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The Fugitives

3.05  ·  Rating details ·  214 ratings  ·  53 reviews
From National Book Award finalist Christopher Sorrentino, a bracing, kaleidoscopic look at love and obsession, loyalty and betrayal, race and identity, compulsion and free will…

Sandy Mulligan is in trouble. To escape his turbulent private life and the scandal that’s maimed his public reputation, he’s retreated from Brooklyn to the quiet Michigan town where he hopes to fin
Hardcover, 322 pages
Published February 9th 2016 by Simon Schuster
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Average rating 3.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  214 ratings  ·  53 reviews

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MJ Nicholls
Jun 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
The reviews here attest to the pointlessness of sending ARCs to randoms unfamiliar with the author. Chris Sorrentino is the son of Gilbert Sorrentino, the finest post-60s American innovator and novelist, period, important to know. Chris walks the tightrope between the formal playfulness of the paterfamilias, a rage at the publishing world (like father, like), and a more mainstreamish mystery plot and character-driven narrative. The result is an uneven stew of Mulligan—writer-protagonist—propelle ...more
Jan 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Christopher Sorrentino is a gifted word crafter. His writing is intricate and clever, however slightly too dense to enjoy it easily. Took me twice as long to finish it, I kept reading and rereading certain passages just to make sure I understood what was written.
The story picked up pace in the second half of the book, which is were the mystery/crime part of the novel finally started to make sense.
Folktales about the trickster Nanabozho in between book parts were a delight to read and kept the no
Doug H
Jan 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: advance-copy
I had a complicated reaction to this novel. For me, it was brilliant in some aspects but depressing and hard to get into in others.

Some of the descriptive language is fantastic (especially in setting scenes) and the sharp dialogue is often laugh out loud funny (think Pynchon), but the stuff that I didn't like kept my brain almost completely bogged down and uninterested throughout. This is probably why it took me two weeks to read it. It definitely wasn't a story I looked forward to jumping back
nikkia neil
Nov 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks Simon & Schuster and netgalley for this arc.

Loved the way we have to work for a while to get what's going on! This is a treat for those bored with dumb-ed up "literary" novels. I didn't want it to end.
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Award-winning author Christopher Sorrentino, whose writing has been compared to Don DeLillo, Hunter S Thompson and Philip Roth, brings us a story of race, identity, story-telling and truth in The Fugitives.

If I arrive at the library before eleven, I’ll wait. There’s no other feeling like that of the restraint in a quiet room filled with people. Conditional unity, breached under the duress of petty bodily betrayals, farts and sneezes. The heads come up, mildly curious, then fall once more to the
Rebecca Weinstein
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It is a given that Sorrentino's writing is smart, technically exceptional, and verging on intimidating. What isn't a given is whether it touches you. A writer's writer can make the reader work for it. What Sorrentino does so well in this book is take the reader just to the line. It's deep, not just hard. There is almost an uncomfortable level of insight in the storytelling, and I think what this book does best is tell stories. What those stories are didn't so much matter to me, as did the fact t ...more
Donna Davis
Sandy Mulligan is a renowned author, but he’s hit a crisis. He’s left his wife and children for someone else, and it didn’t work out. Now he’s taken to the hinterlands to try to write the book he’s contracted to produce. Meanwhile, he runs across John Salteau, who claims to be an Ojibway storyteller, but it doesn’t ring quite true. Like Mulligan, Salteau is hiding from something. And if that isn’t enough, we have Kat Danhoff, herself a refugee of sorts, and she has landed in the same tiny burg, ...more
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received this from Netgalley, though would have read anyway because I like Sorrentino. A slow burn crime thriller with a literary bent, this was a cool book all wrapped up with a nice how at the end.
Kathleen Gray
Feb 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Pretentious. I just didn't like this- sorry to Simon and Schuster, which granted me the ARC. I had high hopes for it because it had a good premise and because i've liked Sorrentino in the past. This time, though, I didn't get very far, closing my Kindle long before I expected I would. ...more
Jan 07, 2016 marked it as never-finishing
This author crams in 15 vocabulary words and 3 metaphors into every description of a mundane object or interaction. It's exhausting and horrible. 60 pages and I'm OUT.
Jo Dervan
Dec 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Kat, a reporter from a Chicago newspaper, follows a lead from Becky, her friend on the Indian reservation and ends up in Cherry City, MI. According to Becky, Jackie Salteau, a local storyteller who has been captivating locals at the public library, is really John Santino, an ex-convict working at the local Indian casino who disappeared with $450,000 months before. Kat decided that if she could expose Salteau as the missing Saltino, she would have a great story about the mob influence in Indian c ...more
Gareth Price
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it

I am a big fan of Christopher Sorrentino's Trance and it seems like an age has passed since it was published. The Fugitives probably isn't quite as good as that epic imagining of a band of urban guerillas in the '70's but it has plenty to enjoy.

Writer Sandy Mulligan has retreated to a small Michigan town to write his long overdue next book and escape his failed marriage. Instead he spends some of his mornings at the local local library listening to John Salteau, an Ojibway Indian, tell tradition
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
The Fugitives is a novel full of twists and turns, a mystery with intriguing characters that captured my interest. I wanted to know who the cast of characters were and what were their motives. Sandy Mulligan, a famous novelist, is the at the center of the ensemble of characters that populate a story full of questions. The book cover shows a gambling scene and I think you could say that describes much of what goes on with each character, they take a gamble on a story, on making money on getting a ...more
May 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
There were parts of this that were so well written-- cutting, sharp, and funny-- but a lot of this felt messy and unrefined. There's just too much going on.

Am I meant to focus on the crazy plot twists or the unsentimental commentary on white privilege? Do I roll along, happily chuckling at the library scenes, or do I keep turning pages to find out whodunnit and whodunwho and which car did they use, anyway?

And wait. Gangster ghosts?
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An existential romp using a mystery as a vehicle, The Fugitives never fails to entertain as it probes questions about the extent to which we attempt to escape the paths that evolve in our lives.
Sep 06, 2016 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Megan by: The Millions
Sorrentino jerked off on a keyboard for three days and autocorrect turned it into this book. And Sorrentino's just so fucking clever, he got it published. ...more
Mark Lisac
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
The Fugitives is the literary equivalent of "all hat, no cattle": all style, no heart.
And while there are flashes of humour and cutting social commentary, there really isn't much in the way of good writing, despite many reviewers' claims. The style essentially consists of clever superficiality. It seems like a running echo of social media attitude and the despondently coarse imitation of humour oozing through most Hollywood "comedies" since the late 1990s. There's also a fair bit of excess verbi
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Just because an author is aware that it is ridiculous to make fiction in the modern world doesn't mean he has to write a character who is an author who is aware that it is ridiculous to make fiction in the modern world. It shouldn't be a surprise that this character is unlikable, or that very little happens in a plot that revolves at some level around this character's writer's block. Sorrentino can obviously write, but he shouldn't have written this book. ...more
Kathleen Finney
Dec 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Generally an interesting plot, with a degree of suspense, but the stakes somehow don't seem to come across as that high even when lives are in danger. The main characters weren't really fully formed, and the character of Kat was a puzzle to me. Her primary trait appears to be a desire to perform oral sex on every man she meets. While at times the language is clever, I frequently felt like I was wading through paragraphs of contrived padding. ...more
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
A book that is 50% narrative summary - with a plot that reads like a stack of short stories - and just enough clever writing to keep you reading. It was interesting- good even in some parts - but I would t want to read another like it.
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
Received this book from Goodreads. Half of the book that dealt with mystery, the people involved in the writing of a book involving money stolen, who did it, why, was good but the other half of the book seemed to me to be too long and unnecessary.
May 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
The first two-thirds or so of this book was fantastic, then it seemed like the author lost interest.
Lee Thames
Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it
A mystery with a mishmash of broken characters. Our two narrators cannot be trusted.
The idea that you'd be an entirely different person if you just lived somewhere else is one that has a lot of instinctive appeal. And trying to run from who you are by changing your location is what drives the characters of Christopher Sorrentino's The Fugitives. Sandy Mulligan leaves Brooklyn in the wake of a nasty divorce and sets up shop in Cherry City, Michigan (a very thinly disguised Traverse City) to recover and finish his long-awaited next novel. But he's got a bad case of writer's block ...more
Two-thirds into the book, I hadn't really made up my mind about whether I liked it or not. The scaffolding along which the book unfolds is an intriguing little mystery: a former casino employee tips off a reporter friend about a secret casino heist. Secret because the stolen money was money already being skimmed off the top, so its theft couldn't be reported to the police. And according to the source, the guy who walked away with a cool half mil has popped back up in the area as a Native storyte ...more
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
A formerly successful novelist, way behind on the delivery of his next manuscript, escapes the mess of his marriage, and a scandalous affair, by leaving Brooklyn for a quiet Michigan town near the locale of fondly remembered family holidays. There he wanders into the library for the regular storytelling of a Native American who delights listeners with indigenous fables. The storyteller begins the novel so you might imagine he features prominently, as he does, and you might also imagine there are ...more
Feb 22, 2016 rated it liked it
A thriller about Alexander (Sandy) Mulligan, an author, who has hit a roadblock in most aspects of his life. He is behind in finishing a book, his marriage to Rae is a disaster and his affair with Susannah is over because of her suicide and also pregnancy. He moves to Cherry City, MI to get away from Brooklyn distractions and his life and book back on track. The book industry (Monte Arlecchino, Dylan Fecker (agent) and Boyd Harris) is squeezing him for breach of contract in not delivering the bo ...more
Oct 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was an insightful, funny, and ultimately tragic book about the way people disguise or distort themselves to embrace a new identity or put an old one behind them. This impulse toward disguise is embodied in the three main characters of the book, one, a story teller, a literal fugitive, one, a writer, running from a scandal, and the third, a reporter, who turns her back on her heritage to "pass." This sense of disguise and dishonesty is enhanced by the way the story is told. Each ch ...more
THT Steph
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
Maybe a Little Too Clever
The Fugitives has a mix of a lot of interesting elements that I thought Sorrentino pulled together nicely, and I love his wit when it comes to phrasing. I pulled what is sure to be some of my all time favorite quotes from this book.. The story itself was good, and I connected with the interesting lot of characters. The difficulty that had was in every sentence needing to be some wonderful wordy phrase. It became tedious, and I actually ended up being forced to read in sm
Jan 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: did-not-finish
If there are actually 2 camps in the realm of lit appreciation, as reading over some of the reviews of this book has enlightened me to the possibility of, then I guess I would hope to land safely in the Courvoisier Camp-those who prefer writing that goes down smooth, uses common words for the most part, and a while after reading it your mind is confusing the characters and situations with people you know/knew because they're so well-drawn.
This isn't a criticism of the other camp- the It's Good B
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Christopher Sorrentino (born May 20, 1963) is an American novelist and short story writer of Puerto Rican descent. He is the son of novelist Gilbert Sorrentino and Victoria Ortiz. His first published novel, Sound on Sound (1995), draws upon innovations pioneered in the work of his father, but also contains echoes of many other modernist and postmodernist writers. The book is structured according t ...more

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