A novel by Laird Hunt
September 1, 2001 • 6 x 9 • 215 pages • 978-1-56689-117-2
Surrealism meets noir in this brilliant, witty, chilling novel of international espionage.
When the anonymous narrator botches an assignment from the clandestine organization that employs him, everyone in his life becomes a participant in his punishment. In the end, he is called out of retirement for a final assignment: to seek and identify his own assassin.
This edition includes an introduction by Percival Everett, an afterword by the author, and the novella, “Green Metal Door,” the first edition’s “lost chapter.”
About the Author
Called “one of the most talented young writers on the American scene today” by Paul Auster, Laird Hunt is the author of five genre-bending novels: The Impossibly, The Exquisite, Indiana, Indiana, Ray of the Star, and Kind One. His books have been translated and released in France, Italy, and Japan, and The Impossibly is available as an audio book through Iambik Audio. His work has also appeared in several recent anthologies including Noise: Fiction Inspired by Sonic Youth, in which the Village Voice says “Laird Hunt’s ‘Kissability,’ in its distillation of inchoate teenage longing, is . . . as lovely a passage as anything in pop music.”
Born in Singapore and educated at Indiana University and The Sorbonne in Paris, Hunt has also lived in Tokyo, London, The Hague, New York City, and on an Indiana farm. A former press officer at the United Nations and current faculty member at the University of Denver, he now lives in Boulder, Colorado.
Thanks to a 2013 ADA Access Improvement Grant administered by VSA Minnesota for the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, this title is also formatted for screen readers which make text accessible to the blind and visually impaired. To purchase this title for use with a screen reader please call (612) 338-0125 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finalist for Firecracker Alternative Book Award
“[Laird Hunt] captures the tone of Paul Auster’s City of Glass in the first few chapters, and he brings a decidedly Kafkaesque feel to the spy’s early adventures.” —Publishers Weekly
“Hunt debuts with a stylish, if opaque, noir tale about a hit man who falls in love, takes a break, and incurs the wrath of his organization. . . . The mystery runs at all levels here, and the style and situation have appeal.” —Kirkus
“Hunt is an intellect and a great spinner of claustrophobic noir plots, and his erudite gumshoe yarn owes as much to Georges Perec and Gertrude Stein as it does to Paul Auster.” —The Believer
“For 200 pages, Hunt sustains an atmosphere of severe disorientation, packing his story with more curious and vaguely menacing strangers than a David Lynch movie. . . . The book’s many layers and difficult questions make it an ideal candidate for an adventurous book club.” —Star Tribune
“The Impossibly is one of the most exciting debut novels I have ever read. . . . While most Kafka comparisons are specious and overstated, Hunt’s subtle humor, sophisticated intelligence and the graceful timbre of his prose place this novel firmly in the tradition of The Castle, as well as Nabokov’s The Eye and Thomas Bernhard’s The Loser. This is high praise indeed, but The Impossibly is a marvelous, wonderful novel.” —Review of Contemporary Fiction
“The Impossibly, Laird Hunt’s first novel, is a challenging and inventive work, alternately chilling and humorous, that breaks new ground in the world of speculative fiction. Diffuse with noir tropes stripped of their origins, it leaves the reader with a map of the complicit mind trying to deal with perversity and adversity in a violent world.” —Rain Taxi
“From the title to the last, dreamlike passage, Hunt’s novel is a deliberate, sometimes striking conundrum, one with its origins deep in the heart of traditional genres (in particular, hardboiled detective fiction and international spy thrillers), but with ambitions that extend into knotty problems of narrative, language, and meaning.” —American Book Review
“Every once in a long while, you discover a novel unlike anything else you’ve ever read. Laird Hunt’s debut is one of them. Innovative, comic, bizarre and beautiful, The Impossibly reads as if Donald Barthelme were channeling Alain Robbe-Grillet, Samuel Beckett, Ben Marcus and reruns of Get Smart.” —Time Out New York
“A fractured espionage story, John le Carré à la Borges.” —The Stranger