Going to See the Elephant by Rodes Fishburne

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On a windy September day, twenty-five-year-old Slater Brown stands in the back of a bicycle taxi hurtling the wrong way down the busiest street in San Francisco. Slater has come to “see the elephant,” to stake his claim to fame and become the greatest writer ever. But this city of gleaming water and infinite magic has other plans in this astounding first novel—at once a love story, a feast of literary imagination, and a dazzlingly original tale of passion, ambition, and genius in all their guises...

Slater Brown lays siege to San Francisco like Achilles circling Troy—until he crashes headlong into reality. Out of money and prospects, he applies for a job at a moribund weekly newspaper called the Morning Trumpet—and, as if by fate, is given a very special parting gift from a moonlighting mystic.

Suddenly Slater has an exclusive on every story in the city. With his uncanny knack for finding scoops, he’s bringing the Trumpet back to life, infuriating a corrupt mayor and falling in love with the woman destined to become his muse. But it is the astonishing inventor Milo Magnet—a man obsessed with harnessing the weather—who will force Slater to navigate the most dangerous straits.

For as Milo unleashes his power on San Francisco and the ravishing Callio de Quincy entrances Slater with hers, as storm clouds gather literally overhead, Slater will become at once a pawn, a savior, and the last best hope for a city that needs him—and his knack for the truth—more than ever before.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Rodes Fishburne

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Rodes Fishburne has been published in the New Yorker, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, and Forbes ASAP, where he was the editor of the acclaimed “Big Issue,” an annual magazine of literary essays from leading writers and thinkers. He is a member of the Grotto, a San Francisco writers’ collective. Going to See the Elephant is his first novel.From the Hardcover edition.
Published December 15, 2008 by Delacorte Press. 304 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Going to See the Elephant

Kirkus Reviews

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As Oswell grows increasingly frantic to plug what he feels is a leak in his office, the narrative shifts toward Callio de Quincy, a knockout chess player who has never lost a match (her normal preparation routine consists of “read[ing] comic books, eat[ing] bon bons, and writ[ing] poetry”).

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Publishers Weekly

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Fishburne’s zany and entertaining, if somewhat uneven, first novel tells the story of Slater Brown: Writer Extraordinaire (at least in his own mind), as he whimsically romps through San Francisco.

Nov 10 2008 | Read Full Review of Going to See the Elephant

USA Today

Going to See the Elephant is not a circus novel, although it's delightfully whimsical.

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Bookmarks Magazine

And although Capote was long dead, there was some kind of crazy symmetry about a young writer, who had literally found himself up Shit’s Creek, pressing his head against the tent in order to hear another writer tell his story into the ether. Years later I would write a novel, Going to ...

Jan 04 2009 | Read Full Review of Going to See the Elephant

Chamber Four

Going to See the Elephant would be a pretty good young adult novel, if the main character were ten years younger and there weren’t quite so many instances of the word “motherfucker.” If you’re looking for a quick, harmless read which won’t tax you, you might give this book a shot.

Mar 06 2009 | Read Full Review of Going to See the Elephant

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