Liam is a struggling writer and a failing cop. Aldo, his best friend and muse, is a haplessly criminal entrepreneur with an uncanny knack for disaster. As Aldo's luck worsens, Liam is inspired to base his next book on his best friend's exponential misfortunes and hopeless quest to win back his one great love: his ex-wife, Stella. What begins as an attempt to make sense of Aldo's mishaps spirals into a profound story of faith and friendship.
With the same originality and buoyancy that catapulted his first novel, A Fraction of the Whole, onto prize lists around the world--including shortlists for the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book Award--Steve Toltz has created a rousing, hysterically funny but unapologetically dark satire about fate, faith, friendship and the artist's obligation to his muse. Sharp, witty, kinetic and utterly engrossing, Quicksand is a subversive portrait of twenty-first-century society in all its hypocrisy and absurdity.
A Guardian Best Book of the Year
"Quicksand . . . maintains a shrewd balance between style and emotional substance. . . . Scenes segue deftly from the mortifying to the catastrophic, and from the absurd to the serious. And in Aldo, Toltz has created a magnificent character whose unblinking pessimism is best distilled by the novel's epigraph from Kafka: 'Oh, plenty of hope, an infinite amount of hope—but not for us.'" —Financial Times (UK)
"Steve Toltz's first novel, A Fraction of the Whole, was a funny and poignant family saga that was shortlisted for the 2008 Man Booker and the Guardian First Book Award. His second novel, Quicksand, is just as energetic and crackling with a fevered inventiveness." ―The Telegraph (UK)
"Highly original, entertaining and almost impossible to summarize, this is a high-octane, adrenaline-fuelled, frenetic tour de force of sustained brilliance. There is wit, laigh-out-loud humour and linguistic fireworks and dexterity on almost every page." ―Mail on Sunday (UK)
"The funniest novel I've read in the last 12 months. . . . Genuinely moving." ―The Times (UK)
"A relentlessly garrulous tragicomic saga about friendship, failure, creativity and endurance. . . . Brilliant. . . . Toltz's black humour, keen eye for the absurdity of existence and intimate exploration of physical suffering can't help but bring [Beckett] to mind. . . . The entire novel is buzzing with the power of human connection―the jokes, accommodations and shared mythologies of love and friendship. . . . a creative force to be reckoned with." ―The Guardian (UK)
"Toltz is clearly talented, with a vivid satirical intelligence. . . . Many of Toltz's observations will stay with me. . . . Quicksand is a distinctive creation of today's high literary culture. It is a tremendous outpouring." ―The Sunday Times (UK)
"Vivacious, visceral, tortuously tragic and startlingly funny." ―The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
"The energy, the hairpin turns, the narrative crashes, the stomach churning ascents and trashed taboos: what a joy to surrender oneself to a writer of such prodigious talent." ―Peter Carey, twice Man Booker Prize-winner
"Steve Toltz writes with a singular, propulsive energy, with sentences and characters that rise off the page with a force that leaves you almost breathless. There is more heart, and joy and compassion and hard-earned wisdom in Quicksand than seems possible for a single novel; it is life, literature at its fullest." —Dinaw Mengestu
"What would happen if some genius were able to unite the high-wattage storytelling exuberance of Kurt Vonnegut, the combustive glee of Walt Whitman, and the reality-smashing despair of Franz Kafka? Impossibly, Steve Toltz has done just that, turning out a new masterpiece that is at once an old-fashioned page-turner, a tragicomic lament for the digital age, and an aching howl at the intractable existential dilemmas of our poor species. Quicksand is the sort of book that refuses to sleep between its covers on your nightstand; it is its own blazing, intricate, hysterically surreal universe, big and brilliant enough to swallow your own." —Stefan Merrill Block, author of The Story of Forgetting
"Steve Toltz is a verbal magician and lunatic storyteller. Every page of this novel bursts with ideas and humor and pathos and incisive riffs that perfectly express the grand absurdities of the irrational universe, along with the smaller ones of a very particular friendship. Quicksand is the work of a writer in full command of his many outsized gifts, not least of which is his humanity." —Teddy Wayne, Whiting Award-winning author of The Love Song of Jonny Valentine