By Sergio De La Pava
A protest against America's mass incarceration, an underdog sports odyssey, and a tender portrait of lives going to seed in suburban New Jersey - the extraordinary new novel from the author of A Naked Singularity
"Ambitious, affecting, intelligent, plangent, comic, kooky and impassioned. I've read a lot of novels this year, between judging the Man Booker prize and the Granta Best of Young British Novelists, and I've yearned for this kind of exuberant, precise fiction" Stuart Kelly, Guardian on A Naked Singularity
It would take something huge to put Paterson, New Jersey on the map.
But Nina Gill is determined to do just that. She is the daughter of the ageing owner of the Dallas Cowboys and the well-kept secret to their success. Shocked when her brother inherits the team, leaving her with the Paterson Pork, New Jersey's only Indoor Football League franchise, she vows to take on the N.F.L. and make her new team the pigskin kings of America.
Meanwhile, Nuno DeAngeles - a brilliant criminal mastermind - contrives to be thrown into Rikers Island prison to commit one of the most audacious crimes of all time. Now he's on the inside, he has two good reasons to get out. But how does a person of culture go about breaking out of the penal system when the whole of the land of the free is addicted to keeping him in it?
Without knowing it, or ever having met, Nina and Nuno have already had a profound effect on each other's lives. As his bid for freedom and her bid for sporting immortality reach crisis point, their stories converge in the countdown to an epic conclusion.
Thrilling, touching, insightful and shockingly hilarious, De La Pava's extraordinary novel gets under the skin and into the minds of a vast cast of characters from the fringes of society - immigrants, exiles and outsiders.
Sergio de la Pava is the author of the novels A Naked Singularity and Personae. A Naked Singularity won the PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction in 2013 and was shortlisted for the inaugural Folio Prize in the UK, Personae received a starred review in Publisher's Weekly and extraordinary critical praise. De la Pava is an attorney in New York City where he represents indigent defendants and advocates for large-scale criminal justice reforms.
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- Publication date:
08 May 2018
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A hilarious, smart, and madcap novel that occupies the porous border between comedy and drama, science and philosophy, story and dream, grim reality and pure imagination. A singular achievement. I've never read anything like it. — Nathan Hill, author of The Nix.
Lost Empress is a vast galaxy of a book, a searing, frequently hilarious indictment of the absurdity of modern American life told through the lens of this country's two most violent pastimes-professional football and criminal justice. To spend time inside the unfiltered mind of a writer like Sergio de la Pava is a rare, dizzying treat. — Omar El Akkad, author of American War.
In Lost Empress, de la Pava's words drip from the pages like melting clocks, simultaneously expressing the best and worst of humanity's eternal struggle against an uncaring universe. From physics to football, Dali to Descartes, this book is a heady look at life, Art, and the power and love of language. — Chris Kluwe, author of Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies and former Minnesota Viking
I don't know how to do this book justice. It is so bold and so rich and so funny and so filled with pure pleasure for the reader. More than once I've had to stop and get up and walk around the room to process the sheer awesomeness. I feel like I'm in the presence of a major writer-someone of a singular intelligence that is at once alien yet comforting. — Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe and Sorry Please Thank You.