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The Topeka School Paperback – 1 September 2020

3.6 out of 5 stars 636 ratings

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Product description


Praise for The Topeka School: 'Ben Lerner has redefined what it means for a writer to inhabit an American present by showing how a family reckons with its past. Here the personal and political are masterfully interwoven. The Topeka School is brave, furious, and finally a work of love.' Ocean Vuong

'The Topeka School is a novel of exhilarating intellectual inquiry, penetrating social insight and deep psychological sensitivity. At every turn, its beautifully realised characters are shaped, even in the privacy of their inner lives, by the pressures of history and culture this is a book not only about how things really feel, but what things really mean. To the extent that we can speak of a future at present, I think 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... deeply inspired' Maggie Nelson

'Ben Lerner is a brilliant novelist, and one unafraid to make of the novel something truly new... He is one of my favourite living writers' Rachel Kushner

'The Topeka School deftly explores how language not only reflects but is at the very centre 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, author of Citizen: An American Lyric

'Ben Lerner is a masterful writer who destabilizes the very notion of what a novel can achieve by making it new at every turn. The Topeka School is not only a fiction for our times, but for the ages: insightful, humane, politically astute, and true' Hilton Als, author of White Girls

'Ambitious and original... like no other American family saga I've ever read' Editor's Choice, The Bookseller

'An education in the sympathetic imagination, a deep and bracing intellectual challenge, a powerful political statement. . . This is a novel to cherish.' The Observer Guide to the Best Autumn Culture

'Ben Lerner is arguably the hottest novelist writing in America today, in complete control of his ideas and his prose, and ambitious with both.' The Telegraph Autumn Hot 100

'One of the best writers working today... What can't he do?... I expect to be recommending [this] for the rest of my life' Sunday Times

'This is a great novel, one summoned by the desperate times in which it was written... a work of extraordinary intelligence and subtly, of lasting importance' Observer

'[Lerner] has a journalistic end in mind, a genealogy of contemporary American violence... but he is a real novelist, not an op-ed writer masquerading as one... a fine, exacting novel' Five stars. Telegraph

'[Lerner] combines the autofictional... and the metafictional with exceptional dexterity' Financial Times

'It's [Lerner's] most ambitious work and I believe it's a masterpiece' Zack Graham, BBC Radio 4 Open Book

'Ben Lerner's static crackle of intelligence is the first thing you notice about him and his work' Sunday Times

'The Topeka School is [Lerner's] most successful effort at navigating between communal experience... and individual feeling without denaturing either... dazzling' Guardian

'Elegant, readable and delightfully clever' --Times

'Lerner's erudite third novel switches perspectives with effortless agility... zeitgeisty and involving' Mail on Sunday

'Ambitious... In this frequently virtuosic novel, we glimpse the seam between the human-constructed world and the abyss beyond' Irish Times

'A decade-hopping family saga... Lerner's vigorously witty coming-of-age narrative serves as an insider critique of masculinity and privilege' Metro

Tom Sutcliffe: 'The best opening ten pages I've read all year, a seductive combination of foretold violence and anecdotal misadventure... This is a book that absolutely knows about the follies of intelligence... it has many scenes in it which reveal that'
Maria Delgado: 'A thrilling, thrilling book... I found it very powerful'
Kevin Jackson: 'It's a tremendously impressive novel' BBC Radio 4 Saturday Review

'Pleasingly intricate... this is a serious book for serious times' Scotland on Sunday

'This riveting novel takes a sharp look at toxic masculinity and its effect on young men' Good Housekeeping

'A funny, penetrating book about language, politics and masculinity... Lerner never shies away from emotional or intellectual complications. If anything, he feeds on them' Evening Standard

'A potent, painful picking-apart of trauma... Lerner brilliantly pleats and plays with time... one of the most essential [novels] published this year' Daily Mail

'The novel lurches towards the final launching of the cue ball like a tornado swerving over open country' --i

About the Author

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 three internationally acclaimed novels, Leaving the Atocha Station, 10:04 and The Topeka School. He has published the poetry collections The Lichtenberg Figures, Angle of Yaw (a finalist for the National Book Award), Mean Free Path and No Art as well as the essay The Hatred of Poetry. Lerner lives and teaches in Brooklyn.

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Product details

  • Item Weight : 210 g
  • Paperback : 304 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1783785373
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1783785377
  • Dimensions : 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Publisher : Granta Books; 1st edition (1 September 2020)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.6 out of 5 stars 636 ratings

Customer reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5
636 global ratings
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Reviewed in India on 2 September 2020

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Careful Reader
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 22 November 2019
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K. Hicks
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 December 2019
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2 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's a hit.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 6 June 2020
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Morten Goller
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel for the ages
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 22 February 2020
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2.0 out of 5 stars Arrived in a poor state
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 December 2019
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