The Swing Voter of Staten Island (Akashic Urban Surreal Series)

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9781933354347: The Swing Voter of Staten Island (Akashic Urban Surreal Series)
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Praise for The Swing Voter of Staten Island:

FROM KIRKUS REVIEWS:
Having first dazzled Weird-Lit ultra-hipsters with The Fuck-Up in 1997, Nersesian (Unlubricated, 2004, etc.) rounds out a busy decade with a dystopian epic.

     Combining sci-fi space/time-warping, Unabomber-style political ranting and an overall air of goose-bump paranoia, this is one turbo-charged trip through a version of the 1980s no one could love. A gumbo of Weather Underground, S.L.A. and Black Panther droogies take over New York City in the '70s, splashing dirty bombs helter-skelter. Manhattan basically kaput, the federal government designates a former "military simulation city," a radioactive desert outside Vegas, as the New New York. The geographic layout's a convincing copy, but landmark names are corrupted: "Vampire Stake Building," "Onion Square," "Rock & Filler Center." And the Gangs of New York rule, with the Boroughs divided between Piggers (or We the Peoplers) and Crappers (All Created Equalers), political parties at mutual knifepoint. Into this bedlam drops protagonist Uli, a Manchurian Candidate knock-off programmed by mysterious nefarious forces to assassinate Dropt, a rival candidate to Pigger Mayor Shub. Hizzonner spouts masterful Orwellian jive ("He's intractable in a business that requires a lot of tractoring!"), and the citizens, when not overdosing on creepy new drugs, fantasize returning to the real Manhattan. But much to the fury of Abbie Hoffman and Allen Ginsberg, Ronald Reagan is running for re-election. If Staten Island's borough president allies with the national Democrats and Reagan loses, nobody gets to go back, because it's only budget-crunching Ronnie who wants to deep-six the fake New York. The loony-tune plot merely serves as a launch pad for Nersesian's meditations on Vietnam-era military insanity, big-city frenzy and the Tower of Babel capacities of language.

    A sharp, strange read: Imagine William Burroughs and Philip K. Dick sharing a needle."

FROM PUBLISHERS WEEKLY:

Nersesian has carved out his niche with novels like The Fuck-Up and Unlubricated about New Yorkers trapped in their own ugly lives. His sixth is similarly sordid but uncharacteristically fantastical. Over the course of a week in a counterfactual 1980, amnesiac protagonist Uli must navigate a reproduction of New York City built in Nevada after the original was destroyed. He quickly learns that the city is divided into territories run by Piggers and Crappers ( political parties, or gangs”) and he has been programmed to assassinate the Crapper candidate for mayor. Manhattan and Brooklyn belong to Crappers, the Bronx and Queens are held by Piggers; Staten Island is independent, and thus constitutes the swing vote in the mayoral and--more importantly--presidential elections. Rescue City” consists of smaller, cheaper versions of the original: bridges are made of rotten boards, famous landmarks are redubbed corrupt versions of their real names (e.g., Rock and Filler Center for Rockefeller Center and Onion Square for Union Square), and the East River suffers from a clogged drain. Uli mingles with a wide array of desperate characters while trying to uncover his identity and determine what, if anything, he should be fighting for. Nersesian's novel is exceptionally bleak and bewildering, and his fans would expect nothing less.

Up until now, Arthur Nersesian’s six novels (including The Fuck-Up, MTV/Pocket Books, which has sold over 100,000 copies) have focused on the tragicomedy of fin de siècle New York City. Now, in his boldest novel yet, he has broken through into a new landscape that at once fuses the real with the surreal, the psychological with the psychedelic. Actual characters from the 1960s and 1970s Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Daniel Ellsberg, and the Berrigan Brothers are

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From the Publisher:

FROM KIRKUS REVIEWS, Oct. 2007: "Having first dazzled Weird-Lit ultra-hipsters with The Fuck-Up in 1997, Nersesian (Unlubricated, 2004, etc.) rounds out a busy decade with a dystopian epic.

Combining sci-fi space/time-warping, Unabomber-style political ranting and an overall air of goose-bump paranoia, this is one turbo-charged trip through a version of the 1980s no one could love. A gumbo of Weather Underground, S.L.A. and Black Panther droogies take over New York City in the '70s, splashing dirty bombs helter-skelter. Manhattan basically kaput, the federal government designates a former "military simulation city," a radioactive desert outside Vegas, as the New New York. The geographic layout's a convincing copy, but landmark names are corrupted: "Vampire Stake Building," "Onion Square," "Rock & Filler Center." And the Gangs of New York rule, with the Boroughs divided between Piggers (or We the Peoplers) and Crappers (All Created Equalers), political parties at mutual knifepoint. Into this bedlam drops protagonist Uli, a Manchurian Candidate knock-off programmed by mysterious nefarious forces to assassinate Dropt, a rival candidate to Pigger Mayor Shub. Hizzonner spouts masterful Orwellian jive ("He's intractable in a business that requires a lot of tractoring!"), and the citizens, when not overdosing on creepy new drugs, fantasize returning to the real Manhattan. But much to the fury of Abbie Hoffman and Allen Ginsberg, Ronald Reagan is running for re-election. If Staten Island's borough president allies with the national Democrats and Reagan loses, nobody gets to go back, because it's only budget-crunching Ronnie who wants to deep-six the fake New York. The loony-tune plot merely serves as a launch pad for Nersesian's meditations on Vietnam-era military insanity, big-city frenzy and the Tower of Babel capacities of language.

A sharp, strange read: Imagine William Burroughs and Philip K. Dick sharing a needle."

About the Author:

Arthur Nersesian is the author of eight novels, including the smash hit The Fuck-Up (more than 100,000 copies sold), Dogrun, Suicide Casanova (Akashic), and, most recently, The Swing Voter of Staten Island, which is the first volume in a series, The Five Books of Moses. He lives in New York City.

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