Busy Monsters by William Giraldi
A Novel

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Synopsis

“The best literary present . . . has a delicate sweetness that shows through at just the right moments.”—Ron Charles, Washington Post Book World


Echoing a narrative line that includes Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller, William Giraldi’s Busy Monsters has been hailed as one of the most exciting fiction debuts in years. Penned with a linguistic bravado that explores the diaphanous line between fiction and fact, this “very funny, very inventive début novel” (The New Yorker) has at last revived the great American picaresque tradition.
 

About William Giraldi

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William Giraldi's work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Georgia Review, The Believer, Kenyon Review, and Poets & Writers. A senior editor at AGNI, he teaches in the Arts & Sciences Writing Program at Boston University.
 
Published August 1, 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company. 305 pages
Genres: Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Busy Monsters

The New York Times

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A protagonist with an odd manner of speaking strives to win back his fiancée from a hunter of giant squid.

Aug 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Busy Monsters: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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In his riotous debut novel—up there with, say, James Wilcox's Modern Baptists—Giraldi tells the story of Charles Homar, a jilted fiancé who embarks on a hilariously ill-advised odyssey to win back his beloved.

May 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Busy Monsters: A Novel

AV Club

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A deeply unreliable narrator with a creative, colorful vocabulary details his own adventures in this playful debut novel. 

Aug 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Busy Monsters: A Novel

The Washington Post

“I’ve been told my sentences salsa,” Charles boasts, but he frequently finds himself defending his memoirs against accusations that he lacks “Jamesian interiority and the plotting proficiency of Wilkie Collins.” Another reader complains, “Most of the events in your memoirs occur outside the scope...

Jul 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Busy Monsters: A Novel

The Bookbag

Summary: A funny look at a journalist on an adventure to capture his love, who is trying to catch a giant squid in her turn.

Oct 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Busy Monsters: A Novel

Dallas News

Love-crazed Charlie takes actions that land him in jail, but he can’t prevent Gillian from leaving, which launches him on an a wild cross-country quest to win her back, involving episodes with a Bigfoot specialist, some UFO enthusiasts, ghost hunters, an oversexed body builder and more.

Sep 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Busy Monsters: A Novel

Washington Independent Review of Books

Charlie instantly dislikes him and takes on the role of a knight-errant, jousting to free Sandy from the manipulative man who has succeeded in undermining her scientific training in favor of his non-scientific theories.

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Bookmarks Magazine

("I proffered her my hand, a-tremble," Charles says of his first meeting with Gillian.) "A book that's driven almost entirely by the novelty of its voice will polarize its readership," observed the New York Times Book Review, though most critics enjoyed the narrative's eccentricity.

Aug 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Busy Monsters: A Novel

Time Out New York

There's a moment in Busy Monsters when the main character, Charles Homar, is asked if he's a writer, and he deadpans: "I've been told my sentences salsa."

Aug 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Busy Monsters: A Novel

Book Forum

Four times a month, this esteemed periodical pays Homar to recount, in majestically baroque language, the various travails that God hath inflicted upon Charles Homar, which include a perpetually dyspeptic father and a stubborn squirrel infestation in his suburban New England home.

Sep 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Busy Monsters: A Novel

Open Salon

Likewise, avoiding self-conscious writing, or as Elmore Leonard put it, "If it sounds written, I re-write it," is the golden rule of modern fiction, yet when I read Busy Monsters, I can't help but feel the fun Mr. Giradli had crafting the story and pushing the boundaries of literary convention.

Feb 06 2012 | Read Full Review of Busy Monsters: A Novel

Time Out Chicago

Skewering the false bravado of the aughties memoir craze, Busy Monsters also reads a bit like the type of screenplay Wes Anderson might write in the midst of a roid rage, as Charles plots increasingly desperate and ludicrous schemes to win Gillian back.

Aug 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Busy Monsters: A Novel

Englewood Review of Books

Charlie is speaking with Romp, an oversexed Bigfoot hunter, who it turns out has read Charlie’s memoirs: “Oh, yeah,” he said, pulling on his clothes, “I read that scene.

Sep 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Busy Monsters: A Novel

Publishing Perspective

In an essay, Norman Mailer once said something to the effect that, when reading a writer’s first novel, pay close attention to the first and last lines, since they’re invariably the ones that the novelist showers the most attention upon.

Aug 29 2011 | Read Full Review of Busy Monsters: A Novel

Reader Rating for Busy Monsters
65%

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