The Novelist

Author: Castro, Jordan

Publication Date:

June 2022



Original language and publisher

English | Soft Skull

Territories Handled

World excl. English North America

Territories Sold

South Korea (Urbanbooks)


Debut Novel, Literary Fiction

Foreign Covers


The Novelist

Author: Castro, Jordan


“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

“Jordan Castro’s The Novelist nails the experience of being online, in all its abject glory.” —Kate Knibbs, WIRED

“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 . . . But 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

“The title of Jordan Castro’s The Novelist: A Novel captures the joke that drives his fiction: it self-reflexively examines the novel form, even as it eschews so many things that might typically bring us to novels . . . But The Novelist: A Novel excels in ways other than this conceptual premise; the novel features exquisite moments that blend vivid description with abject, ridiculous situations . . . Jordan Castro writes well. Across his debut novel, he demonstrates technical skill, able to mingle genres and details into compelling and pleasurable prose. In the process, he reveals that—even if his protagonist doesn’t know it—there is so much more to a novel than autofictional backflips or life that you can get wrong.” —Adam Fales, Full Stop

“Jordan Castro’s debut novel, The Novelist, cleverly cops to its influences—like Nicholson Baker’s early reverential mundanity yoked with Thomas Bernhard’s righteous wit—but brings a philosophical fervor to its charismatic self-indulgence . . . It’s a careful report on the mental gymnastics so familiar to our tech-addled brains, a roast of the stunted evolution of small press literature, and an earnest metafictional brooding over what a novel should do. Its titular narrator practically pleads, ‘I wanted my first novel to be taken seriously.’ The Novelist deserves at least as much.” —Crow Jonah Norlander, Los Angeles Review of Books 

“The Novelist’s observations about using social media . . . are accurate, but where the novel really exceeds the standard criticism is in turning this distraction into the drumbeat of modern life, on top of which a compelling guy riffs about life, literature, and pooping . . . Castro has an ear for comic timing and eye for the kind of observations that linger just below consciousness.”  —Hanson O’Haver, Gawker 

 “Our terminal obsession with modern day distraction is crystallised in Jordan Castro’s debut novel, titled The Novelist . . . A prescient, witty book.”  —Douglas Greenwood, i-D

“Castro’s fiction debut is as meta as it gets, but that’s part of its immense charm . . . Sweet, funny and beautifully written.”  —Michael Schaub, A NPR Best Book of the Year

“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

The Novelist’s primary concern is the flattening of reality and fiction, as well as the corrosion of the imagination that it produces. When this flattening happens, Castro seems to say, the truth and vigor of literature is lost. Authors lose a sense of authority and recognition of craft . . . By inserting an analogue of himself in his novel, Castro teases readers and critics alike, daring them to make correlations between him and his characters. He’s getting ahead of things. With The Novelist, Castro asserts his identity as an author, not a brand.”  —Akosua T. Adasi, Dirt 

“Superbly captures the circuitous psychosis of the degenerate social media user who can’t stop clicking and eventually becomes one with the cursor . . . Its slimness and autofictional pyrotechnics belie its philosophical heft and seriousness. Initially, it gives off the impression that it’s a funny novel with traces of seriousness, but in actuality, it’s a serious book that uses humor to lull the reader into a comfortable state before unleashing the vitriolic, yet life-affirming, rant that is the heart of the narrative.”  —Alex Perez, Washington Examiner 

“Castro’s debut novel uses the process of writing (and not-writing) to reflect on social media’s inescapable and numbing pull. It also upends the historical ‘drug novel’ by offering a portrait of what life looks like in recovery. The narrator’s hopeful reorientation out of this simulated, technological world opens space to be present, to think of his partner, and to return home humbled by the machinations of the actual world.” —Taylor Lewandowski, Bookforum

“A highly ironic, hyper-self-aware look into the effects of contemporary internet culture on attention spans and the ability to produce “authentic” cultural work in our era. The Novelist is more than that, though. In particular, it profoundly reflects addiction as a universal human condition . . .  it may be one of the best books about addiction.”  —Brandon P. Bisbey, PopMatters

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.

Marketing Information

  • A LitHub Most Anticipated Book of the Year
  • A NPR Best Book of the Year

Foreign Covers