Losing in Gainesville

from 4.00

by Brian Costello

Set in mid-1990s Florida, Losing in Gainesville hilariously explores what failure means in a culture where everyone is supposed to win. Razorcake praised Brian Costello's first novel for its language and attention to detail and Bookslut lauded its dialogue and conversational narrator. These strengths are once again on display in Losing in Gainesville. With an ensemble cast of slackers, burn-outs, musicians, and dreamers, who are all losing something—their youth, their ambitions, their careers, their children, their former identities—Costello builds a sun-bleached world of people struggling to understand what it means to succeed on their terms.

"If Joyce was right that you could rebuild Dublin by reading Ulysses, you could definitely reconstruct a very specific American village of dive bars, record shops and drugstore cowboys from this slab of post-punk tragicomedy[...] [Losing in Gainesville] traces the emotional arc (or lack thereof) of superslacker Ronnie Altamont, the lead singer and guitarist in his low-rent Florida rock band, The Laraflynnboyles. Set in the mid-1990s, the story captures in intimate detail the wilderness years experienced by many American males of a certain class, age and background. The desolate outlooks of Ronnie and his buddies are weighed down by crap jobs (asbestos removal, pizza delivery, etc.), fueled by the massive and constant intake of drugs and alcohol, and soothed only by the likes of Charles Bukowski, Lou Reed, The Kinks and The Replacements[...] It's a big, messy, uncomfortable story but one that captures its milieu[...] [I]n the end, the book's real question is whether this beautiful loser is capable of being saved from himself. A rock-and-roll fable about the secret lives of the unsatisfied."
—Kirkus Reviews

"Costello describes suburban absurdities in teeming detail, approaching the self-aware gross-out humor of Tromaville: tumbling forward with the rushing momentum of Kerouac's prose. Nineties counterculture—emo bands, riot grrls, shit jobs, sleeping on floors, warm beer and cold pizza—often provides the punch line. Though funny and poking fun, Costello remains sympathetic to the awkwardness and ambivalence that drives young people, feeling trapped, to struggle to express themselves: that beautiful, life-affirming cycle of broke kids starting bands."
—Tim Kinsella, Joan of Arc front man, author of The Karaoke Singer's Guide to Self Defense

"A bittersweet, twenty-something, rock-and-rolling tale of angst and longing, riffing on art and the meaning of it all amidst the banality and beauty of 90s Florida in a fever dream portrait of the artists as not-so-young punk rockers."
—Eric Charles May, author of Bedrock Faith

Brian Costello is a writer, musician, and comedic performer living in Chicago, Illinois. He plays drums in the band Outer Minds, and co-hosts Shame That Tune, a monthly live game show. Losing in Gainesville is his second novel.

Pages: 400
ISBN: 978-1940430317
Publication Date: October 2014

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