Last Resort: A Novel (Hardcover)
In his blazing debut novel Last Resort, Andrew Lipstein blurs the lines of fact and fiction with a thrilling story of fame, fortune, and impossible choices.
Caleb Horowitz is twenty-seven, and his wildest dreams are about to come true. His manuscript has caught the attention of the literary agent, who offers him fame, fortune, and a taste of the literary life. He can’t wait for his book to be shopped around to every editor in New York, except one: Avi Dietsch, a college rival and the novel’s “inspiration.” When Avi gets his hands on it, he sees nothing but theft—and opportunity. Caleb is forced to make a Faustian bargain, one that tests his theories of success, ambition, and the limits of art.
Last Resort is the razor-edged account of a young man's headlong journey into authenticity. As Caleb fights to right his mistakes and reclaim his name, he must burn every bridge, confront his own desire, and finally see his work from the perspective of those locked inside.
About the Author
Andrew Lipstein lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, Mette, and son, August. Last Resort is his debut novel.
"If there's nothing new under the sun, can anyone be original without lying? Would truth still be stranger than fiction if people were honest in real life? This fast-paced simulacrum of a commercial novel is not out to please the critics. I finished it in a day." —Nell Zink, author of Doxology
"Throws into sharp relief . . . thorny dilemmas about art, ethics, and what being a writer really means. Lipstein wittily captures all the savagery of the publishing industry, from Goodreads reviews to awkward author photos. But for all the metafictional layers here, at its heart [Last Resort] is a surprisingly traditional, almost Dickensian, story about the vagaries of fate. For anyone who can’t look away from a juicy literary scandal." —Kirkus Reviews
"Last Resort is a witty, propulsive and often mesmerizing novel, a kind of creative-class thriller, full of wry social observation and subtle emotional textures, and it builds beautifully toward a bracing showdown between knowingness and self-knowledge. With its insular milieu and quality lit namechecks, not to mention its quasi-satirical anxiety of auto-fictional influence, Andrew Lipstein plays a risky game, and he plays it superbly, with feeling." —Sam Lipsyte, author of Hark
"A brilliant take on what it means to be an artist in a world of endless compromises. Look out, Faust, there's a new sheriff in town." —Gary Shteyngart, author of Lake Success
"A darkly comical thriller about writers and publishers, emulation and betrayal, written in an excitingly careful, clear, and original prose style." —Tao Lin, author of Leave Society
“Last Resort is a strange and beguiling book about the contrivances, connivances and mysteries of creation, with an especially visceral depiction of male anxiety and an absolutely blistering end. A terrific debut.” — Joshua Ferris, author of A Calling for Charlie Barnes
"Lipstein asks the timely question: does one possess sole title to one’s own story? A sharply written, headlong romp." —Lionel Shriver, author of Should We Stay or Should We Go
"With its seductive, chilled intelligence and frictionless style, Last Resort plunged me summarily into a one-sitting read. I came up for air awed by this sophisticated, high-stakes moral drama." — Hermione Hoby, author of Virtue
“If Less by Andrew Sean Greer left a hole in your life, good news: Last Resort will fill it. Fast and funny, it feels like a backstage pass to the book world.” —Meg Mason, author of Sorrow and Bliss
"Last Resort raises incisive questions about authorship, the tension between art and commerce, and the elusive nature of self-fulfillment, all while unspooling a compelling story with humor and great suspense. I didn't want it to end." —Julia Pierpont, author of Among the Ten Thousand Things
"Last Resort is witty, profound and blisteringly intelligent. Andrew Lipstein asks major questions about ambition and authenticity and artistic ethics, while keeping me frantically turning the pages to see what happens next. A fantastic, fast-paced and deeply funny novel." —Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans
“Authenticity and possession of stories are the surface themes of Last Resort, but it is really about ambition and emptiness, about a callow young man with nothing to say self-destructively looking for shortcuts in literature and life. But the great irony is that Andrew Lipstein's impeccably written debut has quite a lot to say, and, as with the best comic novels, his semi-hero's misadventures have an undertow of real sadness.” —Teddy Wayne, author of Loner
"A delightfully nightmarish satirical chronicle of one young author’s reckoning with the consequences of his own blind ambition. Caleb’s journey had me cringing with pure pleasure.” —Antoine Wilson, author of Panorama City
"A propulsive tale of American literary ambition, this novel exposes the status-hunger that motivates plenty of writing—far more than writers like to admit. A keenly observed and sharp-witted debut that’s assured from first page to last." —Tom Rachman, author of The Italian Teacher