Curtis White
Wednesday, April 4, 2018, 7:00 p.m., City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco

reading from his new novel


from Melville House

The man Paul Auster called "a master of bewitchments" and a founder of the Fiction Collective returns to the novel after twenty years

In the spirit of "transcendental buffoonery," Curtis White's return to fiction is fun in the extreme. The story begins when a masked man with “a message both obscure and appalling” appears at the door of the Marquis claiming a matter of life and death, declaring, “I stand falsely accused of an atrocity!”

Dispatched by the Queen of Spells from the Outer Hebrides, the Masked Man's message was really just a polite request for the Marquis (a video game-playing burnout) to help him enroll in some community college vocational classes. But the exchange gets botched… badly. And our masked man is now lost in America, encountering its absurdities at every turn, and cursing those responsible for this cruel fate — including the author that created him.

In a time obsessed with the crisis du jour, White asks us to remember what it’s like to laugh, to be a little silly even, in order to reclaim what used to be fundamental to us — the strength to create our own worlds.

CURTIS WHITE has published seven earlier books of fiction, including Memories of My Father Watching TV. His non-fiction includes The Middle MindThe Science Delusion, and We, Robots. His essays have appeared in Harper’s, the Village Voice, Orion, Salon, Tricycle, and Playboy.

Praise for the work of Curtis White:

“Fun fact: Jonathan Swift spent four decades living incognito in the Midwest USA writing books under the name Curtis White.” Joshua Cohen, author of The Book of Numbers and Moving Kings

“Raw, rude and rowdy metaphysical slapstick, packed with buffoonery, frantic, at times wistful — Lacking Character is meant to amuse, piss off and, above all, distract from prevailing, pandemic lunacies.” —Rikki Ducornet, author of Brightfellow

Lacking Character is marvelous. It is what writing must be (what is required) in this very moment of the Kali Yuga.” —Mark Leyner, author of The Sugar Frosted Nutsack and My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist

“The most inspiringly wicked social critic of the moment.” —Will Blythe, Elle

“Cogent, acute, beautiful, and true.” —David Foster Wallace

“Absolutely indispensable.” —Slavoj Žižek

“A master of bewitchments, parodies, and dazzling tropes.” —Paul Auster

“Splendidly cranky.” —Molly Ivins


Books related to this event:

Product image
Lacking Character
A Novel
Curtis White
2018 Edition
In the spirit of "transcendent buffoonery" Curtis White's miraculous return to fiction is fun in the extreme. When a masked man arrives in N---, Illinois bearing a letter and claiming its contents a matter of life or death, the small town--and the fabric of reality--will never be the same.