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Lady Lazarus Hardcover – April 14, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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"Altschul playfully and humorously delivers his novel in a pseudo-documentary style while exploring the serious themes of truth, group hysteria, and the transience of human existence."--Library Journal (Library Journal 2008-03-15)
"Lady Lazarus is a brilliant examination of the cultural pull exerted by the famous and the dead. Many ghosts haunt the pages of this gripping novel. It casts over the reader that same spell cast by the real-life stories of the talented and the doomed." (Heidi Julavits, author of USES OF ENCHANTMENT 2008-02-10)
"Altschul is one of our great young writers, and Lady Lazarus is the proof. A poetic satire of rock and roll, and a rock and roll ode to poetry, it mirrors its heroine: smart, gorgeous, and funny as hell." (Andrew Sean Greer, author of THE CONFESSIONS OF MAX TIVOLI 2008-02-10)
"A sort of Gen X answer to Don DeLillo''s boomer epic Underworld; it uses alt rock as a springboard to address all of the human condition." (Minneapolis Star Tribune 2008-05-23)
"Astounding... You''ve never read anything quite like it." (San Francisco Magazine 2008-08-01)
"At last, a term for the self-destructive celebrities that so fascinate (and dominate) American culture: Death Artists." (Sacramento News & Review 2008-05-29)
"Lady Lazarus is fun, sure, but Altschul is serious as a heart attack... A certain Seattle band is only the starting point of this smart, funny, breath-taking novel about celebrity, literature, and the elusive truth." (Uptown Magazine 2008-07-10)
"Altschul is one smart cookie and a fabulist of no little talent. Lady Lazarus is ambitious, virtuostic, epic, and worthy of the oohs and ahhs of literate rock fans... Maybe tell them it''s the Quadrophenia of books?" (GalleyCat 2008-07-15)
"Some of the smartest, insightful, and flat-out funny writing about rock and roll celebrity since Neal Pollack''s Never Mind the Pollacks." (Blurt 2008-07-23)
"If you''re a fan of postmodern fiction... Altschul''s debut makes an excellent addition to the canon. You should read this book." (PopMatters 2008-06-19)
"In these pages Andrew Altschul conducts the wildest possible love affair with style. These pages are lit by the most seditious literary cunning... Andrew Altschul may be shinily modern - postmodern - in every other way, but he is also that ancient thing, a born storyteller capable of breaking your heart." (Elizabeth Tallent)
"Altschul writes in gorgeous, fluid prose with a slyly ironic tone." (Palo Alto Weekly 2008-06-04)
"Lady Lazarus takes the idea of celebrity and turns it upside down... This debut novel reads like a rock biography but ends up questioning the importance of art in a postmodern world. " (BlogCritics Magazine 2008-06-24)
Top Customer Reviews
Then on top of it, Foster Altchul invents a toadying, prosy sort of biographer narrator who's even more of a sad sack then the one in Nabokov's PALE FIRE, and gives him his own name to muddy the simple waters that used to divide reader, writer, narrator, and audience.
Calliope, the heroine of the story, saw her dad commit suicide when she was just a child, and out of this trauma she becomes a poet with a huge worldwide audience who sympathize with her "live through this" attitude and her eventual reinvention of herself as a "death artist." She becomes the host of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and Maya Angelou records her poems, so she has this cross-cultural appeal that, I wonder, isn't made even more humorously unbelievable by the examples of her poetry that the biographer keeps quoting like they were genius.Read more ›
A disturbing chronicle, the insets, footnotes, and asides by the narrator giving it a documentary and eerily authentic and realistic quality.
This novel is owned by the reviewer and no remuneration was involved in the writing of this review.
Lady Lazarus is the purposefully thin-guised story of the Cobain's, lavishly interwoven with poetic and personal details of the great poet Sylvia Plath's life. Think of the premise as this: Alt-grunge superstar Brandt Morath (Kurt Cobain) and his psycho-bitch, punk-rock wife Penelope "Penny" Power (Courtney Love), have a baby girl they call Calliope Bird (Francis Bean). Brandt commits suicide, Penny goes Hollywood between tantrums and drug binges, and Bird grows up to become, as Altschul said in his recent reading at St. Louis' Left Bank Books, "the World's most famous poet, which is not to be confused with the World's greatest poet."
Initially, at least for Plath-freaks who also know a little something about Nirvana (and doesn't everyone know a little something about Nirvana?) Lady Lazarus feels a bit like a game: Oh! Electra on Azalea Path! The Earthenware Head! Courtship with a bite on the cheek! The Double Self! The Beekeeper!
Ah, but that's just Altschul setting the mood. Fifty pages in, you're entertained.Read more ›
However you look at it, you're guaranteed to remember the adventures of Calliope Bird Morath. She's the heroine of this debut novel by Andrew Foster Altschul. If you have an open mind and are willing to suspend disbelief more than once, you'll find ample reward at the end of every scene. You'll also come across poetry, hero worship, the supernatural and magical realism. Indeed, Altschul's imaginative writing goes out on the proverbial limb. After all, there's something to be said for a writer fearless enough to challenge readers with his work. I, for one, feel greatly recompensed for my time spent reading Lady Lazarus.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book starts off with great promise to be a fascinating read; however, about mid-way through it becomes tedious and boring. It was diffiucult to empathize with the characters.Published on February 20, 2014 by Nic
Andrew Foster Altschul truly has a gift. I couldn't put it down, read it multiple times, and was constantly blown away by how GOOD it was.Published on April 9, 2013 by Rebecca Stellato
I like the writing devices- the transcript chapter, the footnotes, the poetry inserts. I'm just not interested in the book. Read morePublished on April 13, 2008 by RB from Berkeley