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Ben Lerner Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Leaving the Atocha Station (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
10:04 (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Topeka School (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

The Lichtenberg Figures (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Angle of Yaw (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mean Free Path (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
No Art (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Hatred of Poetry (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Ben Lerner
Ben Lerner was born in the year 1979 in Topeka, Kansas to his therapist parents. He writes both poetry and novels.

He grew up in Topeka, Kansas, a place that figures prominently in all of his books of poetry, and he is a 1997 graduate of Topeka High School. While he attended high school, he was a standout in forensics and debate and won the 1997 National Forensic League National Tournament in International Extemporaneous Speaking.

While he was at Brown University, he studied with C.D. Wright, a poet, and got an MFA in poetry and a B.A. in political theory.

Ben didn’t set out to become a fiction writer and never thought he would write novels. his poems are quite different. When he began writing novels, in some important yet tangential ways, all of the fiction became about parents.

While he was writing the concussion stuff in one of his novels, he found it tough for him to write. He has actually had two concussions, but the one he describes in the novel is the worst one. It wasn’t all that tough for him to write since he was remembering the pain in the first person, rather it was tough since he was imagining it happening to one of his daughters.

Ben feels that “Leaving the Atocha Station”, “10:04”, and “The Topeka School” form a trilogy, although he doesn’t think that is the only way to read it. He feels that the Adam Gordon that appears in “Leaving the Atocha Station” gives more context as to what his relationship with both of his parents is. Particularly how he talks about her at different times and how he will lie about them.

He wanted to see how the focus would be different in the other books, too. He didn’t want to just write a novel that was about Adam Gordon as a dad in Brooklyn, with the entire thing set in Brooklyn. He wanted to do an entire thing that seemed hard and close to dangerous, which was to ponder his childhood, but from his parents’ perspective, something he was only able to do once he himself became a parent.

Ben finds that the nineties are always present in his mind since so much of his mind became formed during that time, during his teen-age years. In the time just before Columbine, the advent of the Clinton dynasty, and the ‘end of history’ discourse.

Ben is married to Arian Mangual, a professor, with whom he has two daughters with.

Ben’s debut novel, called “Leaving the Atocha Station”, was released in the year 2011. His work is from the literary genre.

Ben has been a finalist for the Northern California Book Award, the recipient of a 2010-2011 Howard Foundation Fellowship. the National Book Award, and a Fulbright Scholar in Spain. “10:04” was nominated for Best Book by Rathbone Folio Prize. He became the first American to win the Preis der Stadt Munster fur Internationale Poesie.

“Leaving the Atocha Station” is the first novel and was released in the year 2011. Adam Gordon is intelligent, if very unreliable, young American poet on a prestigious fellowship in Madrid, who struggles to establish his relationship to art and his sense of self.

What is actual when our experiences become mediated by language, medication, technology, and the arts? Is poetry an essential art form, or just a screen for the reader’s projections?

Instead of just following the dictates of his fellowship, Adam’s ‘research’ turns into a meditation on the possibility of the genuine in both the arts and beyond. Are the relationships he has with people he meets in Spain just as fraudulent as he fears his poems to be? He is a witness to the 2004 Madrid train bombings as well as their aftermath, does he participate in certain historic events or just watch them pass him by?

The novel explores emotional and intellectual terrain that is related to sensitive experience of what is contrived and what is real. All of which is propelled by a continued sense of non-fictional narrative reality that is accentuated by the narrator/author autobiographical overlap. This has some elegant and fluid writing and there are nice moments to be found in the book.

“10:04” is the second novel and was released in the year 2014. Over the last year, “10:04”’s narrator has enjoyed some unlikely literary success, has been asked by his best friend to help her conceive her kid, and been diagnosed with a possibly fatal medical condition.

In a New York of growing frequent superstorms and social unrest, and he has to reckon with his very mortality and the possibilit of becoming a father in a city that could be soon underwater.

Readers found the novel to be thought-provoking and even invigorating at times. Parts of the book are crazy, some goofy, and there are some funny parts. The author is able to map out the science, history, objects, emotions, habits, and the vibes that make up the complexity of each felt moment. The novel is also a beautiful meditation on language.

“The Topeka School” is the third novel and was released in the year 2019. Adam Gordon is one of the seniors graduating from Topeka High School, class of 1997. Jane, his mom, is a famous feminist author, while his dad, Jonathan is an expert at getting different ‘lost boys’ to open up. Both of them work at the Foundation, a well-known psychiatric clinic that has attracted patients and staff from all over the world.

Adam is a renowned orator and debater, who expects to win a national championship before he heads off to college. He is also an aspiring poet. Adam is one of the cool kids, although it requires a ton of weight lifting, posturing, and creatine supplements. He passes himself off as a ‘real man’ ready to fight or, even better, freestyle about fighting if he can keep his peers from thinking he is weak. Adam is one of the seniors who brings Darren Eberheart, a loner and (unbeknownst to Adam) a patient of his dad’s, into the social scene, with some rather disastrous effect.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Ben Lerner

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