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Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe? Summary and Reviews

Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe?

by Brock Clarke

Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe? by Brock Clarke X
Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe? by Brock Clarke
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  • Published Aug 2019
    304 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

With the comic unpredictability of a Wes Anderson movie and the inventive sharpness of a John Irving novel, author Brock Clarke introduces readers to an ordinary man who is about to embark on an absurdly extraordinary adventure.

After his mother, a theologian and bestselling author, dies in a fiery explosion, forty-nine-year-old Calvin Bledsoe's heretofore uninspired life is upended. A stranger shows up at the funeral, claiming to be Calvin's aunt Beatrice, and insists that Calvin accompany her on a trip to Europe, immediately.

As he and Beatrice traverse the continent, it quickly becomes apparent that his aunt's clandestine behavior is leading him into danger. Facing a comic menagerie of antiquities thieves, secret agents, religious fanatics, and an ex-wife who's stalking him, Calvin begins to suspect there might be some meaning behind the madness. Maybe he's not the person he thought he was? Perhaps no one is who they appear to be? But there's little time for soul-searching, as Calvin first has to figure out why he has been kidnapped, why his aunt disappeared, and who the hell burned down his house.

Powered by pitch-perfect dialogue, lovable characters, and surprising optimism, Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe? is a modern-day Travels with My Aunt, a novel about grabbing life, and holding on--wherever it may take you.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"At times the freewheeling plot veers into confusing territory, and the weird nicknames and freakishly horrible events that plague the title character go overboard. Still, Clarke keeps it all grounded with standout prose. Fans of Graham Greene's Travels with My Aunt and John Irving's The World According to Garp will delight in this story of a modern-day traveler." - Publishers Weekly

"[Clarke] sustains a tightrope balance between the matter-of-fact observations of the titular protagonist and the increasingly outlandish adventures he finds himself in...Unquestionably the funniest novel ever written about Calvinism." - Kirkus Reviews

"This is a book of many trips—across oceans, back to the past, and, most profoundly, into the infinite deep space of the human heart. Brock Clarke has given us a wonderful novel that bursts with all the meaty stuff of real life." - Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

"This is a quirky comic gem of a novel about midlife ennui, about the mysteries of family, and the virtues of wood pellet stoves. Brock Clarke is a one-of-a-kind novelist with a captivating voice and an ability to capture both the profundity and the absurdity of our lives." - Tom Perrotta, author of Mrs. Fletcher

"A delightful, quasi-liturgical allegory of our times. Following Calvin Bledsoe from Maine through Europe in a tale both fantastical and thoughtful, Clarke takes his readers into his safe—and wacky—hands for an experience that should not be missed. A wonderful read." - Elizabeth Strout, author of Anything Is Possible

This information about Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe? was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Brock Clarke Author Biography

Photo: Jon Hughes/Photopresse

Brock Clarke is the author of seven books of fiction, most recently a collection of short stories, The Price of the Haircut. His novels include The Happiest People in the World, Exley (which was a Kirkus Book of the Year, a finalist for the Maine Book Award, and a longlist finalist for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award), and An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England (which was a national bestseller, and American Library Associate Notable Book of the Year, a #1 Book Sense Pick, a Borders Original Voices in Fiction selection, and a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice pick). His books have been reprinted in a dozen international editions, and have been awarded the Mary McCarthy Prize for Fiction, the Prairie Schooner Book Series Prize, a National Endowment for Arts ...

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