[UCP Books]: Personae: A Novel
“De La Pava’s shape-shifting latest is, in part, an upbeat existentialist comedy. . . . Game readers should have as much fun with this clever experiment as the author seems to have had inventing it.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review
Praise for Sergio De La Pava’s A Naked Singularity
“One of the 10 best fiction books of 2012.”—Wall Street Journal
“One of the best books of the year.”—Toronto Star
“One of the best books of 2012.”—Houston Chronicle
“One of the best of 2012.”—Philadelphia City Paper
Sergio De La Pava
|Publication date: October 15, 2013||$17.00/£12.00|
|International publication date: October 15, 2013||978-0-226-07899-1|
How do you follow up a first novel that made the leap from self-publishing to mainstream success to winning the PEN/Robert W. Bingham award as best debut novel of the year—and along the way became an instant cult classic? Well, if you’re Sergio De La Pava, you do something completely different.
Having been applauded by Slate for the “unapologetically maximalist” brilliance and humor of A Naked Singularity, with its successor, Personae, De La Pava delivers a stripped-down, even claustrophobic meditation on death, fate, and the difficulty of working our way to anything resembling truth. It’s a murder mystery, but not of the sort that would satisfy Agatha Christie or S. S. Van Dine: a damaged psychic detective obsesses over the seeming murder of an elderly man and tries to reconstruct his life and death from the welter of strange documents he left behind. Midway through, the narrative abruptly shifts gears, locking us into a Beckettian or Sartrean black comedy staged in what may (or may not) be hell. When we return to the mystery, certainties have dissolved and answers are hard to come by, but De La Pava nonetheless brings about a surprising, even moving resolution.
An early reader called Personae, with its brilliant collage effects, a “novel in a fugue state.” Like its predecessor, it is a work of uncompromising ambition and staggering talent—and it demonstrates that Sergio De La Pava is here to stay.