An exuberant modern-day picaresque about the cost of love-struck obsession and the inevitable monsters of every human heart.
Publishers WeeklyIn his riotous debut novel—up there with, say, James Wilcox's Modern Baptists—Giraldi tells the story of Charles Homar, a jilted fiancé who embarks on a hilariously ill-advised odyssey to win back his beloved. Charles is a "memoirist of mediocre fame" whose engagement to the lovely Gillian falls apart when she takes off with oceanographer Jacob Jacobi. After a short jail sentence for ineptly shooting up Jacobi's boat, Charles decides that the only way to win back Gillian is to prove his manhood to her. He sets off on a cross-country odyssey: searching for Bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest with a Jewish African-American hunter; looking for UFOs with an ex-girlfriend in Seattle who claims to have been abducted by aliens; seeking advice from an astronomer in Boulder, Colo., who has his own calamitous love life to deal with; and getting fit with the aid of a New Jersey bodybuilder and two Chinese prostitutes before heading back to Boston for a final reckoning. Charles's journey—filled with offbeat characters, seen through a perfectly skewed worldview, and related in an idiosyncratic voice—might remind readers of the one taken by the equally wrong-headed Ray Midge in Charles Portis's comic masterpiece, The Dog of the South. (Aug.)
Harold Bloom“William Giraldi's Busy Monsters is rammed with life. It has more than promise. A kind of elegiac intensity, remarkable for so young a man, pervades its harmonies.”
Sven Birkerts“Take the amped-up lyrical braggadocio of the American South and join it to a sly, at times Nabokovian celebration of psychological obsession. Add a pinch of O'Connor, a dash of Hannah, heat with an imagination reared in both the canon and its rock & roll antipodes. Busy Monsters is an unforgettable achievement by one of our most important young chroniclers of anguish and bliss.”
Library JournalCharlie Homar is a memoirist for a slick national magazine and a haplessly unlucky soul in love. When he meets Gillian at a carnival in his Connecticut hometown, he feels he's finally found the love of his life, and their relationship goes along quite happily until she takes off unannounced and pursues her lifelong passion to bring back a giant squid. With Gillian at sea hunting a monster of nature, Charlie is left at sea romantically and spiritually, so he embarks on a quest to try to find a way to win her back. Seeking advice and counsel all across the country, he confronts Bigfoot in the Northwest and UFOs (and UFO hunters) in Seattle, all the while battling his own equally dangerous internal monsters. VERDICT Charlie's last name is no coincidence as here we have a seriocomic picaresque that references everything from the Odyssey to medieval romances to Don Quixote and Moby-Dick. A brilliant first novel that may well be in the running for 2011's literary awards.—Lawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib. Consortium, North Andover, MA
Ron CharlesBusy Monsters may be the best literary present you could bring to a brainy guy's bachelor party. It boasts lots of gonzo adventure, wacky sex and an endorsement by Harold Bloom that's so pompous I can't tell if it's part of the joke…one of the weirdest comic novels of the year. And [Giraldi] has a delicate sweetness that shows through at just the right moments in what is, after all, a very old, romantic story…
The Washington Post
New York Times Book Review“Comedy, satire, farce, language. . . . [A] release from the familiar and banal . . . has the kind of agenda that gives heft to the picaresque novels from which it is derived.”
Salon“Wonderful. . . . Singular and arresting . . . filled with quirky turns of phrase, unexpected literary and cultural allusions, self-aware asides, and highfalutin word choices that would make Roget swell with pride.”
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)
What People are saying about this
Harold BloomWilliam Giraldi's Busy Monsters is rammed with life. It has more than promise. A kind of elegiac intensity, remarkable for so young a man, pervades its harmonies.
Sven BirkertsTake the amped-up lyrical braggadocio of the American South and join it to a sly, at times Nabokovian celebration of psychological obsession. Add a pinch of O'Connor, a dash of Hannah, heat with an imagination reared in both the canon and its rock & roll antipodes. Busy Monsters is an unforgettable achievement by one of our most important young chroniclers of anguish and bliss.
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