Dead Souls

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Product Details

$26.00  $24.18
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.1 X 1.2 inches | 1.2 pounds

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About the Author

Sam Riviere is the author of a trilogy of poetry books, 81 Austerities (2012) Kim Kardashian's Marriage (2015), and After Fame (2020), all published by Faber, and a book of experimental prose, Safe Mode (Test Centre, 2017). He teaches at Durham University and lives in Edinburgh where he runs the micropublisher If a Leaf Falls Press.


The Guardian, 1 of the 10 Best Debut Novelists of the Year
BuzzFeed, A Most Anticipated Book of the Year
A New Statesman Most Anticipated Book of the Year

"Mordant, torrential, incantatory, Bolano-esque, Perec-ian, and just so explosively written that I had to stop and shake the language-shrapnel from my hair and wipe it off my eyeglasses so I could keep reading." --Jonathan Lethem

Manic and thrillingly musical. --Dustin Illingworth, The New York Times Book Review

A sardonic novel of poetry, plagiarism and literary politics that leans into its nihilism . . . Clever. --Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

"Dead Souls is an exceedingly cerebral comedy about the viability of contemporary poetry . . . One of the wittiest, sharpest, cruelest critiques of literary culture I've ever read. Riviere unleashes a flock of winged devils to tear apart the hermetically sealed world of privilege, praise and publication in which a few lucky writers dwell . . . What no summary can convey is the hypnotic effect of Riviere's relentless prose . . . An astute, wildly original novel that talks trash about everyone whose success galls you. And there's nothing quite so delicious as that. --Ron Charles, The Washington Post

Sharp and funny. --Lily Meyer, NPR

Hypnotic. --Meg Whiteford, The Believer

A brilliant and brilliantly entertaining novel. The writing is merciless; the rage is genuine . . . Exhilarating. --Toby Litt, The Guardian

An ingenious and authentic debut novel about privilege and public vilification in the arts sector . . . Entirely original. --Jonathan McAloon, Financial Times (UK)

Whip-smart . . . Weirdly hypnotic . . . The strange and inexplicable abound: there are conspiracies, clues and delicious Nabokovian red herrings . . . Dead Souls is a real achievement. --Tristram Fane Saunders, The Daily Telegraph

Readers will get caught up in the waywardness of this 300-page single-paragraph novel, following its numerous and surprising digressions wherever they may lead . . . The novel pinches its set-up from Camus's The Fall, veers close to Thomas Bernhard's sweeping syntax and yokes together scuzz with the cult of poetry à la Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño . . . By stepping through Dead Souls' funhouse mirror, we see the current normal reality is as absurd and empty as an email. Yet, running through the novel is a skein of hope; stealing might not be as antisocial as it is usually made out. In fact, a little bit of plagiarism might be one of the most communal acts of all. --Sammi Gale, inews (UK)

Inventive . . . Timely and provocative. --Arianna Rebolini, BuzzFeed, Best Summer Books

"Riviere . . . artfully blends metaphysics, existentialism, ideas of originality, and plagiarism, plus an enticing dose of history and memoir in this captivating read." --Reader's Digest, A Best Fiction Book of the Year

Reminiscent of Thomas Bernhard and, more recently, the works of Lucy Ellman and Mike McCormack . . . Brilliantly inventive . . . Laugh out loud funny, harsh and savage, but also sobering and thoughtful. --Ian Mond, Locus

The sheer brio and tumbling intelligence of Riviere's narration lift almost every page. Once you catch the spuming surf of his prose-and, as with Bernhard or Marías, it does take a little time-you'll want to ride the wave to the shore . . . Wickedly sharp. --Boyd Tonkin, The Arts Desk

Manic and relentless . . . Impeccably written. --Dana Hansen, Chicago Review of Books

Riviere's provocative debut novel . . . calls to mind Thomas Bernhard not only for its form but its rhythm and cadence . . . Will appeal to fans of Kate Zambreno's Drifts. --Publishers Weekly