Ground Up A Novel

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  • Edition: Original
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-07-21
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Mark and Nina descend on New York to educate the locals on authentic cafe culture. What follows is a brutal and hilarious downward spiral that will strip them of money, friends, and finally, sanity--and offer salvation through something they had never experienced: failure.

Author Biography

Michael Idov is a staff writer for NewYork magazine and the editor in chief of the literary quarterly Russia! This is his first novel.

Table of Contents

“Charming, manic, and delicious. A caffeinated valentine from a New York already gone, but certainly not forgotten. I drank it right up and felt oddly comforted.” —Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan

“Every quotable sentence in Michael Idov’s brilliantly funny first novel (First novel? How is this possible?) induced in this reader awe and jealousy. Ground Up’s narrator is a voice and sensibility I’d follow into any story, any neighborhood. There’s talent here of the Nabokovian kind, wresting truth, love, and mordant wit from delightfully misguided dreams. I loved every word.” —Elinor Lipman, author of Then She Found Me

Ground Up is a rare breed—a sparkling work of light satire written by a ridiculously talented man. The book starts out funny, keeps being funny, then actually gets funnier. There is not a wasted word, not one lame passage. Mr. Idov likes to say that he is not a ‘serious’ writer. Meanwhile, his brilliant novel flips the bird to our humorless, insecure literary caste system and reminds us of another author of witty urban stories: the young Anton Chekhov. But, thanks to Idov, my pleasant habit of using a coffeehouse as an office is forever tinged with guilt.” —Anya Ulinich, author of Petropolis

“A fiercely funny yet frequently touching novel about the nightmare that the American dream can become . . . Idov . . . strikes all the right chords—both cultural and emotional. Narrator Mark Scharf and his wife, Nina Liau, decide to open a hip coffeehouse on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, based on their romantic memories of one they had visited in Vienna . . . Everything that can go wrong will, in a manner both hilarious (the coffeehouse) and poignant (the marriage) . . . Though the protagonist’s own book reviews are usually caustic, even he would give this debut a rave.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A sagely wry novel . . . Packed with insight and frequently hilarious asides, Idov’s debut mercilessly takes down ‘money is an illusion’ bohoism.” —Publishers Weekly

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