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Talent

Talent

A “deliciously funny, sharp, and sincere (Helen Oyeyemi)” debut, a young graduate student writing about-and desperately searching for-inspiration stumbles upon it in the unlikeliest of places.

Anna Brisker is a twenty-nine-year-old graduate student in English at Collegiate University who can’t seem to finish her dissertation. Her project: an intellectual history of inspiration. And yet, for the first time, Anna has found herself utterly uninspired. Rather than work on her thesis, she spends her days eating Pop-Tarts and walking the gritty streets of New Harbor, Connecticut.

As Anna’s adviser is quick to remind her, time is running out. She needs the perfect case study to anchor her thesis-and she needs it now. Amid this mounting pressure, Anna strikes up a tenuous friendship with the niece of the famous author Frederick Langley. Freddy wrote three successful books as a young man, then published exactly nothing for the rest of his wayward, hermetic life. Critics believe Freddy suffered from an acute case of writer’s block, but his niece tells Anna that there’s more to the story: When he died, he was at work on something new.

With exclusive access to the notebooks of an author who was inspired, uninspired, and potentially reinspired, Anna knows she’s found the perfect case study. But as fascination with Freddy blooms into obsession, Anna is drawn irrevocably into the criminal machinations of his sole living heir.

A modern twist on the Parable of the Talents, Lapidos’s debut is a many-layered labyrinth of possible truths that reveal at each turn the danger of interpreting another person’s intentions-literary or otherwise.



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Genre: Fiction / Fiction / Literary

On Sale: January 22nd 2019

Price: $27 / $35 (CAD)

Page Count: 256

ISBN-13: 9780316480550

What's Inside

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Praise

"In TALENT, Juliet Lapidos pulls off a double feat. First, it's such a pleasure to think alongside the book's narrator as she gets caught up in the ultimate literary caper. Second, the laconic brilliance of the (fictional) author at the heart of this caper is in itself enough to induce tooth-gnashing envy. I gobbled down this deliciously funny, sharp, and sincere inquiry into the factors underpinning our valuations of art, labor, ourselves and each other."—Helen Oyeyemi, author of What is Not Yours is Not Yours
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"Juliet Lapidos has written a funny, brainy mystery novel that's set inside a funny, brainy campus novel. Its heroines are a blocked academic who specializes in the history of inspiration, and an antique bookbinder who's coming apart. Oh, and the title of it all is Talent, which now means "natural aptitude or skill," but back in Greco-Roman days was a unit of money. Talent, then, is something you're going to want, in every definition. If you've ever thought to yourself, "I'm hungry," or, "The only problem with Sarah Silverman is that she's not Nabokov," then this is the book for you."—Joshua Cohen, author of Book of Numbers
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"Steeped in literary intrigue and powered by a propulsive, agile wit, Talent is a taut existential thriller for the philosophical detective in each of us. In this gimlet-eyed, penetratingly comedic take on the campus novel, Juliet Lapidos lays bare the question that all academics ponder but few dare to actually ask: what use is knowing theory if we do not know ourselves?"—Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine
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"Talent is a wry meditation on ambition and an ingeniously constructed parable for our times. With wide-ranging erudition and pitch-perfect repartee, Juliet Lapidos reveals the terrible risk we take when we pity an artist."—Lucy Ives, author of Impossible Views of the World
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"Juliet Lapidos grabs a story type at least as old as Henry James's The Aspern Papers and makes away with it into fast-moving, witty, literary adventure. With Pop-Tarts."—John Crowley, author of Little, Big
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"Talent is a sly, bemused and original take on the idea of genius and fame, betrayal and family secrets, and ultimately, on freedom and imagination."—Susan Straight, author of Between Heaven and Here
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"I love a campus novel, especially when nearly everyone on campus is equally clueless. With dry, witty prose and a motley assortment of sharp voices, Talent finds hypocrisy and obsession in all the right places."—Rosecrans Baldwin, author of The Last Kid Left.
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"Juliet Lapidos has created an unforgettable hero for our times in perpetual graduate student Anna Brisker. TALENT is as witty and lively a first novel as I've read in years."
Karl Taro Greenfeld, author of Triburbia and True

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"Talent is a closely observed portrait of our moment and a fabulous thriller set in the world of book theft but it's also obsessed with a question that runs, unexamined, through a great many lives and books: Why bother? Why bother writing? Why bother living? The answer Talent comes up with is a combination of dry humor and the mystery of human inspiration. It's a good answer."
Stephen Marche, author of How Shakespeare Changed Everything
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"Lapidos' literary prowess is evident in this brilliantly witty and humorous debut. The novel's layers explore the dangers of interpretation and the varying perceptions of one's, and others', intentions, all of which come together to make a thoroughly enjoyable read."—Booklist
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