Glass

Glass

Sam Savage

Literature & Fiction

Asked by a publisher to write a preface to her late husband s novel, Edna defiantly sets out to write a separate book not just about Clarence but also about my life, as one could not pretend to understand Clarence without that. Simultaneously her neighbor asks her to care for an apartment full of plants and animals. The demands of the living things a rat, fish, ferns compete for Edna's attention with long-repressed memories. Day by day pages of seemingly random thoughts fall from her typewriter. Gradually taking shape within the mosaic of memory is the story of a remarkable marriage and of a mind pushed to its limits. Is Edna s memoir a homage to her late husband or an act of belated revenge? Was she the cultured and hypersensitive victim of a crass and brutally ambitious husband, or was he the caretaker of a neurotic and delusional wife? The reader must decide. The unforgettable characters in Savage's two hit novels Firmin and The Cry of the Sloth garnered critical acclaim, selling a million copies worldwide. In Edna, once again Sam Savage has created a character marked by contradiction--simultaneously appealing and exasperating, comical and tragic. "
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It Will End With Us

It Will End With Us

Sam Savage

Literature & Fiction

Newsweek's Favorite Books of 2014 Praise for Sam Savage: Winner of the O. Henry Prize for "Cigarettes" Sam Savage manages to be both artful and literal-minded in this faux autobiographical tale of childhood and a mother afflicted and finally driven mad by her wish for artistic success. Savage writes knowingly about the uncertainties of childhood memory, but creates a convincing world of sibling combat and adult pretension. A wonderful, absorbing novel. C. Michael Curtis, Fiction Editor, The Atlantic Monthly If the worldall its hysteric noisewas muted for just one minute, Sam Savage is what you might be fortunate enough to hear. His elegant laconism, his leaps across the self-evident, his soft aplomb, and the rarified air he bestows upon the mundane make him the only American writer worthy of the label the true eccentric."*Valeria Luiselli It Will End With Us is Sam Savage s latest deep dive into the mind and voice of a character, and his most personal work yet. Brick by textual brick, his narrator, Eve, builds a memorial to the mother who raised her, emotionally abandoned her, and shaped her in her own image. Eve s memories summon a childhood in rural South Carolina, a decaying house on impoverished soil, and an insular society succumbing to the influences of a wider world. It Will End With Us is a portrait of a place full of hummingbirds and wild irises, but also of frustration and grief. It is the story of a family tragedy, provoked by a mother s stifled ambitions, and seized by the wide-open gaze of a child. Rarely has a novel so brief taken on so much, so powerfully. Sam Savage is the best-selling author of * Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife, The Cry of the Sloth, Glass, * and The Way of the Dog*, all from Coffee House Press. A finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, Savage holds a PhD in philosophy from Yale University and resides in Madison, Wisconsin. "
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The Cry of the Sloth

The Cry of the Sloth

Sam Savage

Literature & Fiction

Living on a diet of fried Spam, vodka, sardines, cupcakes, and Southern Comfort, Andrew Whittaker is slowly being sucked into the morass of middle age. A negligent landlord, small-time literary journal editor, and aspiring novelist, he is--quite literally-- authoring his own downfall. From his letters, diary entries, and fragments of fiction, to grocery lists and posted signs, this novel is a collection of everything Whittaker commits to paper over the course of four critical months. Beginning in July, during the economic hardships of the Nixon era, we witness our hero hounded by tenants and creditors, harassed by a loathsome local arts group, and tormented by his ex-wife. Determined to redeem his failures and eviscerate his enemies, Whittaker hatches a grand plan. But as winter nears, his difficulties accumulate, and the disorder of his life threatens to overwhelm him. As his hold on reality weakens and his schemes grow wilder, his self-image as a placid and slow-moving sloth evolves into that of a bizarre and frantic creature driven mad by solitude. In this tragicomic portrait of a literary life, Sam Savage proves that all the evidence is in the writing, that all the world is, indeed, a stage, and that escape from the mind's prison requires a command performance.
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An Orphanage of Dreams

An Orphanage of Dreams

Sam Savage

Literature & Fiction

Sam Savage's final book is a collection of stripped down visitations, flash fictions of smoke breaks and long drives and friends who finally stop showing up. The acidic tang of disappointment is here, and sparks of biting insight, in portraits of people and animals, in all our absurdity and failed attempts at meaning. As Sam says, "what a life."
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Firmin

Firmin

Sam Savage

Literature & Fiction

In the basement of a Boston bookstore, Firmin is born in a shredded copy Finnegans Wake, nurtured on a diet of Zane Grey, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and Jane Eyre (which tastes a lot like lettuce). While his twelve siblings gnaw these books obliviously, for Firmin the words, thoughts, deeds, and hopes—all the literature he consumes—soon consume him. Emboldened by reading, intoxicated by curiosity, foraging for food, Firmin ventures out of his bookstore sanctuary, carrying with him all the yearnings and failings of humanity itself. It’s a lot to ask of a rat—especially when his home is on the verge of annihilation. A novel that is by turns hilarious, tragic, and hopeful, Firmin is a masterpiece of literary imagination. For here, a tender soul, a vagabond and philosopher, struggles with mortality and meaning—in a tale for anyone who has ever feasted on a book…and then had to turn the final page.
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The Way of the Dog

The Way of the Dog

Sam Savage

Literature & Fiction

"Sam Savage [creates] some of the most original, unforgettable characters in contemporary fiction. . . . Readers are left with a voice so strong that Savage is able to derive significance from these events by sheer literary force."--Kevin Larimer, "Poets & Writers" "Savage's skill is in creating complex first-person characters using nothing but their own voice."--Carolyn Kellogg, "Los Angeles Times" "[Savage] creates one of the most intriguing stories--and one of the most vivid characters--that this reader has encountered this year."--"The Writer" Sam Savage's most intimate, tender novel yet follows Harold Nivenson, a decrepit, aging man who was once a painter and arts patron. The death of Peter Meinenger, his friend turned romantic and intellectual rival, prompts him to ruminate on his own career as a minor artist and collector and make sense of a lifetime of gnawing doubt. Over time, his bitterness toward his family, his gentrifying neighborhood, and the decline of intelligent artistic discourse gives way to a kind of peace within himself, as he emerges from the shadow of the past and finds a reason to live, every day, in "the now." Sam Savage is the best-selling author of "Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife," "The Cry of the Sloth," and "Glass." A native of South Carolina, Savage holds a PhD in philosophy from Yale University. He resides in Madison, Wisconsin.
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Quantum Voices

Quantum Voices

Sam Savage

Literature & Fiction

Quantum Voices is a satire of contemporary culture that has a laugh out loud moment on almost every page. The narrator, a teacher who "has been made redundant some months ago," encounters a woman in London "whose face is exceedingly beautiful and age . . . indistinguishable". Her name is Madame Sosostris and she invites the narrator for tea at her flat. The narrator then meets the others who live in the home of Madame Sosostris; each of them tells a story that intertwines with other stories from the narrator's life. All of these narratives run parallel to the story of Marcel, who becomes the thread that unites all the diverse elements of the book. Quantum Voices looks at the "deeper" questions in a humorous way; it takes readers on a fantastic journey that inspires them to laugh, to learn, and to think.
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Firmin

Firmin

Sam Savage

Literature & Fiction

"I had always imagined that my life story...would have a great first line: something like Nabokov's 'Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins;' or if I could not do lyric, then something sweeping like Tolstoy's 'All happy families are alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.'... When it comes to openers, though, the best in my view has to be the first line of Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier: 'This is the saddest story I have ever heard.'"So begins the remarkable tale of Firmin the rat. Born in a bookstore in a blighted 1960's Boston neighborhood, Firmin miraculously learns how to read by digesting his nest of books. Alienated from his family and unable to communicate with the humans he loves, Firmin quickly realizes that a literate rat is a lonely rat.Following a harrowing misunderstanding with his hero, the bookseller, Firmin begins to risk the dangers of Scollay Square, finding solace in the Lovelies of the burlesque cinema. Finally adopted by a down-on-his-luck science fiction writer, the tide begins to turn, but soon they both face homelessness when the wrecking ball of urban renewal arrives.In a series of misadventures, Firmin is ultimately led deep into his own imaginative soul—a place where Ginger Rogers can hold him tight and tattered books, storied neighborhoods, and down-and-out rats can find people who adore them.A native of South Carolina, Sam Savage now lives in Madison, Wisconsin. This is his first novel.From Publishers WeeklySavage's sentimental debut concerns the coming-of-age of a well-read rat in 1960s Boston. In the basement of Pembroke Books, a bookstore on Scollay Square, Firmin is the runt of the litter born to Mama Flo, who makes confetti of Moby-Dick and Don Quixote for her offspring's cradle. Soon left to fend for himself, Firmin finds that books are his only friends, and he becomes a hopeless romantic, devouring Great Books—sometimes literally. Aware from his frightful reflection that he is no Fred Astaire (his hero), he watches nebbishy bookstore owner Norman Shine from afar and imagines his love is returned until Norman tries to poison him. Thereafter he becomes the pet of a solitary sci-fi writer, Jerry Magoon, a smart slob and drinker who teaches Firmin about jazz, moviegoing and the writer's life. Alas, their world is threatened by extinction with the renovation of Scollay Square, which forces the closing of the bookstore and Firmin's beloved Rialto Theater. With this alternately whimsical and earnest paean to the joys of literature, Savage embodies writerly self-doubts and yearning in a precocious rat: "I have had a hard time facing up to the blank stupidity of an ordinary, unstoried life." (Apr.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. From BooklistIn Savage's darkly comic debut, the titular metropolitan lowlife is a rat, albeit one with lofty literary ambitions. The runt of 13 siblings spawned in the basement of a shambolic Boston bookshop, Firmin survives his lean first weeks by munching on the edges of books. He quickly develops a predilection for actually reading them, too. Soon he's perusing everything from Joyce to compendiums of dirty jokes and even developing a secret fondness for the bookshop's owner, Norman. Tutored by a sign-language book, Firmin tries to communicate with Norman and his human brethren with predictably disastrous results until an obscure science fiction author, who writes about rats and lives above the bookshop, takes him in as a pet. There Firmin enjoys a brief respite of security, writing odes in his head and dreaming of glory, until the wrecking ball threatens the decaying neighborhood. Blending philosophy and abundant literary references with originality, Savage crafts a small comic gem about the costs and rewards of literary illusions. Carl HaysCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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