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Pieces of Payne

A Novel
Albert Goldbarth
How is Eliza's divorce connected to the rise of twentieth-century quantum physics? Why does the steamy promise of "a key unlocking a door at a cheap motel along I-35" lead us to a consideration of Moby-Dick? What does one physician's fake appointment book have to do with Columbus, with werewolves, with Fanny Burney's famously excruciating 19th-century mastectomy? Goldbarth sets his story of love's daily pleasures and griefs upon a foundation of ever-branching footnotes-from the strange worlds of supermarket tabloids and the Legion of Super-Heroes, to more contemplative forays into gender politics, Dickens scholarship, and medical anomalies. By taking us on this mind-bending journey, he shows us how our lives are both confused and empowered by the multilayered universe around us.

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First ever novel by two-time winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award

About the Author

Albert  Goldbarth
Credit: Michael Pointer
Albert Goldbarth is the author of Adventures of Form and Content and more than twenty-five books of poetry, including Everyday People, To Be Read in 500 Years, and The Kitchen Sink: New and Selected Poems 1972–2007. He has twice won the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry, and is a recipient of the Mark Twain Award from the Poetry Foundation. He selflessly lives in Wichita, Kansas.
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  • “A whale of a performance.”—San Francisco Chronicle
  • “Stunning and enigmatic.”—Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
  • “As intimate as a seven-drink conversation, as compulsive as a pocket encyclopedia, as unwilling to end as the light from stars no longer burning.”—Village Voice
  • “Goldbarth, a whirling dervish of a poet, has fashioned a splendidly clever and tender first novel….A dazzling, sagacious, and poignant search for oneness within the many-faceted chaos of human life.”—Booklist, starred review
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