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A Naked Singularity

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  1,735 Ratings  ·  288 Reviews
Casi is a hotshot public defender working on the front line of America’s War on Drugs. So far he’s on the winning side. He’s never lost a case. But nothing lasts forever, and pride like his has a long way to fall.

Funny, smart and always surprising, A Naked Singularity speaks a language all of its own and reads like nothing else ever written. Casi’s beautiful mind and plane
Paperback, 689 pages
Published October 14th 2008 by Xlibris Corporation (first published October 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,736)
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Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
Aug 22, 2012 Joshua Nomen-Mutatio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Joshua Nomen-Mutatio by: Greg
Shelves: fiction
"Why did you want me to read that?"
"Because it’s a story."

If you’re unmoved or infuriated by the attempts of clever writers to baptize the strange as familiar and vice-versa, or by the likes of Wallace and DeLillo and Co. to turn human conversation into unrealistic, alternately funny/serious philosophical discourse, then please, back away slowly with your hands directed at 11:05 or 1:55, whatever the case may be. You have no use for this book. Let me save you the trouble and the trouble of me ha
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Wow! This book got reallyreally popular! 1332 ratings--240 Reviews!! Back in my day it had barely scratched 100 starragings!!! Self-publishing may still be a necessary evil, but much more important is maintaining institutions which can afford to maintain their literary and scholarly integrity. Thank you University of Chicago Press.

For those of us pessimistic about the possibilities remaining for the encyclopedic novel in this age of twitterdom, Sergio De La Pava’s A Naked Singulari
Stephen M
"I quit a little before halfway. It didn't break me, I just lost interest. The book is written the way one might actually expect a harried, sleep-deprived, lacking-in-spare-time lawyer like the protagonist (and author?) to write, which I guess is a certain kind of authenticity, but not the kind of thing I want to read 678 pages of."

"Boxing...philosophy...Dane...blah blah whatever."

"What the hell does rant mean?"
-Peter Griffin

It’s easy to take great writers for granted.

The amount of work
May 19, 2012 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I remember back about a decade ago when a couple of the big self-publishing companies were pushing their wares one of them used a line something like, "James Joyce was self-published". They were trying to sell you on the idea that if you've written a book, and none of those stodgy publishers are buying it it's possibly because it's a work of genius, like Joyce, and you should give us your money and we will produce a low-quality looking trade paperback for you so that you can be recognized as the ...more

Let me begin by stating that A Naked Singularity is one of the best debut novels I’ve read in a long time.

Goodreads has turned into a great platform for discovering books both old and new accompanied by varied views and reviews and just around the time I was wondering as to what extent it is being recognized in India, I came across an article in one of our National daily about self-publishing books and how presently crowd is the king in sealing the fate of many such books and Goodreads has becom
Aug 13, 2012 Ali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Or, Fifty Shades for the DFW fan."
--MJ Nicholls

Believe the buzz. What little there is, anyway.

Every once in a while, a book will come out that sends shock waves through the literary community. It becomes a bestseller, is talked about everywhere, it's read by everyone, even people who don't read. Sources on television and radio that would normally never refer to books in any way unless they were written by a celebrity talk about it's influence and interview the author, who in turn becomes a mino
Dec 29, 2015 trivialchemy rated it it was amazing
THE PEOPLE: May it please The Court, ladies and gentlemen of Goodreads, defense counsel, Mr. de la Pava. This book review is about crass opportunism. It is about two very different books. The first book builds plot, character and narrative force in the tradition of realism; the second gives in to the tropes of post-modernism.


THE COURT: Overruled.

THE PEOPLE: In October of 2008, the man hyperlinked above, Sergio de la Pava, self-published a massive, 678-page novel on XL
Jul 30, 2014 Gregsamsa rated it really liked it
Recommended to Gregsamsa by: Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
"It turns out that when you read you don't really take note of each individual letter. Instaed it seems your mind fills in details in service of a greater schematic...."

There was no way I was going to read this. When I started coming across some of the hype, the rapturous praise and excited descriptions were very similar--down to particular phrases and lists--to those heaped on a book called The End of Mr. Y and I got burned on that deal. Bad. I won't go into that here (as I already have, here)
Sep 06, 2012 Brian rated it it was ok
In a June, 2012 article written for The Millions, author Garth Risk Hallberg details a discussion with Sergio De La Pava in a Brooklyn coffee house. Commenting on de la Pava’s self imposed public occlusion, Hallberg writes, “For someone so reticent with the public, he talks abundantly and well, his thoughts tending to organize themselves into fluid, almost lawyerly paragraphs of narrative and argument, with these little hard-boiled explosions at the climax.” The interview continues with De La Pa ...more
Ladies and gentlemen, the real subject matter of A Naked Singularity:

No, wait, sorry, that's not right. (It might be a better book were it about that)

Shit. Sorry. That's not right either, though close (and would definitely make for a better book).

There we go! That's it. Deep Thought.

A Naked Singularity is not so much a novel novel (in that story-first sense); it is an "encyclopedic" novel, a novel of ideas, a novel of Deep Thought. That is all. Lots of deep philosophical thoughts and none of the
Jun 29, 2012 Drew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible. Infinite Jest's furious attention to detail, The Recognitions's interminable yet fascinating (pseudo)intellectual dialogues, and Crime and Punishment's psychological acuity all brought together in service of a plot that seems at first to mirror the incremental moral decay of The Heart of the Matter.

Not to say that A Naked Singularity is better than all or any of these novels. But the fact that it's brought together all these elements without imploding like its namesake makes it somet
switterbug (Betsey)
Apr 30, 2012 switterbug (Betsey) rated it it was amazing
This blazing, colossal creation was originally self-published by a vanity press in 2008, and left to hang in obscurity for four years. Here’s the author’s bio:

“Sergio De La Pava is a writer who does not live in Brooklyn.”

Consider that Brooklyn is the writer’s writers’ colony of Pulitzer and other award-stamped writers, the borough of billboard blockbusters and earnest publicity favorites scratching out their lines between the lines of the backlit white box. And, all this time, La Pava was under
May 04, 2013 Hadrian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american, fiction, law
Another damned thick book? Another damned encyclopedia of a pomo novel, with empanada recipes, biographies of boxers, lists of favorite philosophers and stories about pants-shitting in what is ostensibly a Crime-and-Punishment-crossed-with-The-Wire story?

As I first read this novel, I had more reason to be skeptical. mistakes of the first-time author. For example, his characters at first all sound the same, his monologues are at first amateurish and cliched. Except for a few parts of the opening
Aug 15, 2013 Steve rated it it was amazing
10JAN10. Well! January isn't even half over and I think I've already found my favorite book of 2010. I'm precisely 1/6 the way through A Naked Singularity and it has shoved all my other reading to the back burner. I'm having as much fun reading this as I had reading Infinte Jest , and/or The Gold Bug Variations , and/or The Lost Scrapbook *. An assload of fun, in other words. (*De La Pava's novel reminds me of Evan Dara's The Lost Scrapbook in another way. It's self-published and out-of-nowhe ...more
Jul 08, 2012 Jonfaith rated it it was amazing
It was actually quite nice here yesterday. The trouble to enjoying such was that it was the Third. Today is the Fourth and we are off on holiday. It is also infernal outdoors. Despite such I went out this a.m. and walked for hour while listening to Morrissey and Shine On You Crazy Diamond. I returned all a-soak and lobsterized by the maltreatment. It was decided then and there as I rehydrated that I would finish A Naked Singularity. The final 200 pages were clipped and episodic, losing the torqu ...more
Jason Pettus
Dec 08, 2009 Jason Pettus rated it it was amazing
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

Uh-oh, I thought when first receiving the 700-page, print-on-demand A Naked Singularity from Sergio De La Pava -- another self-published stream-of-consciousness epic for me to slog my way through. And the reason I had that reaction of course was because of a growing realization I've been making since
Marc Kozak
Sep 12, 2013 Marc Kozak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
It is, by law, impermissible to review this book and not compare it to the works of David Foster Wallace. Just by hearing that, you can probably get an idea of what to expect:

• A book that has a physical size big enough to crush even the largest of spiders.

• Characters who speak in identical, impossible dialogue, all of them supremely educated, eloquent, long-winded, witty, and oh-so-clever

• Digressions that have digressions inside of digressions.

• Non-traditional, non-linear, occasionally nonse
Alan Chen
Casi is a public defender, working in New York, young, Puerto Rican, smart, and has won all his cases so far. He's underpaid lives in a cheap tenement building but manages a huge case load and takes all new cases in order to move up. The novel has a great premise, it starts well and I like learning about the interesting cases that become little stories within the novel. Then, and pretty quickly, it becomes pretentious without actual merit to be so. Casi runs into his 3 neighbors downstairs who d ...more
Scott Gates
Jun 05, 2012 Scott Gates rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is about 70% dialogue, far too much dialogue for a work of fiction, I think. Nabokov somewhere sometime said that when picking up a new work of fiction, he’d leaf through it to see how much dialogue was there. If there was too much, he’d toss the book aside.

The problem is not just the overabundance of dialogue. There are two prominent strains of dialogue in the novel. (1) The Needlessly Clever Dialogue. These will include an unfortunate level of wisecracking irony and mannered one-li
John Waller
Mar 15, 2016 John Waller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gosh it IS so good. The opening, the dialogues. All excellent level. Feel shamed about myself: why I ain't not read this earlier?

By all ways. The story is about a lawyer. Interested guy, Casi. He's in deep shit. Like all of us, life beat the shit out of him.

I goona lick my own wounds. See ya' guys!
Jim Elkins
Jun 02, 2013 Jim Elkins rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american
"Naked singularity" is a dense, 689-page self-published novel with no endorsements and, as far as I can see, only three reviews on the internet.

A tremendously perplexing novel. The first four hundred pages are, more or less, out to match "Infinite Jest." They are written at De La Pava's best pitch of cleverness and complexity, with asides, chapter-long irrelevant distractions (sometimes insouciantly declared, by the author, as irrelevant), philosophical interruptions, and compulsively micromanag
El alquimista del tedio .
Sergio de la Pava (New Jersey, 1971) debutó con esta ambiciosa novela de más de 700 páginas. El problema sería que toda esta ambición no diera fruto, que lo leído no fuera más que palabrería, cháchara inane, filosofía pop, un mero flujo narrativo donde ir trenzando varias historias, llenando cuartillas, ad infinitum, sin que todo aquello no dejara poso alguno. No es el caso.

A lo largo de la lectura me venían ecos de DFW y de su Broma infinita, o de Gaddis cuando la logorreica narración se vuelve
Ashley Crawford
Dec 07, 2011 Ashley Crawford rated it it was amazing
The surrealism of Jonathan Lethem's Chronic City, the intelligence of any of DFW's writings, the absurdity of the best of Pynchon - how in the world did this 689 masterpiece slip past the mainstream publishing world? Sergio De La Pava serves up moments of hilarity and heartbreak, gritty crime and boxing (if DFW can do tennis, De La Pava can do boxing!) scenarios, next to moments of the macabre and bizarre. It builds in pace and texture to a nail-biting conclusion by which time we're sucked into ...more
Sep 19, 2011 Phil rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I don't normally bother to write reviews, because who's going to read 'em? and shouldn't I think of the opportunity cost? But I will argue, without a doubt or second thought or moment of hesitation, that A Naked Singularity is a masterpiece.

That's all I'll write. It's not so much a review as it is endorsement, but fuck... nothing I could write would do it justice.
Wow! This book totally lived up to my self created hype. It was funny, and weird and somehow made total sense to me. Longer review to come.
Hermano Cerdo
Jun 27, 2014 Hermano Cerdo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novela
Uno no puede dejar de asombrarse del hecho de que esta novela de Sergio de la Pava fuese rechazada por numerosísimos editores durante varios años, hasta el punto de que el autor se decidiera a publicarla por su cuenta y riesgo en el formato de libro electrónico en 2008. La posibilidad de democratización de la literatura que internet ha traído (léase el boca a boca tradicional, pero con los avances tecnológicos pertinentes) hizo el resto, y finalmente alguien en la University de Chicago Press se ...more
Jeffrey Paris [was Infinite Tasks]
See my review at Infinite Tasks of Philosophy.

Like a number of others who were internettedly active during Infinite Summer, I received a copy of a self-published novel along with a very nice, personalized note, referring not only to my work on IJ but also my philosophical writings on imprisonment and science fiction. The novel is A Naked Singularity, written by Sergio De La Pava and “crafted” via Xlibris in 2008. Not only is it a worthwhile and entertaining read, it was perhaps the first book I’
Jul 19, 2014 Jeremy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-fiction
It's definitely not the next step in big 'difficult' American novels that a lot of critics are making it out to be, but A Naked Singularity certainly falls somewhere within the continuum of large, maximalist/hysterical fiction that writers like Pynchon, Foster-Wallace and Delillo have made so popular. De La Pava obviously has the insider knowledge as a public defender to skewer and satirize the NYC criminal justice system from now until judgement day, and the best parts of the book are when he's ...more
Jun 08, 2012 Roberto rated it it was amazing
Posted the review in my blog:

But here it is anyway:

Sergio de la Pava is Neal Stephenson with law and bullshit instead of computers and swords.
—Roberto Alsina

But there are also swords in A Naked Singularity!
—Levi Stahl

A while ago I finished reading "A naked singularity" by Sergio de la Pava.

If you have not read it, stop reading this now, take a week off and read it first. You may love me for telling you that, or you may hate me with the intensity of a thou
Ginny Pennekamp
Nov 13, 2010 Ginny Pennekamp rated it it was amazing
This book is a find, like a diamond in the rough. A gem, something you can live inside while you're reading the whole thing, and now that's it's over, I'm just wandering around my house like a crazy person looking for anything else to read that could be as fun, but not finding it...

Seriously, Scott Brian Wilson, who recommended that I try this book on the Quarterly Conversation was right: "There is a growing body of evidence that it is a remarkable work o
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Enfield Tennis Ac...: New book read 1 17 May 23, 2012 08:42AM  
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Sergio de la Pava is the author of A Naked Singularity.
Sergio de la Pava is a writer who does not live in Brooklyn.

In August, 2013, Sergio won PEN/Robert W. Bingham Award for his debut fiction, A Naked Singularity.
More about Sergio de la Pava...

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“The overwhelming noise we live with has made a fundamental pleasure like sex somehow less exciting, less satisfying, than it was for our libidinous forefathers and mothers. It seems to me that for sex and other pleasures to be enjoyed to the fullest, a certain contemplative quality to life must be present. If you doubt this imagine yourself for a moment having sex. Now imagine you wished to increase the pleasure you were feeling, feel it more intensely. What might you do? Well one of the things you'd probably do is close your eyes. What this does of course is shut out other stimuli. The visual quiet increases your sensual enjoyment and you concentrate more fully on the pleasure. The same is true for the removal of auditory noise as well. Well my feeling is that the average person has a much harder time doing this today than they would have decades ago. Today you close your eyes and shut off Television but the noise persists. It's part of our fabric now, our biology, and all other pleasures including sex are diminished as a result. We don't notice this derogation by the way and sex still feels great, don't get me wrong, but I think the difference is there nonetheless. Like the difference between seeing breasts when you're thirty as opposed to when you were thirteen.” 13 likes
“Intellectual discourse and investigation is admittedly great fun but only truly meaningful when conducted in the service of others.” 9 likes
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