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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Dreamscape Media; Unabridged edition (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611204348
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611204346
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 5.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,555,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

One of the best books of 2011. - Jonathan Franzen
One of the best books of 2011. "...intensely and unusually brilliant." - The Guardian (UK)
One of the best books of 2011. - iTunes
One of the best books from indie publishers in 2011. "[Leaving the Atocha Station] is remarkable for its ability to be simultaneously warm, ruminative, heart-breaking, and funny. Which is all to say that this book is suddenly one of my very favorites and I have a serious crush on Ben Lerner's brain." - Shelf Unbound
One of the Best Fiction Books of 2011. "[Lerner] writes so candidly and exquisitely...a marvelous novel...fully dimensional and compelling..." - The Wall Street Journal
"[A] noteworthy debut...Lerner has fun with the interplay between the unreliable spoken word and subtleties in speech and body language, capturing the struggle of a young artist unsure of the meaning or value of his art...[and] succeeds in drawing out the problems inherent in art, expectation, and communication. And his Adam is a complex creation, relatable but unreliable, humorous but sad, at once a young man adrift and an artist intensely invested in his surroundings." - Publishers Weekly
"Well written and full of captivating ideas..." - Library Journal
"...profoundly evocative...[Lerner] cleverly, seductively, and hilariously investigates the nature of language and storytelling, veracity and fraud..." - Booklist
"...subtle, sinuous, and very funny...beguiling..." - New Yorker
"...explores with humor and depth what everyone assumes is OK to overlook...incredible..." - Star Tribune
"Leaving the Atocha Station proves [Lerner is] a droll and perceptive observer, and a first-rate novelist." - New York Journal of Books
"...one of the most compelling books...flip, hip, smart, and very funny...unlike any other novel-reading experience..." - NPR
"...seductively intelligent and stylish writing, mercilessly comic in the ways it strips the creative ego bare. It will be fascinating to see where Lerner goes with his talent next." - The Independent (UK)
Winner of the Believer Book Award. "...hilarious and sensitive novel...dense and full of life and feeling." - The Believer
"Lerner's prose, at once precise and swerving, propels the book..." - The Daily Beast
"...darkly hilarious...a quintessential modernist expat novel...fiercely contemporary...beautiful, funny, and revelatory." - Book Forum
"This is far from the first novel about a young American finding himself in Europe or a young writer grappling with the problem of authenticity, but Leaving the Atocha Station transcends these tropes when Adam Gordon witnesses the Madrid train bombings of 2004, brutal reminders that the digital age is not defined only by problems of authenticity and language but also by mass violence and terror. Lerner's novel is timely and relevant and, most importantly, a damn good book." - Hey Small Press
"...a hilarious and insightful account of an artist's development in the digital age." - The Outlet
"I enjoyed it so much I read it twice (and laughed out loud both times)." - Lorin Stein, The Paris Review

About the Author

Ben Lerner is the author of three books of poetry: The Lichtenberg Figures, Angle of Yaw, and Mean Free Path. Lerner was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Northern California Book Award, a Fulbright Scholar in Spain, and the recipient of a 2010-2011 Howard Foundation Fellowship. In 2011 he became the first American to win the Preis der Stadt Münster für Internationale Poesie. He teaches in the writing program at Brooklyn College.

READER BIO
Ben Lerner is the author of three books of poetry: The Lichtenberg Figures, Angle of Yaw, and Mean Free Path. Lerner was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Northern California Book Award, a Fulbright Scholar in Spain, and the recipient of a 2010-2011 Howard Foundation Fellowship. In 2011 he became the first American to win the Preis der Stadt Münster für Internationale Poesie. He teaches in the writing program at Brooklyn College.


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Customer Reviews

In his blurb, Jonathan Franzen says this book isn't like anything he can remember reading.
jgc
The art the book is concerned with is poetry and writing, mostly, but also the art of relationships, or interactions, of the everyday.
LiteraryMusings
I didn't really hate it, but I'm not sure, just yet, what I actually got out of reading it.
Ethan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Serious Fun on December 24, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
James Woods recommended this book in The New Yorker. It's not unlike others he's liked: minutely observed, finely articulated novels featuring troubled men, alone, wandering about in major cities: O'Neill's Netherland, Cole's Open City, Dyer's Jeff in Venice, etc. I like them all too -- they are very intelligent, shrewd books -- but there is something tremendously sad about all of them, too. They share the theme of what I'll call the Unrealized, and it is utterly relentless. A sort of impotence of the soul that itself is an aesthetic, a philosophy, a zeitgeist. One can appreciate these novels for their accomplishment and their intelligence, but it's really very hard to care about them, their characters, and certainly one can't imagine re-reading them.
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Kirk Colvin on December 10, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is either a great novel, or one of the great literary hoaxes of all time . . . and I can't decide which. The writing is excellent, and if you're in the mood to increase your vocabulary, you'll love the language. But as I read, I kept wondering if this wasn't a super in-joke dreamed up by some Creative Writing grad student to demonstrate that it's entirely possible to write hundreds of pages without ever really writing about anything. True, we spend lots of intense time in the protagonist's drug-nicotine-alcohol frazzled brain, mostly worrying about whether the experience we're experiencing is the real experience, or if it's a reflection of someone else's experience of experiencing us experiencing them (or something like that). But as far as a real "story" goes--spoiled American student goes to Madrid to work on his poetry and discovers they speak a foreign language there. He maybe falls in love; he maybe writes some poems; he maybe grows up a little. Sort of a coming-of-age story about someone who doesn't ever come of age.

The cynic in me just couldn't stop feeling like I was being had. Yet, I enjoyed the read. "Leaving the Atocha Station" will either end up being required reading for Lit students, or it will fade away like one of the protagonist's many hangovers.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By T. Gibert on September 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
Ben Lerner's debut novel has been cast as a philosophical meditation on art, as seen through his narrator's, Adam Gordon's, eyes while on a poetry fellowship in Madrid. Adam moves through the Spanish streets, in Madrid and farther afield, and ends up wandering through museums, dating a gallery owner, visual artist and poet, partaking in a public panel on "Literature Now," and, albeit unwillingly, reading his poetry to the crème de la crème of Madrid's art and literature scene. But more than the art itself, the import of Lerner's novel lies in Adam himself and the way he uses art, among other things, as a way to experience the inexplicable world and, at times, as a shield against experiencing it at all.

Lerner's background, like Adam's, is as a poet and a very fine one. Three books of poetry preceded his first novel and plenty of awards. While the plot of the novel is easy to fall into, Adam's vacillations between women and friends providing both humanity and humor, the aspect that heightens the slim book is Lerner's language. His tendency towards the poetic, a rhythm and a way of stringing together unlikely phrases, creates a mimetic novel, art about art.

"You can view any object from any angle or multiple angles simultaneously or you can shut your eyes and listen to the crowd in the arena or the sirens slowly approaching the red car or the sound of the pen writing down the years as silver is hammered and shaped."

In essence, the novel is less about art and more about the other elusive big word, self. Adam struggles with his poetry and with being a poet as he struggles with his relationships, with his medication (prescribed and not), and the idea that he has no substance in the world without them. He is the sum of his parts and his arts.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ivan G on July 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Despite claims to the contrary, it's not a brilliant meditation on the artist's connection to art. It's about a year in the life of a not very nice person, a rather spoiled poet who often lies for no apparent reason and then tells the reader how nauseated his life makes him. It's not a stupid book, but it's not nearly as astute as its fans think it is. It actually becomes more tedious as it goes along, but I pushed on through to see how it would end.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By John Sandwicj on April 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
If you'd like a lamely-written story about a solipsistic clueless would-be snake-charmer, this is the book for you.

Reviewers make a lot of the author's indefinition and distance from his surroundings, due to language problems, hash and existential indifference, but it gets tiresome quickly. I kept waiting for something to develop, but the only developments are the mind games of the protagonist.

The author treats his readers with the same absent indifference as the protagonist of his novel -- he's just as untrustworthy, too. You wonder if he spent more than 3 days in Spain.

Maybe when this author comes out of his haze of hash and receives a few more of life's bumps he will become the middle-aged has-been he so aspires to, but I don't see how he will ever make an impact as a writer.

I got as far as page 82 -- and the manipulative story of the drowning girl in Mexico, a daft, out-of-context dramatic touch straight out of John Irving -- the arbitrary violence of the author in need of something that get's your attention, quite skillfully recounted thru the filter of instant messaging -- something that will assuage the literary craft wonks, although anyone truly hooked on this kind of sadomasochistic suspense technique would have left the book long before. Our author probably should have started the book here and written about Mexico, which he must know just about as intimately as he knows Spain.

If anyone found anything of interest further in, let me know.

PS: The cover design is a tip-off: there's no there there.
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