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Wichita Paperback – April 24, 2012

11 customer reviews

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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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Europa Editions; Advanced/Proof Edition/First edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609450701
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609450700
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,003,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 8 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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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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Format: Kindle Edition
Should have been named Tornado Ally at the best and dysfunctional at the least. To have named this book Wichita has to be a disservice to the people living in and around that city. Taking one messed up family with tag-alongs and one tornado and naming it Wichita is just a slight to cast so many with such a broad stroke. The book is IMHO not well written. I read paragraphs and pages of gibberish (to me) that I was thinking, what? It is dismal and gloomy with lots of recreational drugs and their daily dysfunctional activities on and on for page after page. I actually felt badly for the Most Popular Negative Reviewer, because probably the last 75 pages were as good as it got. There was nothing redemptive here.
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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 Eric Selby on June 2, 2012
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Lewis Chopik, against the wishes of the paternal side of his family, the Chopiks who are all academics with the grandfather leading the back with twenty-five books under his belt, has decided, at least for now, that a five year stint at Columbia University replete with a summa cum laude degree in hand, is sufficient for the moment. So he is back in Dorothy's Kansas except, of course, it's not exactly Dorothy's is it? No, it it Abby's Kansas. She is Lewis's mother, long ago divorced from Virgil (naturally academics give their children names like this!). So Abby has picked her elder son up at the airport, driving her new huge Escalade, taking him to her house that she might be sharing with her latest male companion. And on the way she informs Lewis that she is about to launch a storm-chasing business, the specifics of which you, the reader, will have to wait for. And the wait is well worth your reading time getting there! You do recall, dear reader, that Kansas has been ripe for a tornado or two.
So back at the house--there seems to be a need for some yardwork Lewis immeditely notices, actually a lot of yardwork!--we meet Seth, the younger son replete with the bandage covering his latest tat. (Sorry, maybe you are not familiar with that word. Try tattoo!) Note: his latest, maybe well on his way to becoming "the illustrated man." And the back story--the novel is filled with wonderful back stories--Seth provides about his life is in marked contrast to other brother's academic one. And it includes jail time. Rehab. You get the picture. Seth rides the hood of the Escalade as if it were a horse up the driveway. And then he sails off on his skateboard, up a ramp and into the house.
Ah, did I fail to mention that Lewis is also in Wichita to heal a broken heart? Victoria--V--has dumped him.
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