from Antioch University. He lives in Portland, OR and is hard at work on his second novel.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    I'm impressed by this author's ability to express difficult emot

    I'm impressed by this author's ability to express difficult emotions
    with humor. For me, it makes it easier to tolerate the difficulty of
    thinking about---and feeling---some of what we---and the author---all go
    through. He says some of the stuff you're not supposed to say, talking
    about difficult emotions about planning a child or being in a
    relationship. It's not just humor that carries this book, though---it's
    also beautiful language. There's a lot to love about this book---I can't
    wait for the Brilliant (and angstful!) sequel!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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