Elliot Allagash by Simon Rich
A Novel

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The jokes are numerous but broad; the characters serviceable but sketchy; there is a seriously flawed premise that accounts for the Allagash family wealth. It’s a book that’s easy to like but difficult to love.
-National Post arts

Synopsis

Simon Rich dazzled readers with his absurdist sense of humor in his hilarious collections Ant Farm and Free-Range Chickens. Now comes Rich’s rollicking debut novel, which explores the strangest, most twisted, and comically fraught terrain of them all: high school.

Seymour Herson is the least popular student at Glendale, a private school in Manhattan. He’s painfully shy, physically inept, and his new nick-name, “chunk style,” is in danger of entering common usage. But Seymour’s solitary existence comes to a swift end when he meets the new transfer student: Elliot Allagash, evil heir of America’s largest fortune.

Elliot’s rampant delinquency has already gotten him expelled from dozens of prep schools around the country. But despite his best efforts, he can’t get himself thrown out of Glendale; his father has simply donated too much money. Bitter and bored, Elliot decides to amuse himself by taking up a challenging and expensive new hobby: transforming Seymour into the most popular student in the school.

An unlikely friendship develops between the two loners as Elliot introduces Seymour to new concepts, like power, sabotage, and vengeance. With Elliot as his diabolical strategist and investor, Seymour scores a spot on the basketball team, becomes class president, and ruthlessly destroys his enemies. Yet despite the glow of newfound popularity, Seymour feels increasingly uneasy with Elliot’s wily designs. For an Allagash victory is dishonorable at its best, and ruinous at its worst.

Cunningly playful and wickedly funny, Elliot Allagash is a tale about all of the incredible things that money can buy, and the one or two things that it can’t.
 

About Simon Rich

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Simon Rich "is still the freshest, funniest new writer today," according to the Chicago Sun-Times. He has written comedy for the New Yorker, Pixar, Saturday Night Live, the Believer, and various movie studios. He's the author of two collections, Free-Range Chickens and Ant Farm. His first novel, Elliot Allagash, was optioned for a film by Jason Reitman. Rich lives in Brooklyn.
 
Published May 22, 2016 by Diversion Books. 242 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Children's Books, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Elliot Allagash
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National Post arts

Below average
Reviewed by Michael Hingston on Aug 11 2010

The jokes are numerous but broad; the characters serviceable but sketchy; there is a seriously flawed premise that accounts for the Allagash family wealth. It’s a book that’s easy to like but difficult to love.

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