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Necessary Errors: Book summary and reviews of Necessary Errors by Caleb Crain

Necessary Errors

by Caleb Crain

Necessary Errors by Caleb Crain X
Necessary Errors by Caleb Crain
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2013
    480 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

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An exquisite debut novel that brilliantly captures the lives and romances of young expatriates in newly democratic Prague.

It's October 1990. Jacob Putnam is young and full of ideas. He's arrived a year too late to witness Czechoslovakia's revolution, but he still hopes to find its spirit, somehow. He discovers a country at a crossroads between communism and capitalism, and a picturesque city overflowing with a vibrant, searching sense of possibility. As the men and women Jacob meets begin to fall in love with one another, no one turns out to be quite the same as the idea Jacob has of them - including Jacob himself.

Necessary Errors is the long-awaited first novel from literary critic and journalist Caleb Crain. Shimmering and expansive, Crain's prose richly captures the turbulent feelings and discoveries of youth as it stretches toward adulthood - the chance encounters that grow into lasting, unforgettable experiences and the surprises of our first ventures into a foreign world - and the treasure of living in Prague during an era of historic change.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Crain (American Sympathy) continues his ascendant career with this fully realized debut novel, which delights and surprises with every paragraph ... The plot is compelling, but Crain's talent for nuance and dialog, particularly in the gay bar scenes, is an observational wonder." - Library Journal

" In his first published novel, literary critic and journalist Crain creates a compelling and heartfelt story that captures both the boundless enthusiasm and naïveté of youth. In addition, the detailed descriptions of Prague and Czech culture, in general, are sure to please those interested in this fascinating period in Eastern European history." - Booklist

"Not an easy exercise in nostalgia, this novel is a pleasure to navigate with its large, likable cast. Fans of Ben Lerner's Leaving the Atocha Station will find themselves similarly enchanted here." - Library Journal

"Crain's world is drenched with the climate and colors - sometimes drab - of a post-revolutionary world of possibility and promise." - Kirkus

"I've long admired Caleb Crain's writing, and Necessary Errors is a tender, immersive, insightful novel. Its author builds with affection a world large and small - of early-nineties Prague, gay nightlife, the hardships of laundry, the penumbra of post-Soviet capitalism, beer versus tea, intense ex-pat friendships, a hamster who lives in a pot, and the hopeful stages of love." - Chad Harbach, author of The Art of Fielding

"This novel sounds like nothing else happening now in American fiction. It's a tale of erotic awakening that contains - more like encodes - an attempt to read an historical moment, the nineties, when it seemed to many people that history was over. It has shades of Young Werther blowing through it. And shades of Young Törless. But also something other that's quiet and powerful and its own." - John Jeremiah Sullivan, author of Pulphead

"Caleb Crain has written a novel of surpassing intelligence and unexpected beauty about a young American's year in post-Communist Prague - and about how we find, and construct, the story of our lives. His great achievement is to make the unfolding of Jacob Putnam's newfound sexual freedom resonate with the unfolding of Czechs' new historical freedoms, so these separate arcs seem of a piece. His precision of description, whether of architecture or emotional weather, is enviable; his dialogue both playful and profound. It is rare to read a book of this length and feel that every sentence mattered, rarer still to finish a novel of such intellectual depth and be so moved." - Amy Waldman, author of The Submission

The information about Necessary Errors shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Caleb Crain

Caleb Crain is a frequent contributor to the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books,the Nation,the New York Times Magazine,the London Review of Books, n+1, the Paris Review Daily, and the New York Times Book Review. A graduate of Harvard and Columbia, he is the author of the critical work American Sympathy. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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