The Listeners by Leni Zumas

The Listeners, Leni Zumas’s new novel, has just been published by Tin House Books. The book is available at a discount through Powell’s. An interview with Leni is at Powell’s website. Publisher’s Weekly review. A review of the book is at Full Stop.

Her reading tour:

May 16 – Powell’s Books, Portland, OR
May 21 – Annie Bloom’s, Portland, OR
May 24 – Book Soup, Los Angeles, CA
June 4 – Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA
June 19 – Word Books, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY
June 23 – Politics & Prose, Washington, DC
June 24 – Juniper Summer Writing Institute, Amherst, MA

Zumas’ debut novel reads a bit like Faulkner. Fractured imagery, shifts in time and place, and a motley crew of characters—Fod, Quinn, Geck, and Cam, to name a few—lead the reader through a patchwork map of the marred childhood and failed adulthood of Quinn, a thirtysomething washed-up musician with a drinking problem. A former anorexic and adolescent “cutter,” Quinn is smart, witty, and filled with obsession and anxiety over the events of her sister’s death and its aftermath. Zumas plays with narrative conventions here, peppering the text with short chapters that are at times ethereal and disjointed but often tinged with humor. Readers looking for gritty experimental fiction in the manner of the late Gilbert Sorrentino will find The Listeners whetting their appetites for more from this promising new author.     —Booklist

Here’s Luca Dipierro’s animated short film for the book:


One thought on “The Listeners by Leni Zumas

  1. Greg, thanks for posting this.

    The review at Full Stop (not the smartest) made me think that readers can be divided in two categories:
    1) readers that want books to tell stories in the clearest possible way
    2) readers that want to be challenged

    The Listeners is not a novel for lazy readers.
    In Leni’s own words (from a interview/profile in the current issue of Flaunt): “A reader may want a story to move forward chronologically, or a character to have a clear motivation, or a sentence to obey normative syntax and grammar, but these desires will not be met.”

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