Want Not by Jonathan Miles

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I wanted more information on Matty’s felonious dealings (inspired by discoveries in the trash, naturally) and less about Elwin’s Jeep (rather than junk the vehicle after the roadkill incident, his neighbor gives it a thoroughly detailed makeover).
-NY Times

Synopsis

A New York Times Notable Book

“A wonderful book, and there’s no one I would not urge to read it . . . This is the work of a fluid, confident and profoundly talented writer who gets more fluid, more confident and seemingly more talented even within the book itself.” —Dave Eggers, New York Times Book Review

A highly inventive and corrosively funny story of our times, Want Not exposes three different worlds in various states of disrepair—a young freegan couple living off the grid in New York City; a once-prominent linguist, sacked at midlife by the dissolution of his marriage and his father’s losing battle with Alzheimer’s; and a self-made debt-collecting magnate, whose brute talent for squeezing money out of unlikely places has yielded him a royal existence, trophy wife included.

Want and desire propel these characters forward toward something, anything, more, until their worlds collide, briefly, randomly, yet irrevocably, in a shattering ending that will haunt readers long after the last page is turned.

“Shrewd, funny, and sometimes devastating . . . What Want Not does best, though, isn’t plotting but portraits of humanity: the small epiphanies and private hurts of every person whose life, like the detritus they produce, is as beautifully mundane and unique as a fingerprint.” —Entertainment Weekly

“An impassioned work of fiction.” —Dallas Morning News
 

About Jonathan Miles

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JONATHAN MILES's first novel, Dear American Airlines, was named a New York Times Notable Book and a Best Book of the Year by the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal. A former columnist for the New York Times, he serves as a contributing editor to magazines as diverse as Field & Stream and Details, and writes regularly for the New York Times Book Review and The Literary Review (UK). A former longtime resident of Oxford, Mississippi, he currently lives with his family in rural New Jersey.
 
Published November 5, 2013 by Mariner Books. 402 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Want Not
All: 4 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
on Aug 04 2013

For readers who relish extravagant language, scathing wit and philosophical heft, this book wastes nothing.

Read Full Review of Want Not | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Aug 26 2013

Though an excess of backstory and character detail sometimes slows the book’s pace, mordant humor and a well-constructed plot manage to hold together Miles’s sophomore effort.

Read Full Review of Want Not | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by David Haglund on Dec 23 2013

I wanted more information on Matty’s felonious dealings (inspired by discoveries in the trash, naturally) and less about Elwin’s Jeep (rather than junk the vehicle after the roadkill incident, his neighbor gives it a thoroughly detailed makeover).

Read Full Review of Want Not | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Dave Eggers on Nov 07 2013

This is a novel that could have been buried under the weight of its various themes and archetypes, and reading it could have been a chore. But it’s a joyous book, a very funny book and an unpredictable book, and that’s because everyone in it is allowed to be fully human.

Read Full Review of Want Not | See more reviews from NY Times

Reader Rating for Want Not
77%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 128 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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