Flatscreen tells the story of Eli Schwartz as he endures the loss of his home, the indifference of his parents, the success of his older brother, and the cruel and frequent dismissal of the opposite sex. He is a loser par excellence—pasty, soft, and high—who struggles to become a new person in a world where nothing is new.
Into this scene of apathy rolls Seymour J. Kahn. Former star of the small screen and current paraplegic sex addict, Kahn has purchased Eli’s old family home. The two begin a dangerous friendship, one that distracts from their circumstances but speeds their descent into utter debasement and, inevitably, YouTube stardom.
By story’s end, through unlikely acts of courage and kindness, roles will be reversed, reputations resurrected, and charges (hopefully) dropped. Adam Wilson writes mischief that moves the heart, and Flatscreen marks the wondrous debut of a truth-telling comic voice.
“OMFG, I nearly up and died from laughter when I read Flatscreen. This is the novel that every young turk will be reading on their way to a job they hate and are in fact too smart for.” —Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story
"Bleakly funny and totally outrageous...Adam Wilson has written the slacker novel to end all slacker novels." —Tom Perrotta, author of The Leftovers
"Erudite and hilarious, raunchy and topical, and flat-out fun. Nicholas Baker meets Barthelme with a dash of Nabokov...A magical book." —Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life
“…immensely satisfying … Wilson has created a thoroughly lovable slacker, part hilarious, part poignant.” (New Yorker)
“Comic novelist Adam Wilson makes his swaggering debut in Flatscreen.” (Vanity Fair)
“Eli’s narration in Flatscreen is darkly funny…” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Wilson’s prose is original and arresting … he approaches, in his loftier moments, the tortured grace of George Saunders. This is Cheever on Xanax, or maybe lithium, but the voice is still there; sardonic, hilarious, and very much of our time. Wilson is a writer to watch.” (Daily Beast)
“Five things we emphatically endorse this month … a laugh-out-loud literary debut …” (Details)
“If you smashed The Catcher in the Rye into Jesus’ Son, you might have something quite close to Flatscreen, a narrative of wayward youth for our beguiled new century on the brink of a discovery we might not welcome.” (BookForum)
“A fine debut from Wilson.” (New York Post)
“Wilson gives us something depressingly hilarious and undeniably real....Low-level angst is still angst, and Wilson captures it perfectly.” (Time Out New York)