A Strange Commonplace
A novel by Gilbert Sorrentino
May 1, 2006 • 5.5 x 8.5 • 154 pages • 978-1-56689-182-0
An unsettling, masterful novel of lives distorted in a funhouse mirror of inexplicable coincidences.
Borrowing its title from a William Carlos Williams poem, A Strange Commonplace lays bare the secrets and dreams of characters whose lives are intertwined by coincidence and necessity, possessions and experience. Ensnared in a jungle of city streets and suburban bedroom communities from the boozy 1950s to the culturally vacuous present, lines blur between families and acquaintances, violence and love, hope and despair. As fathers try to connect with their children, as writers struggle for credibility, as wives walk out, and as an old man plays Russian roulette with a deck of cards, their stories resonate with poignancy and savage humor—familiar, tragic, and cathartic.
About the Author
A luminary of American literature, Gilbert Sorrentino (1929-2006) was a boyhood friend of Hubert Selby, Jr. and a confidant of William Carlos Williams. He is the author of the classic novels Mulligan Stew and Little Casino and over thirty other books, including A Strange Commonplace, Lunar Follies, The Moon in Its Flight, and The Abyss of Human Illusion. A former editor at Grove Press, Sorrentino taught at Stanford University for many years before returning to his native Brooklyn.
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“Sorrentino [is] a writer like no other. He’s learned, companionable, ribald, brave, mathematical, at once virtuosic and somehow without ego. Sorrentino’s books break free of the routine that inevitably accompanies traditional narrative and through a passionate renunciation shine with an unforgiving, yet cleansing, light.” —Jeffrey Eugenides
“To the novel—everyone’s novel—Sorrentino brings honor, tradition, and relentless passion.” —Don DeLillo