ISBN-10: 1639550771
ISBN-13: 9781639550777
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Publish Date: 09/13/2022
Dimensions: 8.40" L, 5.40" W, 0.90" H

2 A.M. in Little America


Price: $18.00


An Esquire “Best Book of Spring 2022”
A San Francisco Chronicle “Most Anticipated Novel of 2022”
A Literary Hub “Most Anticipated Book of 2022”

From “an important writer in every sense” (David Foster Wallace), a novel that imagines a future in which sweeping civil conflict has forced America’s young people to flee its borders, into an unwelcoming world.

One such American is Ron Patterson, who finds himself on distant shores, working as a repairman and sharing a room with other refugees. In an unnamed city wedged between ocean and lush mountainous forest, Ron can almost imagine a stable life for himself. Especially when he makes the first friend he has had in years–a mysterious migrant named Marlise, who bears a striking resemblance to a onetime classmate.

Nearly a decade later–after anti-migrant sentiment has put their whirlwind intimacy and asylum to an end–Ron is living in “Little America,” an enclave of migrants in one of the few countries still willing to accept them. Here, among reminders of his past life, he again begins to feel that he may have found a home. Ron adopts a stray dog, observes his neighbors, and lands a repairman job that allows him to move through the city quietly. But this newfound security, too, is quickly jeopardized, as resurgent political divisions threaten the fabric of Little America. Tapped as an informant against the rise of militant gangs and contending with the appearance of a strangely familiar woman, Ron is suddenly on dangerous and uncertain ground.

Brimming with mystery, suspense, and Kalfus’s distinctive comic irony, 2 A.M. in Little America poses several questions vital to the current moment: What happens when privilege is reversed? Who is watching and why? How do tribalized politics disrupt our ability to distinguish what is true and what is not? This is a story for our time–gripping, unsettling, prescient–by one of our most acclaimed novelists.

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Praise for 2 A.M. in Little America
"Deeply intriguing . . . A tense and often beautiful work of reflection on the American present . . . 2 A.M. in Little America is a highly readable, taut novel. It pulls the reader into its world, and suggests that many interesting human complications await us at the end of the story called the United States of America."–New York Times Book Review

"Kalfus has a gift for penetrating to the core of current events and presenting issues in a provocative way . . . [2 A.M. in Little America is] a quietly dystopian novel that presents an unsettling portrait of a humbled America as seen through the eyes of a migrant who is a not entirely reliable narrator."–Washington Post
"Kalfus is one of contemporary literature's best-kept secrets. He's a writer's writer through and through, but with 2 A.M. in Little America, he's poised to make a major crossover to the mainstream . . . Kalfus explores powerful questions about tribalization, alienation, and exile."–Esquire, "The Best Books of Spring 2022"
"From the undersung Kalfus, another tonally intricate triumph, this one about the bewilderment, alienation, and sheer strangeness of being a refugee . . . A strange, highly compelling tale about what happens when American privilege and insulation get turned inside out."Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

"A work of art [that] looks further ahead, responding to our present moment by imagining a possible future."Colorado Review of Books

"Ken Kalfus is American literature's best-kept secret: his ideas are weird, his writing is limber, his ironic eye is gimlet, and yet no one seems to talk about him. Maybe that will change with [2 A.M. in Little America] . . . I've been waiting for a new novel from him since 2013's insane, high-concept Equilateral, and I can't wait to dig in."–Literary Hub, "Most Anticipated Books of 2022"

"Kalfus returns with a subtly provocative dystopian story . . . Part of the thrill of Kalfus's engrossing story is in how he pieces together the details of his near-future world . . . [2 A.M. in Little America] takes hold on the reader."Publishers Weekly

"As it progresses, [this] tale becomes a potent warning about the consequences of ideological fervor. Heartbreaking and sobering, the dystopian novel 2 A.M. in Little America has the makings of a modern classic."–Foreword Reviews, Starred Review

"A powerful book about the consequences of extremism, otherness, and longing for home and connection."–Kathy Baum, Tattered Cover

"Ken Kalfus may be the most underrated writer in America, consistently clever, creative, and compassionate. His latest novel is a Kafkan parable set during an indistinct future, after America's political divisions have caused its collapse, losing its citizens as refugees into a largely uncaring world. Much reduced in circumstance, they cling to what they have left, their memories and the few empty cultural symbols that remain on their new darkling plain, swept by confused alarms of struggle and fight. Taut and highly provocative."–James Crossly, Phinney Books

"I raced through this book between dinner and bedtime and was blown away. Ken Kalfus's novel follows protagonist Ron Patterson, one refugee of thousands from a war-shattered America. Set in an uncomfortably possible near-future, this novel takes literal dislocation, and presses on that uncertainty until Ron and reader alike are unsure not only what will happen next, but if what has already happened went down the way we saw it. Always its own fresh story, readers of Philip K. Dick and Stainslaw Lem will recognize the terrain Kalfus explores."–Shannon McMaster, Schuler Books

"Ken Kalfus captures the confusion and uncertainty that is ingrained within the refugee experience, and has transposed that experience into the life of an American in exile."–Bob Lingle, Off the Beaten Path Bookstore

"2 A.M. in Little America is the novel I didn't know I neded to read about my worst fears about the end of this country. This imaginative and immersive allegory of human intractability, memory, displacement, and the sinister potential of big-box stores is riotously funny and just as melancholy, unmistakably the vision of Ken Kalfus, a veteran chronicler of the doomed madness that is nationalism."–Asali Solomon, author of The Days of Afrekete

"2 A.M. in Little America is my favorite book by one of America's great living writers. It is uncanny, insightful, thrilling, beautiful, and always overflowing with pleasures."–Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

"In its melding of migration narrative, romance, and political thriller, Ken Kalfus's wondrous tale of a dystopian future, 2 A.M. in Little America, transforms home into a story we tell ourselves and others, one as subject to the failures of our memories as to the deceptions of our imaginations. Its tale of the collision between those narratives and real life innovates and turns pages, sings and whispers of its, and thereby our, Little Americas."–Elias Rodriques, author of All the Water I've Seen Is Running

Praise for Ken Kalfus

"Ken Kalfus is an important writer in every sense of 'important.' There are hip, funny writers, and there are smart, technically innovative writers, and there are wise, moving, and profound writers. Kalfus is all these at once."–David Foster Wallace, author of Infinite Jest

"Kalfus himself is more shaman than politician–even when his stories rub up against geopolitical borders, he takes to the spiritual and dissolves them into magic."Newsday

"Kalfus reminds us that the short story is not an easily contained form, a single thing done in a single way. . . . [He] lights his stories with this fundamental strangeness. . . . No one is comfortable in Kalfus's universe, and no one is ever exactly at home."New York Times

"Kalfus unerringly recognizes the comedy inherent in our quandaries of knowing and being, and suggests that laughter best quenches existential thirst."Philadelphia Inquirer

"It's a rare writer who can combine keen, grounded, psychological observation with visionary headiness, who can make you feel a character's acute cultural dislocation without ever stooping to lectures–and an even rarer writer who can meld all of these elements into sinuous, powerful whole. . . . It's exhilarating to discover a young writer with so much range and so little self-consciousness about exploring it."Salon

"Kalfus prove[s] himself to be one of those rare writers who manages to tackle lofty issues of transnational culture and capitalism with a gentle humanist touch, making his stories at once intellectually provocative and emotionally satisfying."Booklist

"Kalfus is not a political writer, really. He loves to tell stories, loves imaging other people's lives and experiences, and we can sense this in the delicate unraveling of each plot, of each sentence. There is, among us, a storyteller–how rare a gift this is!"–Keith Gessen, author of All the Sad Young Literary Men

Praise for Coup de Foudre

"Kalfus's range is formidable and his standout pieces brim with gimlet-eyed observations, dazzling ideas and well-crafted characters whose exploits and predicaments flit between comedy, tragedy and downright absurdity."Financial Times

"Spectacular . . . The best work here presents a moving exploration of the ambiguous nature of reality, storytelling and the passage of time."–Andrew Sean Greer, New York Times

"Almost my ideal of what the short story collection can do. The pieces are sufficiently different in terms of style and form that the reader never knows what to expect next–gimlet-eyed realism, creepy, surreal fables, satire, Chandler-esque obfuscated epiphanies or Borgesian parables."The Scotsman

Praise for Equilateral

"The Big Idea underlying Equilateral the novel isn't illuminated until nearly its completion. It's a pretty neat trick for a novelist to pull off, to obscure the fact that what at first looks like an intricate fantasy novel actually contains pointed social commentary. When Kalfus finally strikes that match, we readers finally see the light."–Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air

"The novel published this year that speaks most eloquently about America in 2013 takes place in Egypt's Great Sand Sea, in 1894. . . . Kalfus's prose–eerie, Delphic, as stark and sere as the Great Sand Sea–gives itself easily to allegory. Equilateral can be read as a parable of the ways we blind ourselves through vanity, love, and greed."–Nathaniel Rich, Daily Beast

"Slender but ambitious . . . Kalfus maps the boundary between science and mysticism while simultaneously muddying, in a way the 20th century soon would, the previously bright line between scientific certainty and arrogant, self-deluded error." Kirkus (starred review)

Praise for A Disorder Peculiar to the Country

Finalist for the National Book Award

"One of the best and certainly the least sentimental novels about New York City post-9/11."–Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air

"Kalfus skewers the pieties surrounding 9/11, but, having set his black comedy in the shadow of that national trauma, he reverently charts the powerful sway that world events briefly held over the lives of individual Americans."New Yorker

"The boldly original premise with which this exceptionally smart, provocative novel begins isn't going to sit well with some readers. . . . A dark comedy with serious things to say about the difficult, unsettling times in which we live."Washington Post

Praise for The Commissariat of Enlightenment

"Thrillingly intelligent . . . A witty meditation on how image supplanted language in the 20th century, The Commissariat of Enlightenment confirms the promise of Kalfus' two story collections . . . and neatly airbrushes him into any class picture of the writers who are keeping American literature interesting at the moment."San Francisco Chronicle

"Kalfus has created a fictional, parallel Russia that reveals itself to the Western reader in all its soiled splendor."–Gary Shteyngart, Bookforum

"A brilliant fusion of satire, science fiction, and political commentary. Gogol is probably tearing his hair out, wishing he'd dreamed this up."Kirkus

Praise for Pu-239

"Luminous . . . Kalfus is a virtuoso of the dismal comedy of Soviet life–the 'myopia left undiagnosed'; the dull, brute clatter surrounding the soundless vacuum–and its social, environmental and spiritual self-destruction."–Jim Shepard, New York Times

"So full of pleasure and wonder from sentence to sentence and page to page that it touches the reader physically . . . Kalfus inhabits the consciousness of all his disparate characters with equal adroitness. The stories themselves have a cumulative power, achieving an epic vision of a country and its past as well as an intimate portrait of individual lives."San Francisco Chronicle

"It is exceptionally difficult for a foreigner to write fiction about Russia and get it right. Ken Kalfus gets its right. Again and again. In this new collection of short stories, Kalfus excavates the subtleties of the Russian psyche and soul with understanding and sympathy."Russian Life

Praise for Thirst

"A dazzling debut . . . With his amazingly eclectic story collection, Ken Kalfus emerges as a major literary talent. . . . It's exhilarating to discover a young writer with so much range and so little self-consciousness about exploiting it."Salon

"Kalfus is one of those rare writers whose travels haven't colored his prose with cosmopolitan cynicism. . . . He reminds us that sometimes the really significant truths are those found closest to home."Village Voice

"Stylistically wide-ranging, buoyed by witty narrators, diverse protagonists, and enticing settings . . . At once fantastic, absurd, and satirical, Thirst is a perverse commentary on and comical prediction of U.S. culture."Booklist

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ISBN-10: 1639550771
ISBN-13: 9781639550777
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Publish Date: 09/13/2022
Dimensions: 8.40" L, 5.40" W, 0.90" H
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