“Genuinely clever . . . Deadpan and scatological.” —Kirkus Reviews
“[Castro’s] quotidian miniaturism bears the influence of Nicholson Baker and Lucy Ellmann . . . A confident and surprising chronicle.” —Publishers Weekly
“Very funny . . . [A] critique of his, and our, collectively frayed attention.” —Maddie Crum, Vulture
“Compact, brilliant, and very funny . . . Castro has committed the unlikely act of attending to his art while including its corruption, a tradition all its own, thus making it all the more contemporary and comedic.” —Scott Cheshire, The Brooklyn Rail
“This book, better than any other I know, shows how creation emerges from the nothingness of our culture. A hilarious and important novel.” —Michael W. Clune, author of Gamelife and White Out: The Secret Life of Heroin
“Jordan Castro brilliantly manipulates time and perception in The Novelist: A Novel. Prescient, funny, and deeply uncanny, this is a wholly unique book about distractions, digressions, and what it means to make art and live meaningfully while trapped in the bright, narcotic thrall of social media.” —Kimberly King Parsons, author of Black Light
“I admire the ingenious invention of The Novelist, in which an unnamed writer struggles to write his book, begins to write another book, and ultimately writes this book, which is blunt, earnest, scatological, self-critical, provocative, philosophical, and very fun to read.” —Kathryn Scanlan, author of The Dominant Animal
“No vacuous fad nor commonplace hypocrisy is safe from Jordan Castro. With prose as relentless as it is rhythmic, The Novelist gouges into the status-quo, laying bare the futility of both art and meaningful subversion against a culture of narcissism and instant gratification. Among his biting social commentaries, Castro weaves in shards of unabashed earnestness, even of rue, all of which culminate in a poignant meditation on the creative impulse. The Novelist not only establishes Castro as a fresh force to be reckoned with, but one with rare heart, too.” —Jakob Guanzon, author of Abundance, longlisted for the National Book Award
“Brisk and shockingly witty, exuberantly scatological as well as deeply wise, The Novelist is a delight. Jordan Castro is a rare new talent: an author highly attuned to the traditions he is working within while also offering a refreshingly fun sendup of life beset by the endless scroll.” —Mary South, author of You Will Never Be Forgotten
“A hilarious satire about trying to write a novel. It’s an inventive insight into the creative life that is completely binge-worthy.” —Adam Vitcavage, Debutiful
“Bitingly funny [and] scatalogically exuberant . . . Castro’s inhalable first novel manages to be both an uncanny reflection of our collective fragmented attention spans, and such a strong, cohesive narrative that I read it straight through . . . A generous portrait of what it takes to be truly creative, rather than reactive or imitative. With The Novelist, Castro reveals the ways in which inspiration is never the single lightning bolt we wish it would be; it needs to be teased out and encouraged, given space to grow louder and louder, until we can’t ignore its buzz and brilliance.” —Kristin Iversen, Just Circling Back
“Part journal and part novel . . . An interesting peek into one specific life.” —Sam Franzini, The Daily Nexus
“The entire plot, or lack thereof, unspools over the course of a few hours. It’s a clever conceit that Castro executes with disarming sincerity, exploring his narrator’s quotidian mundanities and interior life with reverence and precision . . . Where The Novelist most succeeds is in its use of tropes of the genre to transcend the genre, pushing its premise to some logical limit, stopping just short of the cliff over which the project might fall into a satirical abyss.” —Gideon Jacobs, Interview
“Critical yet big-hearted, and always self-questioning and humorous.” —Juliet Escoria, BOMB
“An engaging reflection on the anxieties of writing autofiction, and of the genre as it exists today . . . The Novelist shines—not only in its exploration of the conventions of the genre, but in [Castro’s] experimentation with it as well . . . A highly self-aware novel.” —Joshua Vigil, Chicago Review of Books
In Jordan Castro’s inventive, funny, and surprisingly tender first novel, we follow a young man over the course of a single morning as he tries and fails to write an autobiographical novel, finding himself instead drawn into the infinite spaces of Twitter, quotidian rituals, and his own mind.
The act of making coffee prompts a reflection on the limits of self-knowledge; an editor’s embarrassing tweet sparks rage at the literary establishment; a meditation on first person versus third examines choice and action; an Instagram post about the ethics of having children triggers mimetic rivalry; the act of doing the dishes is at once ordinary and profound: one of the many small commitments that make up a life of stability.
The Novelist: A Novel pays tribute to Nicholson Baker’s The Mezzanine and Thomas Bernhard’s Woodcutters, but in the end is a wholly original novel about language and consciousness, the internet and social media, and addiction and recovery.
Praise for Jordan Castro:
Jordan Castro’s if i really wanted to feel happy i’d feel happy already is one of my favorite books. I feel consistently delighted, excited, emotional, amused, intellectually stimulated while reading it and thinking about it. — Tao Lin, author of Shoplifting from American Apparel
Jordan Castro is one of those true poets whose poems don’t feel like poems. When you read most poems it makes you feel like you’re fasting. This is how empty most poems feel. Castro’s poems are different. They are full of carbs and girls and life and recklessness and wildness and flesh. They fill me up. They make me feel hungry for more. I read them and I eat. I grow large with this rock and roll and life. Fifty years from now, people will read these poems and whisper, “I want to be young again. I want to be young again.” And it will be so. — Scott McClanahan, author of The Sarah Book, Crapalachia, and more.
- A LitHub Most Anticipated Book of the Year