Twelve: McDonell, Nick

Twelve

McDonell, Nick

Published by Grove Press, 2002
ISBN 10: 0802117171 / ISBN 13: 9780802117175
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Signed by author on title page with no inscription. First edition stated with complete number line. Book and unclipped DJ in Fine condition. Collectible copy in Brodart. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: From The Catcher in the Rye, to The Basketball Diaries, to Less than Zero, there have been books that captured the soul of a generation. Now comes a novel for the new millennium -- Twelve, a chilling chronicle of urban adolescence that has already created an international sensation. This is not a coming-of-age novel because these kids never had a childhood; rather it is a rare look into a sealed world rendered with authority and wit. Set in Manhattan between Christmas and New Year's Eve, from the housing projects of Harlem to the penthouses of Park Avenue, it is the story of White Mike, a seventeen-year-old prep-school dropout turned drug dealer, and his privileged peers. White Mike is a loner and an anomaly: he doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, and he never uses drugs. His mother is dead and his father is depressed -- but they're hardly more absent than the other parents who are off on holiday in Bali or business in Brussels, leaving hired help to look the other way while the kids of Twelve stay home in their multimillion-dollar co-ops and town houses, partying with drugs and sex and escalating violence. Access to cash is a given here and the kids of Twelve have it all; Chris and Claude and Hunter and Laura have the best, and most, of everything, but are constantly looking for something more exotic, and more dangerous: like the new designer drug, twelve. From page one, the seventeen-year-old author, whose clarity and skill far exceed his years, sets an icy pace toward an apocalyptic climax. In the penultimate party scene, when we thought we couldn't be surprised, we are shocked. And throughout the book, where there is an excess of everything but hope, we are filled with that very emotion as White Mike struggles for nothing less than his soul. "In Twelve, Nick McDonell displays a remarkable arsenal of gifts -- wit, near poetic concision, a terrific eye and ear...." -- Richard Price "Nick McDonell is the real thing, a powerful young writer ... The ratio of age to talent is horrifying." -- Hunter S. Thompson

Review: On the surface, Nick McDonell's debut novel Twelve (written when the well-connected former prep-schooler was 17) feels like an East Coast Less Than Zero: the laconic style and episodic plot; the privileged ennui, drugs, and pop culture sensibility (with sprinklings of Prada, FUBU, North Face, and Nokia replacing Zero's Armani, English Beat T-shirts, Wayfarer sunglasses, and Betamax); the Christmas break setting; even the italicized flashbacks--it's all there. But Twelve also shares its casual, youthful arrogance with the jaded aggressiveness and jagged style of Larry Clark's Kids.

McDonell has crafted a pulsing narrative that clips along at an after-hours pace, pulling the reader along like an ominous rip tide, shifting easily from the Upper East Side to Harlem to Central Park to introduce a cast of loosely connected characters. White Mike, Twelve's clean-living, Cheerios-loving, milkshake-drinking drug dealer, drives the majority of the barely-there plot. ("Mike uses a teaspoon to eat his cereal, not a big soup spoon, because he likes to have less milk in his mouth with each bite" is about as deep as it gets.) Character development is limited to an easy shorthand ("Long legs, large breasts, blond hair, blue eyes, high cheekbones.") that results in a simple surface-skimming, leaving one too many caricatures of the very youth culture McDonell is writing about. Readers will see the blood-spattered, penultimate set piece coming down Fifth Avenue from page one, but any potential shock value or drama is immediately deflated in Twelve's head-scratching hangover of a denouement. --Brad Thomas Parsons

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Twelve
Publisher: Grove Press
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Fine
Edition: 1st Edition

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