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Wichita Paperback – April 24, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Europa Editions; First Edition edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609450701
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609450700
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,184,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Thad Ziolkowski is the author of Our Son the Arson, a collection of poems, and a memoir, On a Wave, which was a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award in 2003. In 2008, he was awarded a fellowship from the John S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. His essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, Slate, Bookforum, Artforum, Travel & Leisure and Index. He directs the Writing Program at Pratt Institute. Wichita is his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

What stayed with me most about the book was Seth.
Linda
This is a very well-written book with interesting characters, an absorbing plot arc, and enough angst and drama to keep you turning the pages.
Dan Witte
There are other "odd ball" characters, but nothing of interest occurs and the book quickly becomes repetitious.
Jake Mckenna

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Linda on October 29, 2013
Format: Paperback
Wichita reads like a symphony
It is a vigorous and, at times, terrifying tale of a familial perfect storm. Family forces balanced only by their extremes come together like the volatile elements needed to conjure a tornado.
At the center of the novel is the relationship between two brothers, Lewis and Seth.
Lewis, who is the academic dutiful older son, and a poetry student at Colombia, has returned home to lick his wounds from a failed relationship. Seth is bipolar and oscillates between Dionysus and Cain. In time Seth shows his older brother the terrifying distances one has to travel to live poetry. How far are you willing to go? What and who are you willing to sacrifice? How much fire can you eat?
The backdrop is the town of Wichita, a stand-in for mythic America, and elements particularly American; pyramid schemes, methamphetamine and tornados (you get the idea). What Lewis has unwittingly returned home to is the latest money making scheme of his mother, Abbey. She and Seth have begun a Tornado chasing business for tourists. This naturally involves a lot of bad decisions for the proprietor as well as any client.
What stayed with me most about the book was Seth. We watch, transfixed by his exploits, perversely willing him on towards destruction (a task he delivers in spades and will “school you on”), yet your empathy for him at times feels more like admiration, you genuinely fear for him. You fear for Seth because by the novels end he plays his best trick yet. He makes you fear for yourself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jake on November 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed some of the characters, they were lively and outrageous. Others were a little too precious and not believable. The story, son returns home, is not exactly riveting.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jake Mckenna on August 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just finished Wichita, well not really, I skimmed the last seventy-five pages and read the ending. I was drawn to the book by the New York Times review, often a good source of interesting fiction. However I suspect sometimes personal politics can elevate a book and garner a review not justified. I also note Sam Lipsyte (The Ask)who is quoted on the cover claiming the book is "...rich, subtle, and funny..." is, like the author, a beneficiary of the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. It pays to be connected, right. The book features two brothers. Lewis just abandoned by his girlfriend and lacking the drive to enter academia has returned to visit his mother in Wichita where he is surprised by his younger bipolar brother. They interact. There are other "odd ball" characters, but nothing of interest occurs and the book quickly becomes repetitious. Frankly nothing allowed me to suspend my disbelief enough to accept any of the relationships or situations which seemed designed to simply fill up the pages. There are also a lot of typo's including the misspelling of Shirley Maclaine's name on page 142. Not sure what that means, but it was distracting and further damaged the suspension of disbelief.
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By Carl H. Hanson on May 18, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting story. Not bad just not as exciting as I had hoped. Those who are from the area might find it more appealing.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dan Witte on June 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a very well-written book with interesting characters, an absorbing plot arc, and enough angst and drama to keep you turning the pages. It is especially impressive as a debut novel. I won't belabor the story line, as it is summarized nicely in Amazon's product description as well as one of the other reviews here. Suffice to say that the main character, Lewis Chopik, is easy to relate to, even in the face of some peculiar and occasionally wrenching family dynamics. I thought the author did a great job of capturing the distinct personalities that surround Lewis, so much so that I found myself being critical of their behaviors and attitudes. That's when I know that a writer has truly breathed life into his or her characters.

I have two mild criticisms, neither of which should discourage buying and reading this book. First, the storm metaphor, while employed effectively in this story, is still overused almost to the point of cliche. Second, I found quite a few typos and proofreading errors. They were distracting at times, as they interrupted the flow of my reading. Still, I've read far worse books that were edited and proofed perfectly, so don't let that deter you.
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