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Lady Lazarus

3.14 of 5 stars 3.14  ·  rating details  ·  58 ratings  ·  13 reviews
**DEBUT FICTION**

This spectacular, sprawling debut novel tells the story of Calliope Bird Morath, daughter of legendarypunk-rock star Brandt Morath—whose horrific suicide devastated the world—and his notorious wife, Penelope.

The novel is narrated by both Calliope and her obsessive biographer, who follows her from her silent childhood to her first tortured, manic public sta
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Hardcover, 576 pages
Published April 14th 2008 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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(showing 1-30 of 143)
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Kristin
Aug 06, 2008 Kristin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who'd like a post-modernist gossip column
I absolutely loved this book from the very first moment it started. A thinly veiled "what-if" about the offspring of talented and tragic musicians, parents who started off as punk kids in small towns and got so famous it probably killed them. It satisfied the parts of me who love philosophy and academia as well as the parts of me who love to peruse the gossip sheets. Beautifully written, with one foot in real life and the other in a gorgeous, dreaming, grave-like place -- even the blatantly, una ...more
Toni
As a child, Calliope Bird Morath witnessed the suicide of her father legendary punk rock star Brandt Morath. Thereafter, she lived in the shrine his mother made of his life and of the child who was his living embodiment. When Calliope grows up, she becomes a star in her own right, a poet...partly through use of the aura of fame and tragedy surrounding her, the rest through her own talent. Somewhere in this miasma of fame, fortune, memory, grief, and misery, Calliope and her self-appointed biogra ...more
Elizabeth
What if Frances Bean Cobain was some sort of bonsai-poet created and clipped into shape by Courtney Love after Kurt's suicide? This book asks that question, and answers it...sort-of. If you like PALE FIRE, Sylvia Plath, bees, Buddhism, college professorial politics, and satire, satire, satire, read it. Please. Please read it so I can talk to someone about it! I could not put it down, and read slowly so it would last longer. One of my top ten of all time. Yep. I'm throwing down that gauntlet.
Emilia
A lit-nerd's paradise. This book is long, dense, and difficult, kind of trippy and FULL of allusions, but so so worth it - Altschul is an incredible writer and his take on society's obsession with celebrity (and celebrity death) is by turns disturbing and hilarious. And Calliope is the most compelling character I have encountered in a long time.
Cyn
Constantly changing HOW you tell a story will not make it a good story, and will often only get in the way in the attempt. This book flops around between fake interviews, excerpts and transcripts, while the story itself stagnates in the process. I found this frustrating in "House of Leaves," but at least there the story was compelling enough that it drove you on, if only for curiosity's sake. The author here tries to force you meditate over a series of fake events, when you really just desperate ...more
Kolleen
This is probably my favorite book ever.
Rachel
The first part of the book was amazing, poetic and a beautiful central story. An interesting look at the unintended consequences of fame. But two thirds of the way through the book the first narrator disappears and the second narrator is an insufferable hero-worshipper who makes way too many assumptions about the protagonist for me to struggle through the rest of the story.
Ami
Jul 08, 2013 Ami added it
If this book is anything like his reading last night, I will probably have to quit my job and follow Andrew Altschul around the country, as though HE were Nirvana.
Martha
Jan 26, 2010 Martha is currently reading it
So far this book is pretty fascinating, although the fake biographical references are a little disconcerting... I'll let you know how it turns out.
Michele
Wow - an average of more than 4 stars? I don't know how (or why) I plowed all the way through this. The author is trying way too hard.
Margot Jennifer
Intriguing at first, then annoying. Interesting look at fame and what super-celebrities deal with.
Liz
Oct 10, 2008 Liz marked it as to-read
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Andrew Foster Altschul is the author of the novel Lady Lazarus. His short fiction and essays have appeared in Esquire, McSweeney's, Fence, StoryQuarterly, One Story and other journals, as well as the anthologies Best New American Voices 2006 and O. Henry Prize Stories 2007. He teaches at Stanford University.
More about Andrew Foster Altschul...
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