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3.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  694 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
Flatscreen tells the story of Eli Schwartz as he endures the loss of his home, the indifference of his parents, the success of his older brother, and the cruel and frequent dismissal of the opposite sex. He is a loser par excellence—pasty, soft, and high—who struggles to become a new person in a world where nothing is new.

Into this scene of apathy rolls Seymour J. Kahn. Fo
Paperback, 336 pages
Published February 21st 2012 by Harper Perennial (first published 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,865)
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Carrie Ardoin
Eli Schwartz doesn't have much going for him. He's a couple years out of high school but doesn't attend college. In fact, he doesn't do much of anything. He lives in his mom's basement, caught in a numbing cycle of drugs, internet surfing, and loneliness. The only things he has going for him are his love of cooking and his hyperactive imagination, which he combines with his immense knowledge of movies and TV to create scenes in his head featuring the people in his world.

So needless to say, he is
May 17, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it
If an episode of "Community" and one of those Hold Steady songs about college townies had a novelized lovechild, it would probably end up looking something like Flatscreen. It's aggressively self-aware, and replete with pop culture references, alternate universe endings, and bizarre characters. It's also incredibly dirty and druggy.

To date, I had only read glowing reviews, which I think overhyped the novel a bit. Flatscreen has its moments of humor, but it's never laugh-out-loud funny. The secon
May 24, 2012 Kate rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Guy's my brother's age who are just trying to figure things out
This was a decent read.

I really liked the unique descriptions Adam Wilson uses throughout the book, as well as, the bullet point lists. What I didn't like was the blurb on the front cover toting how 'hilarious' this book was because I'm not sure it's meant to be a comedy, per say. A comedy of errors maybe, because Adam Wilson uses humor to cover up Eli Schwartz's insecurities, makes uncomfortable situations more bearable, and hides all the character's inner sadnesses. These are all great ways t
May 20, 2013 giuliadellestelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fermoimmagine
All Alone is All We Are

- accompagnamento musicale obbligatorio:

- accompagnamento musicale opzionale:

Già leggendo poche recensioni si intuisce una facile verità:
il protagonista, l'ingombrante Eli Schwartz,è un loser della peggior specie, un pappamolle maleodorante e verbalmente ripugnante, rob
Jack Cheng
A little disappointed at the guys who blurbed this book. I didn't nearly die from laughter, like Gary Shteyngart, nor did I find this bleakly funny like Tom Perotta (Yes, I'm calling out blurbers!)

This is the story of Eli, a slacker who didn't go to college and takes a lot of drugs, masturbates, and is told he is "funny" so he manages to get laid every once in a while. (A 3 year drought suddenly erupts into casual encounters with a former classmate, the mother of a former classmate, and even sor
Jennifer Rayment
Feb 27, 2012 Jennifer Rayment rated it liked it
The Good Stuff

Totally bizarre and unique
Some of the dialogue (and inner dialogue) is LMAO funny
Good writing
Excellent character development
All of the characters feel very realistic like people you would see on the street
Dark and quirky - sort of reminds me of something that Apatow would make into a movie

The Not So Good Stuff

Eli is a loser and I just found myself disliking him and feeling uncomfortable because he was so pathetic
Language is over the top base and vulgar at times & I am n
Jonas Blank
Jan 06, 2014 Jonas Blank rated it it was amazing
Visceral, to-the-gut writing and hard-edged, dark humor made Flatscreen a winner for me. It takes us deep into Eli's psychology and gives a bleak take on post-Millennial life.

Eli's a jerk, but so what? His observations are humorous, personal and inventively rendered. I don't think the material is any more "vulgar" than John Updike, Hunter S. Thompson or any other successful writers of their respective ilk. It depicts life without a pleasant false veneer, without manners or varnish. In that sense
David Dinaburg
Aug 30, 2012 David Dinaburg rated it liked it
I liked the book but found it personally distasteful. I don't like sex in my media; it makes me uncomfortable. I do not to critique others for my bizarre, puritanical bent. Sex is normal and fine and good, but I don't like hearing about it, reading about it, seeing it. Don't make out on subway cars. I'll like a romance well enough, but as soon as physical intimacy is described, I don't see what benefits are to be gained by adding explicit details. Offscreen implications of raucous behavior, sure ...more
Mar 16, 2012 Meryl rated it liked it
FLATSCREEN was a fun fast read, if you have a depressing idea of fun. The prose was moving and poetic. Wilson painted an interesting depiction of the inner lives of the dysfunctional people who reside in an upper-middle class predominantly Jewish suburb.

Twenty year-old Eli Strauss’s conflict begins when his mother sells his childhood home where he has been purposelessly toiling away since his high school graduation, to Seymour Kahn, a disabled drug addicted former actor/porn star. Being uproote
Gino Alfonso
Jan 29, 2015 Gino Alfonso rated it it was amazing
Amazing novel if Woody Allen, John Hughes and David O. Russell had an illigimate child it would be Adam Wilson and his characters. Superbly funny and poignant had me laughing on every page and thinking about some of my own choices in life. Can't wait for a movie, but it would have to be done by the right filmmakers. Thanks for the nostalgia Adam!
Katie Myers
Jan 28, 2014 Katie Myers rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. All the things I want from a book, but am scared of for my life.
Mar 14, 2012 Melissa rated it really liked it
The reader is alive. I read Adam Wilson's FLATSCREEN. It was very funny and wet. Wilson is a writer who is not afraid to be wet and by wet I mean full of heart. What an imagination he has! It's hi-def Portnoy 8.0 -- bulleted, netflixed, skiied, domed and quarterlife-crisised. I dreamt one of the characters from FLATSCREEN was Kathy Bates in Misery, but a male Kathy Bates with tentacles. This book is a pleasure. So curious to see what Wilson writes next.
Sep 26, 2012 Amber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wilson's voice is Bukowski-esque, but there is far more substance, plot development, and character depth in this novel than anything I've read by Bukowksi. Adam Wilson has a real gem here. I loved this book. Eli is a dead-beat, lazy pothead, but readers can't help but to care about him. I'd recommend this book to the younger crowd, and I'll definitely be nagging my friends to read it.
Feb 27, 2012 Georgette rated it it was ok
You know, the first 45 pages of this were hysterical. However, as it went along, it got more and more disarming, and just sad. It turned out to be a sad little book. I guess it's supposed to be darkly comic, but I just found the dark. It's probably something I can go back months from now and read, but in the meantime, I have to say I'm not digging it at this moment.
Josh Drimmer
Apr 04, 2012 Josh Drimmer rated it it was ok
I don't know where the initial recommendation came from, but this was the rare book I got through 7 pages of, said to myself, "I'm really not enjoying these jokes, and they're just gonna keep coming," and had to put down and send back. Overly jokey books can get on my wrong side quickly- I really liked, but sometimes was worn down by "The Ask," for example.
Jun 06, 2015 Lori rated it it was ok
I made it through two-thirds of this book; don't ask me how or why. Unrelenting misery, lazy writing, and uninteresting characters would be the leading features of this book. General human sloth and degradation that just seems to go on an on. (Now even I'm trying to pass off sentence fragments as complete thoughts; thanks for that, Adam Wilson!)
I guess I'm giving this one two stars because, underneath the muck and gunk, I think Wilson does have something to say. Damned if I know what it is, t
Caanan Grall
May 03, 2014 Caanan Grall rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
I prefer proactive protagonists, and the main character here was just far too sadsack. It also took a little while to get in to the rhythm of the writing. I found myself re-reading sentences again and again to try and follow what I was reading. Once I started performing it in my mind like I was at an open mic night reading it out like some kind of beat poem, it clicked a little better. Probably even helped me stay awake and pay attention to the book, since I wasn't reading it any more, but rathe ...more
Feb 14, 2014 miroir rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Non male,consigliato
Tim Pierce
Oct 15, 2014 Tim Pierce rated it liked it
I think it's very telling that the author of this book, in his acknowledgements, first thanked his classmates and teachers in his MFA program, because that's how this book reads - as some sort of final project for a modern lit master's thesis. It has all of the elements (or should I say, cliches?) of the typical modern alt-lit work; the one-page chapter, the bullet-list chapters of life observations, the slacker-chic nihilistic outlook, etc. etc. etc.

And that's the problem with this book - ever
Kim Herrington
Aug 03, 2012 Kim Herrington rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-for-ya
Eli Schwartz is a fat, lazy pothead, slacker, who loves to cook fancy dinners like he sees on Food Network shows. He lives with his mom but doesn't work or go to college and so has been financially cut off by his dad. Instead of following his older brother's example and going off to college with his friends, he has stayed home and done nothing really. Then he befriends the drug-addicted, paraplegic former child star who buys his family home. The friendship leads to increased drug use, more chanc ...more
Mar 10, 2012 Drew rated it it was amazing
Funny, smart, and sad all at the same time. It's a book about suburbia and what it'd actually mean to stay here and live an unexamined life. Drugs, sex, music, and mostly a whole lot of boredom - that's Eli's life. Even after he lands a surrogate father figure, he can't quite rouse himself out of this stupor... because it just doesn't really seem worth it. It's a "slacker novel to end all slacker novels" because he isn't disaffected or rebelling - he just doesn't really care. There's nothing beh ...more
Feb 28, 2012 Charity rated it really liked it
What do you do when you’re in the basement of life both literally and metaphorically? “Flatscreen” an uproarious novel from Adam Wilson considers this through the life and times of Eli. Told with no holds barred honesty by Eli the reader laughs and cringes as Eli slinks through life, still struggling to cope with his family being torn apart as a young kid (his family has done all it can to sweep it under the rug and not really deal with the issue), he’s become trapped in a slacker drug addicted ...more
Jun 27, 2013 Thais rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Questo libro non ha niente che non vada. Un bel protagonista, ben tratteggiato, sfigato, eterno adolescente, drogato e riflessivo come piace a me. Eli è solo, disperato, fa una cazzata dopo l'altra e la sua vita fa schifo, ma va avanti lo stesso, più per inerzia che altro. In realtà non è idiota come tutti credono, anzi, è molto sensibile, ama il cinema e la buona cucina, vorrebbe una famiglia e tanto affetto, vorrebbe smettere di impasticcarsi e cominciare a vivere, costruire relazioni vere con ...more
Mar 27, 2013 Mikesloan8 rated it really liked it
This book is way more vulgar than I expected. There's plenty of sexual imagery and humor. What kept me reading was the interesting way Wilson broke up the narrative with very brief chapters about his family members, himself, and his psychology. Additionally, references to Seinfeld, The Big Lebowski, and other visual forms of entertainment intrigued me and helped me to connect more with the narrator.

You have this twenty-something schlub living near Boston, who talks about an area in which I grew
Daniel Kukwa
Feb 06, 2016 Daniel Kukwa rated it liked it
Shelves: general-lit
I was unsure of this novel during its first half: a sense of humour that was usually a bit too crude for my taste, and a plot about a loser that felt a bit same old/same old. Then Thanksgiving dinner arrived, and becomes the point where the novel steps up a considerable gear into presenting some genuine, bleak, farcical comedy, and some gentle, poignant wistfulness. I only wish it had been this way from page one, but I was left satisfied by the conclusion.
Paolo Aceves
Oct 27, 2015 Paolo Aceves rated it liked it
Shelves: humor, fiction, comedy
Eli Schwartz has been for most of his life a true slacker; from a broken home, living with his mom under the umbrella that is his rich father. Always being taken care of, at least financially, submerging himself in TV, movies and drugs he is the epitome of this generation's child-adults. Things change for him when his mother decides to sell the house he grew up in to a former actor and his dad cuts him off due to his drug use. Eli begins a journey to grow up, but not before hitting bottom. Fille ...more
Mar 28, 2012 Joyce marked it as to-read
Flatscreen tells the story of Eli Schwartz as he endures the loss of his home, the indifference of his parents, the success of his older brother, and the cruel and frequent dismissal of the opposite sex. He is a loser par excellence?pasty, soft, and high?who struggles to become a new person in a world where nothing is new. Into this scene of apathy rolls Seymour J. Kahn. Former star of the small screen and current paraplegic sex addict, Kahn has purchased Eli?s old family home. The two begin a d ...more
Feb 28, 2012 Matt rated it really liked it
It's hard to be truly objective about Wilson's debut novel since I knew the author growing up and the fictional Boston suburb the story is set in is not very hard to recognize as inspired by the real one we grew up in. He definitely nails the atmosphere of our era of suburban young adulthood. That said, I think the book stands well on its own merits. Wilson has a deft control of language and it shines through with humor on most pages. I might not recommend the book to my mother because of the ra ...more
Jun 07, 2012 Shannon rated it really liked it
Flatscreen has its moments, the protagonist Eli is self-deprecating and helpless in a way that is mostly endearing, and there were some humorous moments and scenarios. He's come to a complete standstill after finishing high school, and seems ill-prepared and unmotivated to accomplish anything beyond watching marathon stretches of TV and cooking elaborate meals for himself in his mother's house. You kinda feel for the guy, but you also kind of want to give him a good shake and tell him to stop we ...more
May 16, 2012 Nat4381 rated it it was ok
Premise: Eli Schwartz is the child of disinterested divorced parents. He graduated high school (barely) and has since spent his time is a drug induced haze. Then paraplegic actor Seymour Kahn buys the house Eli and his mother have been living in. The story of the friendship between Eli and Kahn and how it affects those around them.

What it reminds me of: Coupland's Jpod and Microserfs because those characters went through similar existential challenges. Jpod more because the protagonist had dysfu
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Adam Wilson is the author of the novel Flatscreen, a National Jewish Book Award finalist, and the collection of short stories What's Important Is Feeling. His stories have appeared in The Paris Review, Tin House, VICE, and The Best American Short Stories, among many other publications. In 2012 he received the Terry Southern Prize, which recognizes "wit, panache, and sprezzatura" in work published ...more
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