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Some Trick: Thirteen Stories


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For sheer unpredictable brilliance, Gogol may come to mind, but no author alive today takes a reader as far as Helen DeWitt into the funniest, most yonder dimensions of possibility. Her jumping-off points might be statistics, romance, the art world's piranha tank, games of chance and games of skill, the travails of publishing, or success. "Look," a character begins to explain, laying out some gambit reasonably enough, even if facing a world of boomeranging counterfactuals, situations spinning out to their utmost logical extremes, and Rube Goldberg-like moving parts, where things prove "more complicated than they had first appeared" and "at 3 a.m. the circumstances seem to attenuate." In various ways, each tale carries DeWitt's signature poker-face lament regarding the near-impossibility of the life of the mind when one is made to pay to have the time for it, in a world so sadly "taken up with all sorts of paraphernalia superfluous, not to say impedimental, to ratiocination."
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"DeWitt pushes against the limitations of the novel as a form; reading her, one wants to push against the limitations of one's own brain." -- Miranda Popkey - The Paris Review "An intellectual powerhouse, laugh-out-loud funny in unexpected ways." -- Ilana Teitelbaum - The Huffington Post "Her books assert (and often attest) that a work of fiction can encompass many kinds of knowledge-probability theory, scatterplots of data, tables of non-Roman alphabets-without compromising its form." -- Lindsay Gail - Los Angeles Review of Books

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