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With his critically acclaimed first novel, Jonathan Miles was widely praised as a comic genius "after something bigger" (David Ulin, Los Angeles Times) whose fiction was "not just philosophically but emotionally rewarding" (Richard Russo, New York Times Book Review, front cover).
Now, in his much-anticipated second novel, Want Not, Miles takes a giant leap forward with this highly inventive and corrosively funny story of our times, a three-pronged tale of human excess that sifts through the detritus of several disparate lives - lost loves, blown chances, countless words, and deeds misdirected or misunderstood - all conjoined in their come-hell-or-high-water search for fulfillment.
As the novel opens on Thanksgiving Day, listeners are telescoped into three different worlds in various states of disrepair - a young freegan couple living off the grid in New York City; a once-prominent linguist, sacked at midlife by the dissolution of his marriage and his father’s losing battle with Alzheimer’s; and a self-made debt-collecting magnate, whose brute talent for squeezing money out of unlikely places has yielded him a royal existence, trophy wife included.
Want and desire propel these characters forward toward something, anything, more, until their worlds collide, briefly, randomly, yet irrevocably, in a shattering ending that will haunt listeners long after the last lines.
With a satirist’s eye and a romantic’s heart, Miles captures the morass and comedy of contemporary life in all its excess. Bold, unblinking, unforgettable in its irony and pathos, Want Not is a wicked, big-hearted literary novel that confirms the arrival of a major voice in American fiction.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Lori on 11-04-15
I was kind of surprised at my response to this book. It was a bit silly in parts, threatening to veer off into just plain corny, but it didn't. It would whip back in such a unique way that would grab my attention again, and sometimes my heart. At the same time, it didn't really pack in the message that it claimed in the little blurb about the book. And did I miss something? Because there was no "shattering ending" and I am not "haunted." I am, however, entertained and glad I listened to it. I might even listen again someday. The narrator, Therese Plummer, is one of the best narrators I've heard!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By samantha hegenheiser on 05-25-15
Every human should read this
Beautifully written and narrated. This is the story of three very different scenarios (people in three very different places in life) - the story of humanity, as told through separate, yet equally textured, lives. I consumed this 17+ hour audiobook in just 5 days. Outstanding.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful