Author(s): Adam Thirlwell
Exploding with unfolding pages and multiple directions, Kapow! is a new book by British writer Adam Thirlwell. Set in the thick of the Arab Spring, it is guided by the high-speed monologue of an unnamed narrator - over-doped, over-caffeinated, overweight - trying to make sense of this history in real time. A clever, funny, and bitingly critical cultural commentary, it uses spinning digressions to tell the stories of a group of interconnected characters in London and Egypt, each transformed by the idea of revolution. Kapow! asks readers to open and unfold pages, to follow text leaking in and out of paragraphs, while progressively becoming part of and lost within the narrator's giddy digressions. A beautifully crafted object told in Thirlwell's uniquely acrobatic voice, this is a visually immersive storytelling experience like no other.
"Thirlwell weaves a spinning cultural commentary of interconnectedness, while Kerr renders increasingly erratic passages with acrobatic typography. The result is a structured chaos of stories within stories, impossible to put down."--Alexis Moshakis, "The New York Times"
"An intoxicating and dead-smart spin."--"Dazed and Confused"
"At the start, Kapow! looks and reads like a typical novel. It follows an overweight, neurotic British narrator reading about the Arab Spring in London, 'trying to make sense of this history in real time, ' piecing together information from a cab driver friend, the news, and his imagination. But keep reading, and you'll find the main narrative leaps around--quite literally--as other story lines crash loudly onto the page. Oddly formatted pieces of text appear in the body, following characters in Egypt. Some paragraphs flip upside down, while others melt into shapes that cut straight through the main structure. Fold-out accordion pages let text fall across 12 inches of paper....It's a clever way of reframing the fractious contemporary news cycle....Though the book draws on a rich history of visual writing....it may be the first novel to mimic how we read in the digital age."--"FastCompany"
"Could this be the craziest novel you'll ever read in print?"--Mashable
"A playful novel of typographic tricks."--"The Independent"
"Take that linear narratives!"--"Creative Review"
Adam Thirlwell is the author of two novels, Politics and The Escape, and a book on the international art of the novel. He is the guest editor of an issue of McSweeney's magazine, to come out in Winter 2012. He lives in London.