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Mystery Girl: A Novel Hardcover – July 16, 2013
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"David Gordon has written a passionate love story disguised as a mystery, a brainy tragicomedy, a bildungsroman wherein ‘the gumshoe learns the shocking secret of himself.’ His prose is by turns salacious, uproarious, and happily unhinged. A total delight.” —Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!
"I'm a Lebowski, you're a Lebowski, and fans of the famous Coen Brothers film may find many of their favorite aspects mirrored in this dark comedy…An unpredictable farce." —Kirkus
"[Raymond] Chandler's shadow hangs over [Mystery Girl], as do the literary shades of Proust, Beckett, and Pynchon, and the equally strong cinematic influences of the Hitchcock of Vertigo and the Welles of Touch of Evil. The book is filled with literary and cinematic references… Gordon's appealing wit and obvious intellect propel this gripping tale to a finely wrought and mostly unexpected conclusion." —Booklist
"Both funny and frantic, complex and crazy, Gordon includes characters from every genre (underground and dark Coen Brothers films figure in the plot). [Mystery Girl] will appeal to readers of thrillers, cult film stories, and absurdist fiction." —Library Journal
"I have rarely come across a writer in such command of the English language. His sentences, characterizations and set pieces are things of beauty." —Washington Independent Review of Books
"This novel is awesome, phenomenal, incredible, mind-blowing, and overwhelming." —Rock Hard Press
"We have here a love story (two, actually), a dark comedy and some darn fine suspense, as well. David Gordon is an astute observer of the Los Angeles scene, a natural storyteller and an all-around funny guy. Mystery Girl deserves to be at the top of your reading list." —Bookpage, Top Pick selection
"Reading Gordon's newest novel, Mystery Girl (New Harvest), is like talking to him in person: You don't want the anecdotes to end; you could soak up his effortlessly paired humor and wisdom forever. It's part mystery, part love story, wholly delightful." —Bustle.com
"A thriller about the dangers of marriage and a detective story about the unsolvable mysteries of love, art, and other people." —CriminalElement.com
"This book surprised me in all the right ways." —Shelf Inflicted
"In this smart, witty novel by David Gordon you can expect to be taken on a ride not only in plot, but by a style that is delivered with authentic prose and perfectly placed comedic timing. The main character's sense of humor, self-deploring behavior and 'the world is a weird place' observations will make pulp fiction fans snort with glee." —Bitsy Bling Blog
"Mystery Girl is funnier, sadder, and smarter than seems mathematically possible: Dashiell Hammett divided by Don DeLillo, to the power of Dostoevsky – yet still pure David Gordon." —Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances
"Mystery Girl is hilarious, sad, and a little bit horny. David Gordon somehow synthesizes every part of the human condition – from the sublime to the humiliating – into one whip-smart voice. Like Muriel Spark and John Fante, he’s the genius who you never want to shut up." —Jay Caspian Kang, author of The Dead Do Not Improve
"Reading David Gordon is pure pleasure. He's one of the smartest, most stylish writers I've ever come across, a gifted storyteller whose work perfectly combines an incredibly sharp wit with moments of real transcendent beauty." —Karen Thompson Walker, author of The Age of Miracles
"Perfect for the summer, I picked it up Sunday morning and didn't stop until it ended, which meant I skipped swimming, strawberries, and a hike, but it was absolutely worth it. I'm having a hard time shaking the bittersweet humor and surprising tenderness." —Unabridged Chick
"…a darkly comic, stylish literary thriller…" —The Associated Press
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Top Customer Reviews
Failed (so far...) novelist Sam Kornberg has been deserted by his wife, Lala. He is also unemployed, and in the quest for steady employment that will convince his wife to return, he stumbles into an offbeat assignment as the eyes and ears of a mostly house-bound, overweight agoraphobe who styles himself a "detective".
The plot lines twist and writhe like an exotic dancer at a club on the Sunset Strip, bringing in to play the underground film industry, pornographers, eccentric Hollywood types and ex-pat Americans living the gringo high life in Mexico. One major plot twist is telegraphed from about the middle of the book going forward, but it is satisfying, in a way, to see it come to fruition just as one suspected that it would.
"Mystery Girl" leads the reader in a number of directions, some of them expected and some of them not, and while the journey is often a bit bewildering, it is entertaining. This book will never ascend to the higher reaches of the pantheon of L.A. crime stories, but it is an enjoyable summer read.
The book I read was about several characters suffering from various degrees of mental illness bouncing off each other in some type of chaos theory. It was more about the individual characters than the weak plot line. How do these bipolar, schizophrenic, and psychopathic individuals interact with people suffering from agoraphobia, acrophobia and paranoia (to name a few) and try to function in the real world? What is man's place in the world anyway? And what is "normal"?
I don't know if the author tried too hard or if I as the reader didn't try hard enough. But then again, no one should have to work hard to enjoy a novel. Or perhaps, just perhaps, it just wasn't a very good book.
It's not fast food. It is a banquet.
Sam Kornberg is a failed writer. This doesn't mean he hasn't cranked out drawers full of novels. He has. But he's a writer who chooses not to tell stories. He explains, "Traditional narrative structure seems totally irrelevant to actual experience today. I mean, what in your life has a regular beginning, middle, and end?"
And that's is sort of the kind of story that David Gordon writes. There is a mystery. A very involved mystery with a missing woman who's not really missing, but then disappears, and then jumps to her death or perhaps she doesn't, and has an intriguing past, which might be someone else's past. There are villains and movie producer creeps and film geeks and yes, sexy doppelgangers from beyond the grave. But it's not traditional narrative structure.
What it is, is an excellent read.Read more ›
There are several passages where I WISH something was missing, and something else may be, but IDK/IDC because after too many pages of stream-of-consciousness 'revelations' MEGO. The plot is completely predictable after all the major 'clues' have been dropped, i.e. halfway through the narrative, and although you might say the conclusion came as a surprise, that was only because I was desperately hoping there'd be SOME kind of twist to redeem all the repetitions of a particular plot device (SPOILER ALERT: it ends in a hopelessly unconvincing shootout.)
This book didn't grab me from the get-go and took me a while to finish it. I'm sorry I did... Possibly the idea here is that the story is clever because of its literary/video allusions, so there's no need to do more than kind of gesture towards a mystery. The gesture is toward the hard-boiled dick school, but the action is really kind of soft-boiled - there IS some strong language, but we're not talking Lenny Bruce here. There's some sex and masturbation, but the asses and breasts are all round and perky and everything else is an "orifice." At one point we sidle awkwardly into a Hollywood lingerie store pretending to be a transvestite, but scoot right out again in a forced attempt at humour; later we bond over tequila with some tough Mexican locals who rescue us in a shootout that happens for reasons that don't make too much sense if you think about it.
I know the book is aiming at metahumour, but it's aim is poor and it needs a LOT more charge, imho!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
HIGHLY ENTERTAINING ON A STORY LEVEL, A LITERARY LEVEL, AND A HUMOR LEVEL. IT IS KNOWN THAT THIS AUTHOR WAS INFLUENCED BY DAVID FOSTER WALLACE AND IT SHOWS. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Michael J. Grace
One of the best novels I've read in ages, Gordon is a force to be reckoned with. He has a wonderful grasp of novel craftsmanship and an even better grasp of who and what has come... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Elaine Ash
I enjoyed this book so much I read it twice. Lots of twists and turns extremely interesting characters different from anything I have read. Read morePublished 15 months ago by LP
I'll preface this review by saying _Mystery Girl_ isn't my normal reading/listening fare and I knew that from the beginning. Read morePublished 20 months ago by justme
This book is way to strange for me, maybe suited more for a psychology major.Published 21 months ago by johnr45
Interesting and complicated mystery. Good characters and well fleshed out. The writer has a great way of describing thins and writes wellPublished 21 months ago by vincent giampeitro
If I wanted porn, I would have ordered it. I kept waiting for an improvement, but alas, no such luck.Published 22 months ago by Magdalena Young
It was a great story with lots of twist, turns. I never would have guessed the ending.Published 22 months ago by RICKY WILSON