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Losing Graceland: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Micah Nathan
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.00
Kindle Price: $7.52
You Save: $6.48 (46%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

An irreverent tale about a recent college grad, a mysterious old man who may be Elvis, and a perilous road trip that could lead to the old man’s final comeback.
When Ben Fish responds to an ad that reads “Driver Needed Seven Days Excellent Pay No Druggies, Drunks, or Felons,” it’s because of the money ($10,000) but also to get away from his dead-end life. He has just graduated from college with a useless degree, has gotten dumped by his longtime girlfriend, and is still mourning his father, who died in a freak accident. Yet Ben finds himself in for more than he expected, as the old man who placed the ad seems to be a still-living Elvis who leads Ben on a 900-mile journey to Memphis in search of his granddaughter. Along the way they brawl with biker gangs, consult a backwoods oracle, rescue a hooker named Ginger from her one-eyed pimp, and ultimately find some answers about themselves and their place in the world.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his fair-to-middling sophomore effort, Nathan (Gods of Aberdeen) resurrects Elvis Presley--or a bloated old man named John Barrow who wants to be the king--and follows him from his suburban Buffalo, N.Y., hideout to Memphis, Tenn., where he hopes to find and liberate his estranged, illegitimate granddaughter, Nadine Emma Brown, recently reported as missing. Though the quick narrative slips into "the old man's" point of view at irregular intervals, most of the narrative is channeled through the perceptions of Ben Fish, the 21-year-old anthropology major Elvis hires to drive him cross-country. Ben is reeling from the death of his father and the loss of his "hot" girlfriend, and goes along for the promised ,000, which will fund his dream of moving to Amsterdam. The duo's adventures--brawling with the biker gang Hell's Foster Children, competing in Elvis impersonator contests, visiting hillbilly oracles--are entertaining, but it's the old man's battle with his ailing body, pain pill addiction, and legacy that will leave readers wishing for more from a novel that travels too much through the light terrain of Ben's insubstantial struggles with growing up. (Jan.) (c)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Ben Fish has recently graduated with a degree in anthropology, undying love for his high-school-aged ex-girlfriend Jess, who broke up with him six months ago, and no plans for how to spend his summer. To avoid another season working a dead-end job at the local mall, he responds to a newspaper ad from one John Barrow, who is looking for a driver on short notice. John hires Ben to drive him to Memphis, 900 miles away, in search of his granddaughter Nadine. Their trip quickly turns into a capriciously epic journey as John, who claims to be, and for all purposes seems to actually be, Elvis Presley, takes them on detours to fight with biker gangs, visit an oracle, and save a hooker named Ginger from her one-eyed pimp. Nathan presents the reader with several fantastic characters in this rollicking, adventurous tale. Readers will pore through this fast-paced, adrenaline-filled novel and eat up the fantastic dialogue that brings Elvis back to life in a new, deliciously lascivious way. --Julie Hunt

Product Details

  • File Size: 367 KB
  • Print Length: 211 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (January 4, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004C43F7U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,435,948 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Odd, Captivating Adventure May 29, 2011
By Dan C.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Losing Graceland" is like other great art in that it works on many levels. On the one hand, it's simply a great read. While reading it, I hadn't slept more than four hours straight in about a year, and even so, it kept me up at night. The story is that good. And the writing itself is beautiful; reading it was like eating caviar in bed. On the other hand, without being clunky or indulging in obtrusive, shoe-horned digressions, the novel deftly addresses deeper themes of ambition, fame, hero worship, and personal destruction. Oh -- and another thing -- it's funny. Wickedly, twistedly funny.
"Losing Graceland" is an odd, surprising, captivating, and happily unique book, and one that lovers of fiction will surely appreciate.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hat's Off to the Author February 8, 2011
Took some liberties, this author has; but Hotdam he has made them work!

Life makes us judgemental and life isn't always black and white. Grief is the most difficult personal journey you will ever have to take. You will learn much about your loved ones that you never dreamed possible once they have 'passed on'; and you will even learn a few things about yourself. Our loved ones put themselves out there for us and they make their mistakes just to help us to learn how not to make our own!

Take the time to 'read between the lines' to what Mr. Nathan is saying and you will get it!!!

Hat's off to Mr. Nathan

Rev. Elisabeth
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By NNT1029
Format:Kindle Edition
A superbly-written book, following the adventures of a young man and a might-be Elvis as they drive from Western New York to Memphis, in search of the King's missing granddaughter. I admit I was surprised--from the description (and the cover) I was expecting a light read, but I was not prepared for the emotional resonance of "the old man" and how he handles what appears to be a lifetime of crushing regret. Ben (the young man) provides the balance in this story, as he has hopes and dreams (going to Amsterdam, reuniting with his girlfriend) and the interplay between the old man and Ben is pitch-perfect. A fun, fast, surprising read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars can't wait for his next book! September 22, 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is what I would refer to as madcap and at times quite hilarious. I'll skip the plot spoilers and tell you that if you are a fan of Elvis, you should surely read this. If you are a big fan of Tod Goldberg, again you might want to read this. I hate to compare authors that way, but Micah Nathan is quite the oddball writer. Oddball in this case being a great thing. This author is just wildly talented in the fact that his writing is his own. What I mean by that statement is to say that he has his own style and has nearly created his own genre here. After reading this one, I did some googling research and found out that he won the 2010 Saul Bellow Prize in Fiction. This is not at all a surprising finding for me.

I'm almost always the type of reader that falls for plot, humor, or characters that I find interesting. This one has a lot of the latter but also the 2 former as well. I didn't expect to like it. I'm not a big time Elvis fan. But I loved it because I am a big "well written, interesting characters" admirer.
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3.0 out of 5 stars not bad August 21, 2012
I liked it but the ending was very disappointing for me. I mean what happen to "the old man"(Elvis)?! Where did he go that night and how?! The man was broken and high. And the less then half ditch effort to reach Nadine. I mean just the one failed try and that's it.
Also with Ben, great he makes it to Amsterdam but with what money, are you telling me he actually sold that buckle!? That's wrong and disloyal I feel that he is made out to sound like a true blue loser. I mean spending his days in a hash cafe. That shows he learned nothing from his time spent with Elvis. And it ends with him on the phone with that girl. So does he see her, she come to Amsterdam...??? WHAT?!
I know it sounds like I hated it and have a lot of complaints, granted I do, but I didn't hate it. I liked it. I just wish I got more closure on the characters.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Pocket Symphony January 4, 2011
"Losing Graceland," the sophomore effort from Micah Nathan, is a finely-tuned, focused and utterly charming little novel. Themes of grief, hope, and nostalgia hit hard amidst the easy-to-love characters, which, of course, may or may not include the King himself.

The story follows recent college grad Ben Fish, a young man struggling with the recent tragic death of his ever-present father and the end of his relationship with his vapid young sweetheart, Jessica. Ben, desperate for purpose, adventure and cold hard cash, answers an want-ad posted by the old man, the novel's other main point of view. The two set off from Cheektowaga, New York to Memphis, Tennessee, ostensibly to rescue the old man's granddaughter who has gone missing.

What follows is a road-trip of cinematic character, and Nathan's efficiency with language keeps the story moving as fast (but not nearly as recklessly) as his characters. Along the way, the reader develops (along with Ben), a kind of "Elvis-o-meter," that is, we begin to believe, only to have that belief waver before it picks up again, that the old man is a still-living Elvis Presley. This belief is bolstered by the old man's charismatic interactions with the myriad players the unlikely duo encounter on their journey (biker gangs, pimps, and backwoods oracles, anyone?), as well as his superb karaoke skills. Ben immerses himself in the journey, despite his wavering belief, and the journey becomes more important to his personal (and sexual!) salvation than any destination could be.

"Graceland's" finishing sequences happen fast and are packed with meaning, and any reader with half a heart will naturally be clamoring for more time spent with Ben and the old man.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Strange book
All sorts of crazy things happen. I'd have to say this is one of the strangest books I've ever read. but it was well written and kept my attention.
Published 12 months ago by Ami Carvotta
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite a Hound Dog, So I Won't Be Cruel
The high concept pitch for this book would be: "Blues Brothers" meets "Bubba Ho-Tep." A decrepit old man who at least thinks he's Elvis Presley goes on a mission from God in... Read more
Published on April 26, 2011 by BJ Fraser
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of money and time, Losing Graceland is sad attempt to cash in on...
I read this after reading the reviews but I hated it! I am an Elvis fan (some say fanatic) So I just couldn't picture Elvis like this. Read more
Published on April 22, 2011 by Chloedancer19
4.0 out of 5 stars A fast, fun little book with some punch
Micah Nathan's strength, in this novel at least, is in his hilarious, clawing dialogue and a youthful angst that obviously still resonates in his heart. Read more
Published on March 21, 2011 by I. Kay
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic "road trip" story with great character bonding
I can't say enough good about "Losing Graceland." I wish I had started reading it earlier in the day when I wasn't tired so I could have finished it in one night, it's that... Read more
Published on February 16, 2011 by J. Minatel
5.0 out of 5 stars Losing Graceland - Compelling and Wise
Micah Nathan's Losing Graceland is a fast-paced, entertaining, and thought-provoking read.

Recent college graduate Ben Fish takes job driving an old man from a suburb of... Read more
Published on January 27, 2011 by Stefan VanWafer
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking for grace
A fun ride following two characters whom you may not always love, but isn't that is part of the search for grace? Read more
Published on January 18, 2011 by Chakettea
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
I highly recommend this book. I was completely engrossed--it caught me from the first page, and I read seamlessly from there. Read more
Published on January 7, 2011 by Sarah Griffith
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More About the Author

Micah Nathan is the author of the collection "Jack the Bastard and Other Stories" (One Peace Books, 2012), along with the internationally bestselling novel "Gods of Aberdeen" (Simon & Schuster, 2005) and the novel "Losing Graceland" (Crown, 2011). He was the 2010 recipient of Boston University's Saul Bellow Prize for Fiction, has received an Associated Press Award, and was a finalist for the Tobias Wolff Award and the Innovative Fiction Award.

His novels have been translated into seven languages, and his essays and short stories have appeared in Vanity Fair, The Best American Mystery Stories, Boston Globe Magazine, Glimmer Train, The Gettysburg Review, Bellingham Review, LEMON Magazine (as contributing editor), and other national publications. Micah is an Artists Fellow at the St. Botolph Club and a roving writer-in-residence at Kingston University in London. He lives in Boston, where he occasionally teaches film, literature, and creative writing.


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