Author(s): Ben Lerner
James: "Adam is a debate champion caught up in his verbal dexterity. His psychologist parents are treating Darren, whose actions degrade into anger. A zig-zagging narrative reflects Adam’s attempts to piece together traumatic events buried in his adolescence. With wit and sincerity, ambiguity resolves into a complex, deeply humane place. Stay in the boat with Adam – you won’t regret it." A radical new take on the American family saga from a bona fide American literary genius, the acclaimed author of Leaving the Atocha Station and 10:04.
'A novel of exhilarating intellectual inquiry, penetrating social insight and deep psychological sensitivity...the future of the novel is here'- Sally Rooney
"The Topeka School is what happens when one of the most discerning, ambitious, innovative, and timely writers of our day writes his most discerning, ambitious, innovative and timely novel to date. It's a complete pleasure to read Lerner experimenting with other minds and times, to watch his already profound talent blooming into new subjects, landscapes, and capacities. This book is a prehistory of a deeply disturbing national moment, but it's written with the kind of intelligence, insight, and searching that makes one feel well-accompanied and, in the final hour, deeply inspired." —Maggie Nelson
"In Ben Lerner's riveting third novel, Midwestern America in the late nineties becomes a powerful allegory of our troubled present. The Topeka School deftly explores how language not only reflects but is at the very center of our country's most insidious crises. In prose both richly textured and many-voiced, we track the inner lives of one white family's interconnected strengths and silences. What's revealed is part tableau of our collective lust for belonging, part diagnosis of our ongoing national violence. This is Lerner's most essential and provocative creation yet." —Claudia Rankine
Adam Gordon is a senior at Topeka High School, class of '97. His parents are psychologists, his mom a famous author in the field. A renowned debater and orator, an aspiring poet, and - although it requires a lot of posturing and weight lifting - one of the cool kids, he's also one of the seniors who brings the loner Darren Eberheart into the social scene, with disastrous effects. Deftly shifting perspectives and time periods, The Topeka School is a riveting story about the challenges of raising a good son in a culture of toxic masculinity. It is also a startling prehistory of the present: the collapse of public speech, the tyranny of trolls and the new right, and the ongoing crisis of identity among white men.
Author Biography: Ben Lerner was born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1979. He has received fellowships from the Fulbright, Guggenheim, and MacArthur Foundations, and is the author of two internationally acclaimed novels, Leaving the Atocha Station and 10:04. He has published the poetry collections The Lichtenberg Figures, Angle of Yaw (a finalist for the National Book Award) and Mean Free Path and No Art as well as the iconic essay The Hatred of Poetry. In 2011, he became the first American to win the Munster Prize for International Poetry. Lerner lives and teaches in Brooklyn.
Promotional Information: A radical new take on the American family saga from a bona fide American literary genius, the acclaimed author of Leaving the Atocha Station and 10:04