A Naked Singularity

Sergio De La Pava. Univ. of Chicago, $18 trade paper (696p) ISBN 978-0-226-14179-4
Originally self-published in 2008, this leviathan novel is not for the fainthearted, although its crazy, contemporary voice is so compelling and audacious that plodding through it to the end has its rewards. Narrator Casi is a brilliant young public defender whose hilarious interactions with criminals and colleagues are so absurd, and justice so often fleeting, that an existential angst quickly takes hold, morality is turned on its head, and nothing much is funny anymore. Plot strands abound, among them Casi’s defense of a terminally ill drug addict, his advocacy of a Skittles-loving death row inmate whose execution might be a better fate than life in his dark cell, and a fellow lawyer who dreams up the perfect crime, which, despite its implausibility, gives the story momentum. Casi is humanized in scenes with his extended Colombian family—complete with a mute niece and a thoughtful sister—and with his friends, although his neighbors in Brooklyn are little more than surreal mouthpieces for the author’s philosophical musings. In Casi’s twisted postmodern world, the justice system is a farce, the heroes mostly aligned with the accused, and a person can care desperately but have so little power that his life becomes heavy enough to collapse into itself. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/05/2012
Release date: 04/01/2012
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 690 pages - 978-1-4363-4199-8
Paperback - 690 pages - 978-1-4363-4198-1
Open Ebook - 690 pages - 978-0-226-14180-0
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