Monday, July 7, 2008

A freakishly charming tale of star-crossed, would-be step-sibling love in a family of failed bodybuilders in suburban Los Angeles

William Miller-- confirmed mamma's boy and weak eyed vegetarian in a family of bodybuilders-- learns at a tender age what amounts to the Cartesian dictum for bodybuilders everywhere: no pain, no gain. I hurt, therefore I am--words he learns to live by in the wake of his mother's death. When his father remarries a relentlessly kind grief counselor, Will is completely, utterly and irrevocably captivated by his new step-sister, Lulu.

"My life began again the moment I met Louisa Trudeau. Without Lulu, I might never have existed again, might never have known the smell of a gauze bandage or felt the delicate winking of an eyelash against my cheek... All I wanted to do was look at her. She was Mr. Potatohead beautiful. Nothing fit right. But somehow this girl in the yellow socks, with the small nose, and the big ears, and the gap-toothed smile achieved a certain harmony, a beauty greater than the sum of its parts...She was like nothing or no one I had ever imagined. Never had I been so completely and unexpectedly disarmed by a stranger."

It is with this first meeting that Will's obsession is born, and Lulu quickly becomes the center of his universe. But as Lulu's behavior becomes increasingly erratic and inexplicably cruel, Will's sense of identity begins to founder. Faced with the knowledge that he can never hold the key to Lulu's heart, Will only clings harder to her, until his unwanted affection drives Lulu into a pattern of self-destruction which follows her into adolescence.

Lulu's departure to college, marks for Will the beginning of a personal odyssey which includes a crash course in western philosophy, a series of epic bad dates, and the enduring friendship of a poultry-obsessed former Soviet wrestler turned free-market capitalist, with whom he establishes Hot Dog Heaven on the Venice Beach Boardwalk.

Working nights as a producer at the college station, Will catches a break one night when the overnight host eats bad razor clams, forcing Will to take the mic without warning, where his performance catches the ear of the program director. In a world made of meat, a world where the corporeal is everything, and identity is measured in mounds of flesh and striated muscle, Will finally discovers his strength in the disembodied voice of his late-night radio persona.But when Lulu self-destructs, William is drawn back into her life, and ultimately discovers that Lulu was never who he believed her to be.

All About Lulu is an absolute must-read. Funny, wise, and heartbreaking, Evison's story is an agonizingly honest reminder of the heart fluttering, gut wrenching pangs of adolescent longing and desire.

Paper 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 320 pgs. ISBN: 1-59376-196-1 List: $16.50 07/1/2008
Soft Skull Press

"All About Lulu is an exhilarating, wholly original and brave novel about obsession, love and becoming. With Will Miller Evison has created a thoroughly modern protagonist steeped in Dickensian complexity, pure yet conflicted, lost yet driven to find truth in the dysfunctional American abyss."- James P. Othmer, author of The Futurist

"All About Lulu is a novel of tremendous energy and heartbreaking, hilarious insight, a novel with a heart of gold. In a manner that is both breathless and effortless, Evison reminds us of life's beautiful oddity. A remarkable debut." - Brad Listi, author of Attention Deficit Disorder

"All About Lulu is a fascinating meditation on growing up and growing inward, a wry portrait of the American family in all its excessive, dysfunctional, heartbreaking purity."- Josh Emmons, author of The Loss of Leon Meed

"Evison keeps all kinds of balls up in the air, seemingly without effort. All About Lulu is the happiest sad story around, a meditation on the meaning of family, and how we fit amongst the people we love and misunderstand."- Greg Downs, author of Spit Baths

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1 comment:

Mike O'Hare said...
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