- Published: 03/09/2020
- ISBN: 9781783785377
- Granta Books
- 304 pages
The Topeka School
Adam Gordon is a senior at Topeka High School, class of ’97. His parents are psychologists, his mom a famous author in the field. A renowned debater and orator, an aspiring poet, and – although it requires a lot of posturing and weight lifting – one of the cool kids, he’s also one of the seniors who brings the loner Darren Eberheart into the social scene, with disastrous effects.
Deftly shifting perspectives and time periods, The Topeka School is a riveting story about the challenges of raising a good son in a culture of toxic masculinity. It is also a startling prehistory of the present: the collapse of public speech, the tyranny of trolls and the new right, and the ongoing crisis of identity among white men.
The Topeka School is a novel of exhilarating intellectual inquiry, penetrating social insight an deep psychological sensitivity... To the extent that we can speak of a future at present, I think the future of the novel is here
A great novel, one summoned by the desperate times in which it was written. Lerner has [...] created a work of extraordinary intelligence and subtlety, of lasting importance
Ben Lerner has redefined what it means for a writer to inhabit an American present by showing how a family reckons with its past. Here the personal and political are masterfully interwoven. The Topeka School is brave, furious, and finally a work of love
Ben Lerner on Granta.com
Fiction | Granta 148
‘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
‘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
‘My role in the slaughter doesn’t disqualify the beauty I find in all / forms of sheltered flame.’