Leaving the Atocha Station | Granta

  • Published: 07/03/2013
  • ISBN: 9781847086914
  • 129x20mm
  • 192 pages

Leaving the Atocha Station

Ben Lerner

Adam Gordon is a brilliant, if highly unreliable, young American poet on a prestigious fellowship in Madrid, struggling to establish his sense of self and his attitude towards art. Fuelled by strong coffee and self-prescribed tranquillizers, Adam’s ‘research’ soon becomes a meditation on the possibility of authenticity, as he finds himself increasingly troubled by the uncrossable distance between himself and the world around him. It’s not just his imperfect grasp of Spanish, but the underlying suspicion that his relationships, his reactions, and his entire personality are just as fraudulent as his poetry.

Gales of laughter howl through [this] remarkable first novel. It's packed full of gags and page-long one-liners... intensely and unusually brilliant

Geoff Dyer, Observer

[This book] stood out from everything else I read this year

Catherine O’Flynn, Books of the Year, Observer

The best new novel I've read for a long time

James Meek

The Author

BEN LERNER was born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1979. He has received fellowships from the Fulbright, Guggenheim, and MacArthur Foundations, and is the author of three internationally acclaimed novels, Leaving the Atocha Station, 10:04 and The Topeka School. He has published the poetry collections The Lichtenberg Figures, Angle of Yaw (a finalist for the National Book Award), Mean Free Path and No Art as well as the essay The Hatred of Poetry. Lerner lives and teaches in Brooklyn.

More about the author →

From the Same Author

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The Spread

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‘He began to feel less like he was delivering a speech and more like a speech was delivering him.’

Read an extract from Ben Lerner’s latest novel, The Topeka School.

Fiction | Granta 139

Bright Circle

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‘Things he dreamt began to show up in the bushes, the plastic figurine from a parachute firework, the small dull rusted circular saw blade he thought of as a throwing star, and he pocketed those things.’

Poetry | Granta 120

Dilation

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‘My role in the slaughter doesn’t disqualify the beauty I find in all / forms of sheltered flame.’