The Ecstatic (eBook)
Victor LaValle has already established himself as “one of the most eloquent voices of the approaching century” (Kirkus Reviews), a writer of darkly humorous tales full of haunting beauty, astonishing leaps of imagination, and language that “crackles and hums” (Chicago Tribune). The Ecstatic is LaValle’s debut novel, a startling tale of love, horror, sex, insanity, faith, morbid obesity, and the modern American family.
Something is wrong with Anthony—our 318-pound hero—and it’s getting worse. A monster has caught his uncle and his mother; now it wants Anthony. Mental illness has been transmitted through his family’s blood. The three women in his life—his mother, younger sister, and grandmother—find him naked and disoriented in his off-campus college apartment and take him home to Queens, each determined to fix him in her own peculiar way. But his presence soon turns their house into a semisuburban asylum.
Sweet but wickedly sarcastic, smart and heartbreakingly vulnerable, Anthony narrates his family’s surreal adventures through a world of grinning exploitation and fake cures, from storefront evangelists and neighborhood loan sharks to bogus beauty pageants and bootleg medical clinics. He corresponds with a dreadlocked Japanese militant, is haunted by a vicious pack of dogs, and tries to make his own horror movie, all in search of an answer to a question he doesn’t dare ask. Written in the tradition of misfit picaresques from Journey to the End of the Night and Invisible Man to A Confederacy of Dunces and The World According to Garp, The Ecstatic is the revelatory story of a family trying to save themselves from a ravenous world and their own unraveling minds.
About the Author
Victor LaValle is the author of the short story collection Slapboxing with Jesus, winner of the PEN Open Book Award. He has also been awarded the key to Southeastern Queens. He lives in California, where he is the Distinguished Visiting Writer at Mills College.
Praise for The Ecstatic…
“A compassionate mystery of madness . . . gritty and funny, both smart-alecky and dark.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Bristles with visionary energy.” —Vanity Fair
“One of our most talented young writers.” —Charles Baxter
“His characters remind one of Chester Himes and Charles Wright, but LaValle is special.” —Ishmael Reed
Proves that Victor LaValle is a voice to be reckoned with for years to come.” —Ernesto Quiñonez, author of Bodega Dreams
“[The] characters are as beautifully rendered as they are bizarrely believable. . . . LaValle . . . writes prose that hums in your ear and appeals to your intellect.” —The Washington Post Book World