A Brilliant Novel in the Works (Paperback)
In his debut novel, Yuvi Zalkow writes about a neurotic Jewish writer, named Yuvi, who is writing his debut novel. Well, he's trying to write his debut novel, anyway. And he's trying to be a good husband. And he's trying
to help out his ailing brother-in-law. But his fears, insecurities, and
worries usually get the better of him. Zalkow updates the classic
neurotic Jew for the twenty-first century, updating the self-obsessed
humor of Woody Allen and the familial legacies of shame and guilt found
in the works of Philip Roth, Saul Bellow, and their contemporaries.
(And, by "updating," I mean he adds in anagrams, runaway pianos, and
rhesus monkeys living on Uranus.) If any of this sounds clever or overly
cute, be prepared for a very well-written, emotionally honest, and
often heartbreaking tale of a man who must battle all of his worst
impulses to keep his life from falling apart. Brilliant is the perfect
word to describe this inventive novel.
Yuvi's life is an open book. He is smart and neurotic and witty and has lots of baggage and a lovely memory and fascinating parents and an ailing brother-in-law and a wife who tolerates his eccentricities. And his editor is hounding him for a novel which he can't seem to get off the ground. Welcome to the headspace of Yuvi as he grants us an intimate peek into his unique problematic self. I can't wait until Yuvi Zalkow comes to the bookstore to do a reading and I can ask him more about the Yuvi in his book.— Matt
But Yuvi worries. He has a wife who wants things he can't give, an editor who wants a book he can't deliver, a brother-in-law with a gut disease that he can't fix, and dead parents who stubbornly remain dead.
As the structure of Yuvi's novel falls apart, so does his life. His novel and his life blend together as he struggles to pull out of the mess. He revisits the fragments of his unreconciled past and his pantsless present, traveling from his suburban Jewish home in Atlanta to the North Carolina mountains of his father's childhood, to several hospital waiting rooms, to the living room of a grieving Palestinian man.
Heartbreaking and hilarious, A Brilliant Novel in the Works is the utterly original debut novel from Yuvi Zalkow.
About the Author
Yuvi Zalkow's stories have been published in Glimmer Train, Narrative Magazine, Carve Magazine, and others. He received an MFA from Antioch University. He lives in Portland, OR and is hard at work on his second novel.