The King of Pain: A Novel with Stories

The King of Pain: A Novel with Stories

by Seth Kaufman


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The King of Pain: A Novel with Stories by Seth Kaufman

"One of 2012's most enjoyable novels." --Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times

"This is a dark, sharp, very funny novel about imprisonment, torture and the dangerous pleasures of stories." --Zoe Heller, Notes on a Scandal

"Seth Kaufman's novel is a hoot and a boot, a zany, unsettling, satisfying, post post-modern, tragic-comic tour of prisons around the world and pain in the human heart. Start it and you won't stop. If you're a claustrophobe, read it out-of-doors." --John Darnton, Neaderthal

A riotously funny portrait of an out-of-control entertainment mogul and a devastating look at torture and imprisonment, The King of Pain is part Jennifer Egan, part Italo Calvino, part "Entourage," and 100% marvelous.

Rick Salter expects to be hated; after all, he's the mind behind the outrageous-and outrageously successful-reality TV show about torture, "The King of Pain." What he finds much more worrisome than the ire of cultural critics is that when he wakes up one Saturday morning, he's trapped underneath his gigantic home entertainment system with no idea how he got there. Rick has 48 long hours ahead of him until his housekeeper will come to his rescue and nothing to pass the time except pain, bad memories-and a strange book he finds lying beside him. Called "A History of Prisons," it is written by one Seth Kaufman, and it seems mysteriously relevant to Rick's predicament...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780985626501
Publisher: Sukuma Books
Publication date: 06/14/2012
Pages: 300
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.67(d)
Age Range: 13 Years

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The King of Pain: A novel with stories 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Zoyd More than 1 year ago
I read this book on a recommendation from a friend, and even though I was skeptical at first - novel with stories? sounds kind of precious! - I ended up really loving it. The framing narrative is a hilarious take-down of Hollywood's obsession with reality TV, and of how TV these days seems to be going back to the good old bad old Victorian days of the freakshow. That alone would make for a very satisfying read because the writing is sharp and often very funny, but what took THE KING OF PAIN to the next level for me were the stories that are set into the framing narrative. They're all about people who are in actual pain, are actually suffering - and somehow manage to transcend and overcome that suffering. Some of the stories are pretty dark, others are serio-comic, and they're all polished little gems that form an interesting counterpoint to the zaniness of the main story. The whole thing reads a bit like a modern-day DECAMERON - highly recommended!
eheinlen More than 1 year ago
I just loved this book! The writer has an engaging writing style that he uses to tell funny, quirky, engaging stories! Once I started the book, I couldn't wait to read each story. I recommend this book for a trip where you will have lots of starts and stops.
typer More than 1 year ago
Reality really hits Rick Sallter, reality show TV producer in this very funny novel. Kaufman gets the excesses of the industry and adds vignettes of true life in meaningful doses.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A hilarious, clever book. Rick Salter's luck has finally run out when he wakes up pinned under his entertainment center-- and what follows is an evocative contemplation on what it means to be trapped: trapped under an entertainment center, trapped in a prison cell, and trapped in the glitz and glam of fame and money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very well written novel but where I expected light humor, I got ironic. I loved the short stories that were part of the overall novel but the novel's premise was a bit far out even for this lover of reality TV shows.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Finally an original premise, writing skills and a really fun read. More please sj
kristinkristin More than 1 year ago
If you like the absurd, you'll dig this book. Fun, outrageous characters. Gets you to think about the crazy world we've created without taking itself seriously.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fluff book--but its catch is that it has a "book within a book" and the short stories in THAT book are engaging.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought I had it figured out for most of the book but I was wrong. I love it when that happens. The main story was entertaining as well as the stories in the book Rick is reading. I was impressed.
Tometourist More than 1 year ago
Very interesting and humorous. Different from anything that I've ever read. The format was quite unique with the short stories within the main storyline. An easy and enjoyable read. I've never read Seth Kaufman before, but I would consider reading more by him.
tomroust More than 1 year ago
Exceptional, Original, Nothing Like It I can't think of any other book that goes the places this does, with the structure, the voices, the stories and the humor and the agony. There is something for everyone here -- unless you hate profanity or hilarity. And the ending: ingenious. A great find.
gracebanks More than 1 year ago
This book has got it all. The frame narrative is a really smart, dark, and totally off-the-wall take on reality TV that is about as timely as they come. But what really drew me in were the stories Rick reads about imprisonment while he's trapped under his entertainment system (fitting, right?). This collection of tales shows so much depth and variety, and each story transports you somewhere entirely new. Some stories are serious, some exuberant and funny, but they are all equally captivating. The book description mentions Calvino, and I definitely got the same reading pleasure of seeing glimpses of so many different worlds. The structure of the book is unusual and original, but I would definitely suggest taking a chance on this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It moves well, with interesting stories within the main story.
imbrium More than 1 year ago
Atthebeach More than 1 year ago
A short, fun read. Not at all very literary. Simple writing, unlikeable characters. The interesting thing was the book of short stories on prisons the main character was stuck having to read as he was pinned under a wall unit in his home for a weekend. Stories about people in prisons suffering but surviving while the 'protagonist' makes people in his life dislike him by his behavior and is now 'imprisoned' and has to think about his behavior. It's an entertaining, short read, but nothing special. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Seth Kaufman is the love child of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Ben Elton.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The stories in between were much better than the main storyline, which had a bit too much of a Mary Sue vibe.
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WineGuy95113 More than 1 year ago