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Woke Up Lonely


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About the Author

Fiona Maazel is the author of Last Last Chance, called "moving, buoyant, and utterly true" by the New York Times Book Review. She is winner of the Bard Prize for Fiction, a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree, and the recipient of a Lannan Foundation Residency. Her work has appeared in BOMB, Bookforum, Conjunctions, Fence, GQ, Gulf Coast, Glamour, The Millions, Mississippi Review, n+1, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, Salon, This American Life, Tin House, The Village Voice, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. She teaches at Brooklyn College and New York University, and was appointed the Picador Guest Professor at the University of Leipzig, Germany, for the spring of 2012. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.


"Maazel's new novel sounds like an AM radio dial spinning between the spooky midnight frequency of 'V.' and the bizarro breakfast show humor of 'White Noise, ' . . . Intricately imagined and timely. . . . Maazel is an entertaining writer with a dry, droll sense of humor . . . She's insightful about how and why we build up instead of tear down the walls between us." --The New York Times Book Review

"Brilliantly imagine[d]." --Vanity Fair

"[A] fun farce." --Cosmopolitan

"Maazel's insights are as sound as her imagination is wild.", Book of the Week

"It's as if a Paul Thomas Anderson movie (The Master, There Will Be Blood) married a David Foster Wallace novel and had a baby. Which is to say, this story is weird, thrilling, and inimitable." --Marie Claire

"Woke Up Lonely is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking, filled with swerves and contradictions. . . . Poignant and unpredictable." --Jane Ciabattari, NPR

"The talented Maazel has plenty of imagination." --USA Today

"Among the many sterling novels coming out this April . . . Woke Up Lonely [has] stood out." --Salon

"[Maazel] has a real talent for taking these existential millstones of modern life--fear of death, failure, being alone, everything--and filtering them into morbidly funny, troublingly familiar forms. . . . Woke Up Lonely easily refutes the idea that the novel is a staid, obsolete form of writing. The stakes in Maazel's book are at least as real as any work of nonfiction, and it's a good deal more fun to read than any manifesto." --The Daily Beast

"Woke Up Lonely is another wunderkammer, a deeply felt and wildly original novel that repays the attention it demands, and once read won't be soon forgotten." --Justin Taylor, Bookforum

"Fizzy and intoxicating." --Kansas City Star

"Woke Up Lonely is a vibrant, engaging, and endlessly inventive exploration of loneliness, and is easily one of the year's finest novels." --Largehearted Boy

"There's nothing better than a really good cult novel--especially a wonderfully written, brutally satiric one." --Flavorwire, "10 New Must-Reads for April"

"Considering (among other things) solitude in the digital era, Maazel's rhythmic prose carries the twisty tale with confidence." --Time Out New York

"Sweeping, achingly honest . . . Woke Up Lonely is both a mirror and magic looking glass, reflecting who we are and who we have the potential to become." --Los Angeles Review of Books

"Maazel takes a cue from Kurt Vonnegut by creating a novel that blends the plot of a dramatic thriller with wacky humor and bits of science fiction." --BUST Magazine

"At turns satiric and heartfelt, Maazel's novel brims with energy and life." --Manuel Gonzales, Publishers Weekly "Signature Review"

"[A] rollicking ride of a novel. . . . successful at every level." --Kirkus Reviews

"I may have bruised my ribs from laughing. Woke Up Lonely is a funhouse hall of mirrors whose dark (and hilarious) distortions reveal some almost unbearable truths about what it means to be lonely in America today." --Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

"A great novel. Great, major, important--say it however you like. This is a book you need." --Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life

"Woke Up Lonely is the novel equivalent of a sonic boom--it builds, it explodes, it leaves your ears, mind, and soul ringing for days." --Heidi Julavits, author of The Vanishers

"No one does loneliness, self-abasement, and dread like Fiona Maazel. And maybe no one other than George Saunders illuminates with as much sadness and comic brio the grotesqueness of the extent to which we fall short of who we imagine ourselves to be." --Jim Shepard, author of You Think That's Bad

"Fiona Maazel's imagination is so wild . . . that you feel like you've woken up into one of those rare novels as real as life. Hooray for such a talent!" --Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances

"Ignore Fiona Maazel at your peril. Woke Up Lonely is just as pithy, whimsical, and brilliant as her first novel, Last Last Chance. She writes about loneliness in a way that makes you feel less lonely: a wild, hilarious ride that highlights Maazel's uncanny knack for avoiding the obvious." --Wesley Stace, author of Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer

Thurlow Dan is the founder of Helix, a prominent cult that promises a cure for loneliness. But Dan has a problem: he is lonely-for his covert CIA agent ex-wife, Esme, who has spent much of her life spying on Dan in an effort to shield him from the police. But when one of Esme's surveillance missions goes awry, Dan starts taking hostages. Maazel's novel is enhanced by narrator Bernadette Dunne's winning performance in this audio edition. With an older voice and slight rasp, Dunne offers up clear, clean narration. Equally important, her reading is well paced and demonstrates great timing. A Graywolf hardcover. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Late in the novel, a main character states, "I could not fathom where to go." This statement neatly describes a messy novel. It is not clear whether the author intended for this work to be a humorous approach to politics and self-awareness, a view of cult leadership and life, an approach to transmogrifying relationships, or a travelog on North Korea. The characters' backstories are numbingly long and overly detailed, the plot veers like a driverless car, and the overall effect is a hot mess. The excellent narration by Bernadette Dunne is wasted on this confused literary effort. Verdict Not recommended. ["Maazel's wildly imaginative style isn't for everyone, and her humor may be lost on many readers. But this ambitious, wide-ranging novel should appeal to those who enjoy complex, edgy, and ironic literary fiction," read the review of the Graywolf hc, LJ 5/1/13.-Ed.]-J. Sara Paulk, Wythe-Grayson Regional Lib., Independence, VA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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