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Woke Up Lonely: A Novel Hardcover – April 2, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press; First Graywolf Printing edition (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555976387
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555976385
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #932,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Bookforum

Woke Up Lonely is vortical, fitful, and occasionally frustrating, but it is also deeply felt, meticulously constructed, and wildly original: a true and uncompromising account of living in a centerless age, all of us whirling around the empty spot where the sure, solid thing ought to be, might have been once, maybe will be again someday. Everyone in the whole sprawling cast is engaged in some form of longing, missing, yearning, lamenting, regretting, scheming to recover what they've given up or lost, and the novel is a matrix of their overlapping, broken, or missed connections. —Justin Taylor

Review

Maazel's new novel sounds like an AM radio dial spinning between the spooky midnight frequency of 'V.' and the bizarro breakfast show humor of 'White Noise,' . . . Intricately imagined and timely. . . . Maazel is an entertaining writer with a dry, droll sense of humor . . . She's insightful about how and why we build up instead of tear down the walls between us. (The New York Times Book Review)

Brilliantly imagine[d]. (Vanity Fair)

[A] fun farce. (Cosmopolitan)

Maazel's insights are as sound as her imagination is wild. (Oprah.com, Book of the Week)

It's as if a Paul Thomas Anderson movie (The Master, There Will Be Blood) married a David Foster Wallace novel and had a baby. Which is to say, this story is weird, thrilling, and inimitable. (Marie Claire)

Woke Up Lonely is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking, filled with swerves and contradictions. . . . Poignant and unpredictable. (Jane Ciabattari, NPR)

The talented Maazel has plenty of imagination. (USA Today)

Among the many sterling novels coming out this April . . . Woke Up Lonely [has] stood out. (Salon)

[Maazel] has a real talent for taking these existential millstones of modern life--fear of death, failure, being alone, everything--and filtering them into morbidly funny, troublingly familiar forms. . . . Woke Up Lonely easily refutes the idea that the novel is a staid, obsolete form of writing. The stakes in Maazel's book are at least as real as any work of nonfiction, and it's a good deal more fun to read than any manifesto. (The Daily Beast)

Woke Up Lonely is another wunderkammer, a deeply felt and wildly original novel that repays the attention it demands, and once read won't be soon forgotten. (Justin Taylor, Bookforum)

Fizzy and intoxicating. (Kansas City Star)

Woke Up Lonely is a vibrant, engaging, and endlessly inventive exploration of loneliness, and is easily one of the year's finest novels. (Largehearted Boy)

There's nothing better than a really good cult novel--especially a wonderfully written, brutally satiric one. (Flavorwire, "10 New Must-Reads for April")

Considering (among other things) solitude in the digital era, Maazel's rhythmic prose carries the twisty tale with confidence. (Time Out New York)

Sweeping, achingly honest . . . Woke Up Lonely is both a mirror and magic looking glass, reflecting who we are and who we have the potential to become. (Los Angeles Review of Books)

Maazel takes a cue from Kurt Vonnegut by creating a novel that blends the plot of a dramatic thriller with wacky humor and bits of science fiction. (BUST Magazine)

At turns satiric and heartfelt, Maazel's novel brims with energy and life. (Manuel Gonzales, Publishers Weekly "Signature Review")

[A] rollicking ride of a novel. . . . successful at every level. (Kirkus Reviews)

I may have bruised my ribs from laughing. Woke Up Lonely is a funhouse hall of mirrors whose dark (and hilarious) distortions reveal some almost unbearable truths about what it means to be lonely in America today. (Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!)

A great novel. Great, major, important--say it however you like. This is a book you need. (Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life)

Woke Up Lonely is the novel equivalent of a sonic boom--it builds, it explodes, it leaves your ears, mind, and soul ringing for days. (Heidi Julavits, author of The Vanishers)

No one does loneliness, self-abasement, and dread like Fiona Maazel. And maybe no one other than George Saunders illuminates with as much sadness and comic brio the grotesqueness of the extent to which we fall short of who we imagine ourselves to be. (Jim Shepard, author of You Think That's Bad)

Fiona Maazel's imagination is so wild . . . that you feel like you've woken up into one of those rare novels as real as life. Hooray for such a talent! (Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances)

Ignore Fiona Maazel at your peril. Woke Up Lonely is just as pithy, whimsical, and brilliant as her first novel, Last Last Chance. She writes about loneliness in a way that makes you feel less lonely: a wild, hilarious ride that highlights Maazel's uncanny knack for avoiding the obvious. (Wesley Stace, author of Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer)

Customer Reviews

I found the entire book to be so far-fetched that it was difficult to finish reading it.
SRD
The book is a challenging read and ambitious effort that in my opinion falls a bit short of rewarding for the reader.
mateo52
It has a very unique writing structure, and a lot of characters are introduced in around about way.
christie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By moose_of_many_waters VINE VOICE on April 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Maazel has written - with a mix of dark humor and just plain dark despair - a treatise on the inability of most, if not all, of America to live with heart, compassion and connectedness. In Woke Up Lonely, Thurlow Dan exploits the emptiness and longing for love that Americans feel to create a cult that ostensibly unites the lonely. His ex-wife, Esme, works for a federal agency whose goal is to bring down Dan's cult. It's Esme who is, more or less, the heroine of this bleak tale that owes a great deal to early Pynchon and Foster Wallace. The story is something out of a bizarre action movie, big, peripatetic, and sometimes cartoonish.

Maazel is a gifted writer, but like Foster Wallace isn't prone to editing her material down to anything close to the bone. In a novel as thoroughly bleak and depressing as this, a heavy edit could bring the comedy to the fore and make this novel far more palatable. The end result might be something closer to Crying Lot of 49 than Broom of the System. Without heavy editing, the end result is something that's too bleak to recommend to anyone except for perhaps depressed souls looking for confirmation bias of their world view.

Woke Up Lonely is inventive and intelligent. But for most of us, who are by fits and starts trying with some success to find love and real friendship, it's not a book that will resonate or captivate. I was impressed with the care put into this novel. But mostly, I read this book feeling sorry and sad for the characters created and for the author that created them. Woke Up Lonely is so unrelentingly bleak in its view of human relationships that it literally made me sick to my stomach.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Bey VINE VOICE on May 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Woke Up Lonely really charmed me because it was a book with an absurd premise that took itself very seriously. This reminded me of the style of Kurt Vonnegut who also dealt with absurdist concepts. Behind the story is a really powerful concept.

Thurlow, despite being a cult leader, is a very relatable protagonist. He's a guy who turns to forming a cult as a way to cure his loneliness. In the age of social media, where human contact is often neglected for computers, I'm sure a lot of us can sympathize with his plight.

Woke Up Lonely is a great book for people who are looking for something different. It's a really out there concept that just worked for me.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bookbag on July 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not usually my cup of tea, but the positive reviews intrigued me. I'm glad they did. It took a bit to get into but worth it. A new take on the human condition, it is irreverent not knee-slapping hilarious. The characters are fully developed. Vocabulary not a problem.
If you'd enjoy serious, kookie, fun, depressing, hopeful and clever, get this novel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By christie on July 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover
A unique novel, with lots of heart and dark humor. The author weaves together the story of Thurlow, Esme, and the four "agents" to tell a fascinating story about a misguided cult and the lives it affects. While the cult was originally created as a way to connect lonely people, it has spiraled out of Thurlow's control, and has got him into a heap-load of trouble. Unbeknownst to him, the love of his life, Esme, has been following and investigating him since they day they meet. Not complicated at all, hu?

Throughout the novel they tell the story of how they fell in love, how the Helix came to be, and how their lives started to fall apart.

This is a book that took me awhile to warm up to. It has a very unique writing structure, and a lot of characters are introduced in around about way. Though once I figured out the rhythm to that, I started to really enjoy the book. So if you don't like it at first, keep reading, it might grow on you.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John Kwok HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Fiona Maazel channels David Foster Wallace and Mark Leyner in her outrageously funny fictional present day look at America, "Woke Up Lonely", which is a tragi-comedic romp looking at cults and loves lost and found, and may be the finest new example of American satirical fiction since Gary Shteyngart's "Super Sad True Love Story". Hers may be the best fictional exploration of what ails America since David Foster Wallace's debut novel "The Broom of the System", written in a style that owes more to the zany, hilariously self-indulgent, prose of Mark Leyner, as she gives us at warp speed, a bizarre, though hilarious, fictional exploration of the last twenty years of American history, especially with regards to the ongoing hostile state of affairs between the United States and North Korea. Maazel treats us to a hostage crisis, as well as almost existentialist crises in personality exhibited by the novel's main protagonists. I found myself laughing almost from the very first page, as she chronicles the star-crossed lives of Esme and Thurlow Dan; an odyssey that includes a bizarre turn of events in North Korea, as well as Dan's substantial involvement with the Helix; a L. Ron Hubbard-like cult whose leader may have more than a touch or two of David Koresh in him. Believe all the hype that's been written about "Woke Up Lonely", including the favorable blurbs on its dust jacket back cover from the likes of Karen Russell, Darin Strauss and Jim Shepard; it is an important work of American literary fiction and one destined to be remembered as among the most notable novels published this year.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Fiona Maazel is the author of LAST LAST CHANCE (FSG, 2008) and WOKE UP LONELY (Graywolf, 2013). She teaches at NYU, Brooklyn College, Columbia, and Princeton, and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

For a considerably more fun experience, you can visit www.fionamaazel.com

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Woke Up Lonely: A Novel
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Price: $26.00 $18.90
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