Flatscreen by Adam Wilson
A Novel

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“OMFG, I nearly up and died from laughter when I read Flatscreen. This is the novel that every young turk will be reading on their way to a job they hate and are in fact too smart for.” —Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story

Indie-lit star and Faster Times editor Adam Wilson delivers the gleefully absurd, effortlessly heartwarming story of one young man’s struggle to shake off the listless, sexless, stoned mantle of suburban teenage life and become something better. Fortunately (maybe) for Eli, his apathetic quest finds a catalyzing agent in one Mr. Seymour J. Kahn, a paraplegic sex addict and two-bit silver screen star who initiates a mad decent into debasement and (of course) YouTube stardom—a transformation from which there will be no going back.

About Adam Wilson

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Adam Wilson is a founding editor of The Faster Times and currently serves as its Editor. He is formerly a bookseller at Book Court, a culture columnist for BlackBook and a TV blogger for Flavorwire. He has thrice been a finalist for Glimmer Train story prizes, and his writing has appeared in the New York Times, Paris Review Daily, Washington Square Review, Time Out New York, The Forward, Bookforum, Boldtype, and The Rumpus, among other publications. He holds a BA from Tufts University and an MFA from Columbia University, where he received a Merit Fellowship. In 2007 he was honored as a Distinguished Lecturer by the Lewis and Mildred Resnik Institute for the Study of Modern Jewish Life at SUNY, New Paltz. A valued member of The New Yorker's softball team, he lives in Brooklyn with his cat.
Published February 21, 2012 by Harper Perennial. 330 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The repressed, apathetic Eli and the profane, uninhibited Kahn make for an odd couple, though Eli acknowledges, “I’m afraid of becoming Kahn, but part of me knows I’m already Kahn, that he’s the part of me I want to keep away from the world.

Jan 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Flatscreen: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Well past high school and still living off the “Daddy Guilt Fund,” Eli Schwartz, the narrator of this rollicking debut novel, is the classic couch-bound failure-to-launch whiling away his 20s “denying real time, like an anthropologist attempting to study a distant, extinct species, wonderin...

Nov 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Flatscreen: A Novel


Meet contemporary fiction’s latest anti-hero, an out of shape 20-something suburban druggie, mooching off his divorced parents who has never worked a day in his life and really has no plans to as long as he can live in his mom’s basement and count on dad’s money to buy more pot.

Mar 13 2012 | Read Full Review of Flatscreen: A Novel

Book Reporter

When a novel begins with a paraplegic ex-actor waking up a privileged, tumescent 20-something slacker and asking him to score some weed, you know you’re about to spend the next 10 hours of your life in a bumper-car ride among the seamier aspects of the American bourgeoisie.

Mar 02 2012 | Read Full Review of Flatscreen: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

B Originally posted Feb 15, 2012 Published in issue #1195 Feb 24, 2012 Order article reprints

Feb 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Flatscreen: A Novel

Time Out New York

Nice work if you can get it, but when Eli's mother sells their home to a disabled former D-list television star named Kahn, the thin walls of distraction that surround Eli begin to crumble, and he must face the reality of his wastrel's existence.

Feb 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Flatscreen: A Novel

The American Book Center Blog

The story was appealing to me as it recalls the ups and downs of a so-called loser – yet a touching one – but I often got lost in its structure – Wilson really takes you deep into the (often twisted) mind of its hero.

Mar 05 2012 | Read Full Review of Flatscreen: A Novel

Full Stop

But Kahn’s Byronic sentiments, even when they echo those of Eli, often seem remote, like lines from his many made-for-TV movies — or maybe his Skinemax flick — pieced together and delivered with the authority of hard-earned lessons: We’re carried by our daughters and brothers, wives, mothers, lo...

Feb 22 2012 | Read Full Review of Flatscreen: A Novel

Annenberg Digital News

Though, after meeting Seymour Khan, a former television star-turned-sex addict, Eli starts to think more about his life as he’s living it and attempts to break free and become someone new.

Mar 30 2012 | Read Full Review of Flatscreen: A Novel

Vol. 1 Brooklyn

In fact, some of the most moving, insightful parts of the book consist of Eli stating explicitly the plain sadness of his situation, shedding his cynicism and sarcasm to say, “Everything scares the shit out of me,” or “I want everything to mean something, or at least for something to mean somethi...

Mar 06 2012 | Read Full Review of Flatscreen: A Novel

The Coffin Factory

“I recognize my own kind,” Kahn tells Eli, but Eli’s biggest fear is ending up as Kahn, debauched and alone, a sharp contrast to his brother, Benjy—a normal, ambitious young man who distances himself from his fuck-up brother, and with good reason.

Mar 05 2012 | Read Full Review of Flatscreen: A Novel

Tottenville Review

A disgruntled divorce has left Eli and his mother living like estranged Craigslist roommates in his childhood home – the only evidence of the family that tried and failed to live there before.

Feb 21 2013 | Read Full Review of Flatscreen: A Novel

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