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Lake City

A Novel

List Price: $16.95

ON SALE: January 8, 2019 | Paperback | 5.5 x 8.25, 320 pages | ISBN 9781640091429
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Lake City is a darkly funny and extremely relevant debut novel about American inequality and moral authority, featuring a sad-sack antihero who takes way too long to grow up. When he finally does, the results are beautiful, and the book ultimately becomes an elegy for a now-gone Seattle, and a lesson in how the place we’re from never fully lets us go.” —Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See

The setting is Seattle’s Lake City neighborhood during the 2001 holiday season. In the wake of the 9/11 tragedy and at the peak of Seattle’s first wave of tech-boom gentrification—a wave that never quite made it to his neighborhood—Lane Beuche schemes how to win back his wife (and her trust fund). In his childhood bedroom in his mother’s decrepit old house, the idealistic but self-serving striver Lane licks his wounds and hatches a plot.

He discovers a precarious path forward when he is contracted by a wealthy adoptive couple to seduce and sabotage a troubled birth mother from his neighborhood. Lane soon finds himself in a zero-sum game between the families as he straddles two cultures, classes, and worlds. Until finally, with the well-being of the toddler at stake, Lane must choose between wanting to do the right thing (if he could only figure out what that is) and reclaiming the life of privilege he so recently had and, he feels, so richly deserves.

“Amusing as snarky social commentary on the world of Seattle have-nots.” —Kirkus Reviews

THOMAS KOHNSTAMM was an experienced travel writer when Broadway Books released his travel memoir Do Travel Writers Go to Hell? Kohnstamm was a 2017 fellow at the Sundance New Voices Lab and currently maintains a studio where he writes feature articles and produces video for clients like Xbox and Minecraft. Lake City is his first novel. He lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.

Praise

Praise for Lake City

“All at once hip, intrepid, and philosophical . . . Kohnstamm’s fresh voice has a millennial groove, the story is engaging and gritty, and there’s an impressive scrutiny of personal and societal ethics.” —Publishers Weekly

“Amusing as snarky social commentary on the world of Seattle have-nots.” —Kirkus Reviews

Lake City is a darkly funny and extremely relevant debut novel about American inequality and moral authority, featuring a sad-sack antihero who takes way too long to grow up. When he finally does, the results are beautiful, and the book ultimately becomes an elegy for a now-gone Seattle, and a lesson in how the place we’re from never fully lets us go.” —Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See

“Kohnstamm delivers a blistering, clear-eyed, and surefooted debut novel about the perils and pitfalls of misdirected ambition. More than that, Lake City is a hilarious and sneakily incisive examination of the cultural tensions, and widening class divides that simmer on the fringes of an increasingly homogenized Seattle—or San Francisco, or Brooklyn, or Los Angeles, or any other American city in the throes of affluenza and gentrification.” —Jonathan Evison, author of Lawn Boy

“Kohnstamm has written a novel of Pale Male Fail above and below the poverty line, a Dickensian tale of a fledgling philosopher who’s taken flight from trailer parks to Gramercy Park and then . . . had his wings clipped. This is the American Dream cut thin on a grocery store meat slicer, laced with oxy, stolen booze, and an unfinished dissertation. It’s a rotgut to Dom Pérignon rainbow, which is to say: Lake City is a crucial black comedy about the myths of money and happiness, and whether nature, nurture, or AmEx rears a better man.” —Maria Dahvana Headley, New York Times–bestselling author of The Mere Wife

“There are so many reasons to admire Thomas Kohnstamm’s astonishing debut novel: his astute and cutting depiction of urban gentrification, his pitch-perfect evocation of a young man’s endless ricochet between self-aggrandizement and self-hatred, his vision of Seattle’s grungy underside that is so richly related one can almost smell the cedar and cannabis wafting off the pages. And yet, it is Kohnstamm’s innate storytelling verve—his taut, noirish knack for plotting and his ability to make the reader laugh, cringe, worry, and feel for his characters all at once— that makes Lake City truly unputdownable.” —Stefan Merrill Block, author of Oliver Loving: A Novel

“Kohnstamm knowingly illuminates the underbelly of Seattle—a place of beater cars, strip clubs, and a subpar hypermarket—far from the hipsters and gentrifiers. Hilarious as it is cutting, Lake City offers an all-too-insightful critique of clashing classes and misguided ideas of success.” —Shari Goldhagen, author of In Some Other World, Maybe

“How many things can go wrong when you try to straddle the line between two economically defined classes in the lovely city of Seattle, Washington, just after the tragic events of 9/11? Lane just wants his wife back (along with her money, of course) but getting into her good graces won’t be easy. When he’s drawn into a scheme to trick a young birth mother in his neighborhood, he thinks it will be a quick step back to the life he’s after. But things often don’t go the way we expect. Eventually, he’s forced to admit that something has to give, and he can’t ignore the needs of the small child that has been caught in this web of intrigue. This is a beautifully crafted debut novel from a man whose writing Jonathan Evison calls ‘clear-eyed’ and ‘blistering.’ I couldn’t agree more.” —Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore (Spokane, WA)

Praise for Thomas Kohnstamm

“A comic rogue who seems to have modeled his life and prose on Hunter S. Thompson’s.” —The New York Times

“Kohnstamm is one to watch.” —Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?

“A comic rogue who seems to have modeled his life and prose on Hunter S. Thompson’s . . . I could not get enough of the most depraved travel book of the year.” —The New York Times

“Hilarious.” —The New York Times Book Review

“The shot heard ’round the travel world…” —The Washington Post

“It’s Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, but with tourism… [Lonely Planet CEO] Ms. Slatyer made Mr. Kohnstamm’s book sound dangerous.” —The New York Observer

“Kohnstamm is nobody’s model travel journalist, except maybe Hunter Thompson’s… [he’s the] sudden enfant terrible of his field… Do Travel Writers Go To Hell? is the best-written, funniest book of travel literature since Phaic Tan.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer

“[Kohnstamm]’s the first to blow the whistle on the travel industry’s dirty little secret.” —T Magazine, The Moment blog, The New York Times

“Thomas Kohnstamm’s raw portrayal of life as a young, broke travel writer in South America… A must-read for any backpacker—future, past, or present.” —Outside

“The colorful adventures of a budding travel writer in Brazil… a wonderfully picaresque journey through the vibrant Brazilian landscape . . . Readers will relish the countless stories of the author’s misadventures, but Kohnstamm brings more than just anecdotes: He offers a solid understanding of the mechanics of the travel-writing industry and a unique ability to illuminate that world to readers. Notable for its spirited prose and insightful exploration of the less-romantic side of travel writing. Kohnstamm is one to watch.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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