cover image Amp'd


Ken Pisani. St. Martin's, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-08520-7

Two-time Emmy nominee Pisani's debut novel tells the heartbreakingly hilarious and quirky story of Aaron, whose life is derailed after a bad car accident that leads to the amputation of his left arm. Not that he was really winning the game of life anyway: before the accident all he had was a failed marriage and an unrewarding teaching job. Now, with no one to take care of him, Aaron holes up in his dad's attic in Paris, Ill., concocts cocktails of painkillers and medical marijuana, and attempts to abdicate from life, hoping to somehow avoid the way people treat him now that he's an amputee. He'll even go so far as to escape through a bathroom window if it means eluding the stares. Even as he continues to protest and make lists of all the things he can't do with only one arm, life keeps finding him in the form of an alligator, a boisterous kid with cancer, a job counting fish, an alluring radio personality, and another amputee. With lighthearted brevity and wit, Pisani manages to pull Aaron and his ragtag crew of friends and family through dark times%E2%80%94grief, depression, hopelessness, death, and even extinction%E2%80%94in the most entertaining and ridiculous ways. (May)