A Mistake


Product Details

$25.00  $23.00
Counterpoint LLC
Publish Date
5.6 X 8.4 X 0.9 inches | 0.75 pounds

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About the Author

CARL SHUKER is the author of five novels, including Anti Lebanon, The Lazy Boys, Three Novellas for a Novel, and The Method Actors, which won the 2006 Prize in Modern Letters. A former editor for The British Medical Journal, one of the oldest medical journals in the world, he has lived and worked in Tokyo and London for many years, and now lives in his home country, New Zealand, with his wife and their two children.


Praise for A Mistake

"In A Mistake, New Zealand author Carl Shuker conveys in gorgeous, heartbreaking detail the shock of catastrophe and the ways we try to make sense of disaster after the fact . . . A Mistake wastes no time with throat clearing. From its first word we're in the pivotal, high-stakes scene around which all else in the novel revolves . . . Shuker's novel is the fascinating and infuriating story of the way various parties interpret and revise what they witnessed, limning events in telling ways. Shuker's arresting prose renders the inconceivable breathtaking . . . We are reminded of why we turn to narrative in the first place--our need to know what happened and our very human, if misguided, compulsion to fashion the messiness into a discernible, knowable story." --Maggie Trapp, The Washington Post

"A routine procedure goes awry, and Elizabeth, a star surgeon who's navigated the casual sexism of her field for years, finds herself under the microscope. The New Zealand novelist Carl Shuker creates a memorably brilliant heroine and then, as she navigates the consequences of her mistake, suggests that novel-writing is itself can be analogous to surgery: a careful dissection by an impossibly sharp knife, which can perform miracles--but can also go terribly awry. Luckily, Shuker's hands are steady." --Dan Kois, Slate

"The Method Actors. Three Novellas for a Novel. The Lazy Boys. Anti Lebanon. You'd think Carl Shuker couldn't get any better, but A Mistake is the novel at its visceral and emotional best. This is the most compelling book I've read in years. It pulls you along at breakneck speed through questions of failure, exposure, and manners. Shuker reinvents the form with every novel, and A Mistake is a masterpiece that feels more like a body than a book--the life pumps and glugs and flexes inside its pages." --Pip Adam, author of The New Animals

"Don't believe this title. Carl Shuker's novel A Mistake is anything but. This is a precisely crafted, nuanced, riveting book that dares to open up and probe all manner of assumptions . . . Shuker tells us Taylor's compelling story in luminous, precise language. His cutting lines and lyrical turns of phrase will take your breath away." --Maggie Trapp, The New Zealand Herald

"Wellington novelist Carl Shuker poses some fundamental questions about culpability and accountability in this compelling and important novel . . . The opening 20 pages of the novel are stunning . . . a rush of adrenaline in the midst of a hectic operation that is quickly descending into an emergency. Shuker's command of detail and subject knowledge is deeply impressive." --Steve Walker, Sunday Star-Times

"There's a clinical orderliness in Shuker's arrangement of ideas, an uncompromising quality--no soft bedside manner to spare the sensitive reader. Confident in what he knows he says just enough, in narrative so well calibrated he maintains the tension effortlessly. It's as if he has absorbed Hemingway's iceberg method, the spare, austere prose in which meaning is implicit. He's able to convey cruelties, to deliver shocks and evoke the harshness of fate in a manner so deadpan the impact is powerful . . . There is complexity within the clarity and an excellent literary paradox in the prose: this is a story about chaos told with consummate, steely control." --Charlotte Grimshaw, Landfall Review Online

"Shuker succeeds in providing a main character whose idiosyncratic self is most fully realized in the operating room and who has only herself to rely upon to survive the repercussions of a mistake. A character study and a morality tale wrapped up in a medical thriller." --Kirkus Reviews

"Shuker, who works for the British Medical Journal, presents a concise portrayal of the consequences of mistakes that result in the loss of life, along the way displaying knowledge about medical practices and the difficulties facing a woman entering a man's world. An intriguing account of irresponsibility and its aftermath." --Booklist

Praise for The Method Actors

"Brash and fearless, The Method Actors is a self-consciously postmodern challenge to our perceived reality and its fictional depiction." --New York Times Book Review

"A mesmerizing opus . . . a serious accomplishment." --The AV Club

"The Method Actors is a rich, complex, and accomplished novel." --The Georgia Straight

"Edgy, appealing, smart, and a lot hipper than I'll ever be." --San Diego Union Tribune

"Lost in Translation for the noir crowd: a carefully plotted tale of a decidedly postmodern bent." --Kirkus Reviews

"Kiwi novelist Shuker's debut follows a set of gaijin--young international 20-somethings who have gravitated to ultra hip, fast-forward Tokyo--as one of their number goes missing . . . Shuker's dizzying debut shimmers with authentic detail, an uncanny, otherworldly sense of place and a cast of believably hardcore hipsters." --Publishers Weekly

"Shuker brilliantly captures Tokyo's edgy atmosphere and the cosmic loneliness of his characters in his overlong yet probing and imaginative debut novel, which possesses the frisson of Alex Garland's The Beach and a profound moral valence. How do we distinguish between the roles people play and their authentic selves? How contrived is history? How do we live with the knowledge of horrors such as the Japanese atrocities? Shuker poses daunting questions of conscience and compassion." --Donna Seaman, Booklist

"A tremendous stylist and a tremendous observer . . . again and again I stopped to admire particular sentences and paragraphs." --Stephen Dobyns, author of The Church of Dead Girls

"This dense, ambitious, labyrinthine novel depicts the nuances of an outsider culture in a Japan so current it is slightly futuristic. An engrossing delight, richly imagined, in which cynicism and exuberance alternate in quick succession." --Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander

"An extraordinarily ambitious and often brilliant first novel. I envy Shuker his future." --David Markson, author of This is Not a Novel and Other Novels

"The Method Actors brings secrets back from scary places. It's composed of dazzle and panic and wisdom. It seems to me to inhabit a world that has continuities with those of, say, William Gibson or Thomas Pynchon, but that operates with a new intensity and seriousness." --Bill Manhire, author of Some Things to Place in a Coffin

Praise for Anti Lebanon

"Anti Lebanon is an extremely exciting book. It seems to suggest we can go anywhere with the novel, that it can contain anything. It's masterful in its form and the story it tells is compelling, original and important." --Pip Adam, Scoop Review of Books

"One cannot help but be captivated by the slow, mournful mood and atmosphere of Shuker's Beirut. Combining a thriller and a horror story into a single melancholic narrative, Shuker has created a haunting and riveting account of war, loss, and exile." --Publishers Weekly