Monday, July 20, 2009

Praise for Alive In Necropolis

“A daring and big-hearted first novel.... The left brain of this novel, the plotty, structured part, is a fine, familiar branch of California noir. Like Dashiell Hammett, Dorst conveys a hard-bitten love of the physical San Francisco, the fog-swallowed town, the sun after rain.... Mercer is like Marlowe in Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep... or like Jake Gittes of Chinatown... Above this panorama of duty blocked and love rejected sit the ghosts of Colma. The ghosts are a prime pleasure here... [and] the gulf between the perished and the living is another fault line in the state of California, just beneath the surface, and unstable.”
- New York Times Book Review

“Doug Dorst's smart and accessibly unconventional first novel, Alive in Necropolis... is not quite a horror story, nor exactly a mystery, nor just a hard-boiled police procedural, but an adult coming-of-age saga that pulls with energy and imagination from these various genres.... [Dorst] uses a limited third-person narrative shot through with streaks of black humor to vivid, insightful effect.”

- San Francisco Chronicle (Lit Pick)

“This charming first novel maps the landscape and lives of a small town where ghosts and the living are sometimes indistinguishable from one another… Dorst strikes a perfect balance between humor and pathos. His ability to show the magic potential of everyday lives marks him as an author to watch.”

- Publishers Weekly

“Imaginative and accomplished... In the same way Buffy the Vampire Slayer mixed high school and bloodsuckers, Doug Dorst combines cops and ghosts in his Alive in Necropolis. The result is a haunted varation on Ed McBain's 87th Precinct Series.... Pitch-perfect.”

- USA Today

“Mix one part gritty police procedural with one part ghost story, add a splash of teen angst and a hefty dose of black humor, and you have Doug Dorst's brilliant debut novel--a delicious blend of Paul Auster, Kevin Brockmeier, and Joss Whedon. In Colma, California, where the dead outnumber the living, a rookie cop who saves the life of a troubled teenager is either the savior of the city, or a man on the brink of losing his mind. Alive in Necropolis is brimming with fascinating characters (both the living and the dead), none more so than the young cop trying to get a handle on his place in the world. Dorst defies conventional storytelling--at once grim and playful, he weaves the supernatural seamlessly into this "straight" story and the result is effortlessly imaginative, funny, and poignant. Fans of Auster, Jonathan Carroll, and Haruki Murakami will want to make room on their nightstand for their next new favorite.”


“If Colma, California, didn't exist, novelists would have to invent it. But it does exist, and a novelist--Doug Dorst, to be exact--has cannily taken advantage of that.... It's an intriguing mix of coming-of-age story, police procedural, and magical realism.”

- Seattle Times

“When people consume fictions, they experience an urge, so strong that it feels almost reptilian in origin, to categorize the story into a genre, even something as basic as drama. Doug Dorst's debut novel, Alive in Necropolis, toys with this urge and manipulates the reader's expectations to great effect... [H]e hints at tropes that all adults understand unconsciously and tells a story that refuses to embrace any of them. Nobody would describe his or her own life as a comedy, or a tragedy, or a kidnapping drama. Dorst understands this, and Necropolis is so vivid because, like life, it refuses those easy labels.”

- The Stranger
“A memorable and singular achievement. Moving seamlessly between straightforward realism and supernatural fantasy, between the daily life of a policeman and a cemetery full of vivid ghosts, this novel has an amazing sweep—both wisely compassionate and slyly hilarious at the same time. Doug Dorst is a true original.”
- Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply and You Remind Me of Me

"It would be a shame if Doug Dorst is written of as one of the best debut novelists we’ve seen in years. He’s better than that. He’s one of the best novelists we’ve seen in years, writing well beyond the level we’ve learned to expect of ‘first novelists’ or ‘new voices.’ He has the control and daring possessed by only the greats of each generation. He writes with humor and wisdom that is rare, and an empathy for his characters that is warm and complex and unique.”

- Stephen Elliott, author of Happy Baby

“You will never read a more exciting debut novel than Doug Dorst’s funny and fiercely imagined Alive in Necropolis. Here, peace officers patrol a city of cemeteries, and the living and dead walk the same streets and lawns, haunting each other’s worlds. Prophetlike, Dorst can place his hand on the marble of a tomb and conjure the human story within. Alive in Necropolis contains the mystery, grace and glow of the human soul. So open this book, step into its light.”

- Adam Johnson, author of Parasites Like Us and Emporium

“You know Doug Dorst is a real writer when he so convincingly shows you the view of the world through a young cop’s eyes and he gets both the gritty, authentic detail and, more impressive, the whole shrewd-cop philosophy. But that cop is just a kid in a uniform dealing with a world he doesn’t quite understand, figuring out who he wants to be and what it means to be a man. And Dorst absolutely nails it, taking risks that let him get places other writers can’t go, and always delivering with sensitivity and grace.”

-Thom Jones, author of The Pugilist at Rest and Cold Snap

“If Colma didn’t exist, Dorst would have invented it. this is a terrific novel, hilarious and bursting with life—and death. And after you read it, you will feel a lot different about both.”

- Peter Orner, author of Esther Stories and The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo

“In this virtuosic, wildly original, and frequently hilarious first novel, Dorst takes a thousand death-defying risks and succeeds. He creates a shadow world as real as in the one we live in and portrays our real world an acuity of vision that makes us know its beauty and strangeness; he writes with penetrating intelligence about love, loneliness, and death. This is an unforgettable contemporary epic, one that will earn Dorst a place among America’s best young novelists.”

- Julie Orringer, author of How to Breathe Underwater

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