An intelligent and inspired debut novel from the National Book Award finalist Ben Lerner. Adam Gordon is a brilliant, if highly unreliable, young American poet on a prestigious fellowship in Madrid, struggling to establish his sense of self and his relationship to art. Instead of following the dictates of his fellowship, Adam's research becomes a meditation on the possibility of the genuine in the arts and beyond. Are his relationships with the people he meets in Spain as fraudulent as he fears his poems are? Is poetry an essential art form, or merely a screen for the reader's projections? A witness to the 2004 Madrid train bombings and their aftermath, does he participate in historic events or merely watch them pass him by?
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