Lightning People by Christopher Bollen
A Novel

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Synopsis

Joseph Guiteau is a working actor who moved to New York to escape a tragic family history in the Midwest. Wandering through a city transformed by the attacks of September 2001, he frequents gatherings of conspiracy groups, trying to make sense of world events and his own personal history. Looming over his life is a secret that threatens to undermine his new marriage to Del, a snake expert at a city park, whose work visa is the only thread keeping her from deportation back to her native Greece.

The new marriage influences the lives of those around them: William, a dark and troubled actor whose sanity is fading as quickly as his career, leading him to perform increasingly desperate acts; Madi, a young entrepreneur who will have to face the moral complications of a business made successful by the outsourcing of American jobs to India; and her brother Raj, Del’s former lover, a promising photographer whose work details the empty rooms of an increasingly alienated city.

Christopher Bollen’s first novel captures the atmosphere of anxiety and loss that exists in Manhattan. It is a story of the city itself, and the interconnected lives of those attempting to navigate both Manhattan and their own mortality.
 

About Christopher Bollen

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Christopher Bollen was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and graduated from Columbia University with a degree in English and American Literature. He is a writer, editor, and critic, and has contributed to a number of magazines and newspapers. He is currently editor-at-large for Interview magazine and lives in New York City.
 
Published September 1, 2011 by Soft Skull Press. 418 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Lightning People

Kirkus Reviews

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Joseph Giteau graduated high school in Cincinnati, immediately left his reclusive, conspiracy-obsessed mother and moved to New York.

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Publishers Weekly

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As Joseph and Del are driven inexorably apart, their friends William, a failed actor, and Madi, a ruthless corporate profiteer, are propelled together by a series of mysterious coincidences, resulting in a shocking catastrophe that will change each of their lives.

Aug 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Lightning People: A Novel

The Wall Street Journal

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Sam Sacks reviews "Lightning People," a novel by Christopher Bollen, and "You
Deserve Nothing" by Alexander Maksik.

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The Wall Street Journal

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Will urges his students to find the bravery to "travel the distance between desire and action," but though intellectual desire is excitingly present in "You Deserve Nothing," the real-world action is marked by a dour indifference.

Sep 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Lightning People: A Novel

The New Yorker

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Oct 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Lightning People: A Novel

Full Stop

I don’t mean surprise like a sudden shocking plot twist – Bollen proves he can incorporate those to the benefit of the narrative – but small character surprises, small moments that feel honest, lines that give you a burst of insight.

Sep 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Lightning People: A Novel

Lambda Literary

Joseph nearly ruins his marriage over his Big Secret, which, when revealed to his wife, makes her exclaim, “Anything but this bullshit.” The Big Secret, which drives Joseph to attend meetings of conspiracy theory enthusiasts and into the arms of a suspicious woman, is—ready for it?—the fear that ...

Dec 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Lightning People: A Novel

Reader Rating for Lightning People
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