"Splendid" —New York Times
"Mind-bending." —Wall Street Journal
"Brilliantly original. The best new novel I've read this year." —Salman Rushdie
A daring, kaleidoscopic novel about the clash of empires and ideas, told through a tennis match in the sixteenth century between the radical Italian artist Caravaggio and the Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo, played with a ball made from the hair of the beheaded Anne Boleyn.
The poet and the artist battle it out in Rome before a crowd that includes Galileo, a Mary Magdalene, and a generation of popes who would throw the world into flames. In England, Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII execute Anne Boleyn, and her crafty executioner transforms her legendary locks into those most-sought-after tennis balls. Across the ocean in Mexico, the last Aztec emperors play their own games, as the conquistador Hernán Cortés and his Mayan translator and lover, La Malinche, scheme and conquer, fight and f**k, not knowing that their domestic comedy will change the course of history. In a remote Mexican colony a bishop reads Thomas More’s Utopia and thinks that it’s a manual instead of a parody. And in today’s New York City, a man searches for answers to impossible questions, for a book that is both an archive and an oracle.
Álvaro Enrigue’s mind-bending story features assassinations and executions, hallucinogenic mushrooms, bawdy criminals, carnal liaisons and papal schemes, artistic and religious revolutions, love and war. A blazingly original voice and a postmodern visionary, Enrigue tells the grand adventure of the dawn of the modern era, breaking down traditions and upending expectations, in this bold, powerful gut-punch of a novel.
Game, set, match.
“Sudden Death is the best kind of puzzle, its elements so esoteric and wildly funny that readers will race through the book, wondering how Álvaro Enrigue will be able to pull a novel out of such an astonishing ball of string. But Enrigue absolutely does; and with brilliance and clarity and emotional warmth all the more powerful for its surreptitiousness.”
—Lauren Groff, New York Times-bestselling author of Fates and Furies
"Engrossing... rich with Latin and European history." —The New Yorker
"[A] bawdy, often profane, sprawling, ambitious book that is as engaging as it is challenging.” —Vogue
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Álvaro Enrigue was a Cullman Center Fellow and a Fellow at the Princeton University Program in Latin American Studies. He has taught at New York University, Princeton University, the University of Maryland, and Columbia University. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Believer, The White Review, n+1, London Review of Books, El País, among others. This novel—his first translated into English—was awarded the prestigious Herralde Prize in Spain, the Elena Poniatowska International Novel Award in Mexico, and the Barcelona Prize for Fiction, and has been translated into many languages. Enrigue was born in Mexico and lives in New York City.
Natasha Wimmer's translations include The Savage Detectives and 2666 by Roberto Bolaño. She lives in New York City.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book was bizarre but had me turning the pages to see what would happen next! This book is such an intriguing read. Italian painter Caravaggio and Spanish poet Quevedo have a fierce battle on the court that expands the entire book. In between is some history of the sport of tennis, assassinations, overthrow of the Aztec empire, the beheading of Anne Boleyn, drugs, sex, some present day emails between Álvaro and his editor, and a host of other things. It truly is a mind-bending novel. None of it seems to work together while you are reading, but as you get to the end, everything just pulls together. Honestly, HOW DO YOU DO THAT. IT’S BRILLIANT. "The sole duty of a writer is to minister to his readers: to liberate them from inexactitude out of respect for the mysterious and touching pact of loyalty that they make with books." This book takes you on a trip. I honestly don’t know what to make of it. All I know is that I throughly enjoyed this book and it’s bizarre nature. If you want something completely different to read, you should check this book out. "But the only real things in a novel are the sequence of letters, words, and sentences that make it up, and the paper on which they’re printed."
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