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Leaving the Atocha Station

Leaving the Atocha Station (Paperback)

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Foyles Notes

Veering between the comic and tragic, the self-contemptuous and the inspired, this is a dazzling introduction to one of the smartest, funniest and most audacious writers of a generation. Read an interview with the author here or find some suggestions for further reading here.

 

Synopsis

Adam Gordon is a brilliant, if highly unreliable, young American poet on a prestigious fellowship in Madrid, struggling to establish his sense of self and his attitude towards art. Fuelled by strong coffee and self-prescribed tranquillizers, Adam's 'research' soon becomes a meditation on the possibility of authenticity, as he finds himself increasingly troubled by the uncrossable distance between himself and the world around him. It's not just his imperfect grasp of Spanish, but the underlying suspicion that his relationships, his reactions, and his entire personality are just as fraudulent as his poetry.

Fiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945 Publisher: Granta Books Publication Date: 07/03/2013 ISBN-13: 9781847086914  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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Born in Kansas in 1979, BEN LERNER is the author of three books of poetry, The Lichtenberg Figures, Angle of Yaw, and Mean Free Path. He has been a finalist for the National Book Award, a Fulbright Scholar in Spain, and the recipient of a Howard Foundation Fellowship. In 2011 he became the first American to win the Munster State Prize for International Poetry. In 2013 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. He teaches in the writing program at Brooklyn College. This is his first novel.

See our Author Page for Ben Lerner

More books by Ben Lerner

Customer Reviews

beautifully written!

- 30/03/2013
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Staff Choice

A heady mix of sex, drugs and literature becomes quite something else in this debut noel. Adam is a young American student iving in Madrid and filling his days taking pills, contemplating paintings and reading poetry. Depressed by a self-confessed lack of originality, he believes himself incapable of creating anythign that isn't hopelessly derivative or inane. Insttead, he embarks on various relationships, practices his Spanish and jots down poems that aren't worth the paper they're written on, or so he thinks. A coming-of-age story that revels in teh uncertainty of youth but remains quietly uplifting.

Ed, Charing Cross Road

 

Leaving the Atocha Station is a beautifully written debut by prizewinning poet Ben Lerner. Adam Gordon, an American poet in his early twenties, finds himself in Madrid on a prestigious fellowship. Tanked up on espressos, un-prescribed prescription tranquillisers and fluctuating levels of terror, Adam struggles to claim authenticity and maintain a grasp on the fine line between life and art. In many ways it can be considered a coming of age novel, or rather, a novel documenting an artist's growth into maturity, except we are left questioning whether this was ever actually achieved... Clever, funny and at times, poignant (despite our unreliable narrator's best intentions) this is a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Fran, Charing Cross Road

 

Charing Cross Rd Bookshop - 05/03/2013

Veering between the comic and tragic, the self-contemptuous and the inspired, this is a dazzling introduction to one of the smartest, funniest and most audacious writers of a generation. - Edward

St Pancras International Bookshop - 05/03/2013

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