February 5, 2016
L’incendie ed la maison de George Orwell
[Burning Down George Orwell’s House]
Gallimard/Éditions Joëlle Losfeld
Translated by Marc Weitzmann
Praise for the French Edition:
“A sharply funny portrait of a young yuppie returning to something approaching a state of nature… Is it possible to open up a place to the outside world; to knowledge, to literature and art, without a cost to its identity? This is a finely-formed question posed by Andrew Ervin… an interrogation of societies’ ability to surmount their self-erected barricades.”
–Ariane Singer, Le Monde
“A very successful, unusual, and wonderfully translated first novel… At times somber, yet humorous… as tasty as 17-year-old Bowmore!”
–Delphine Peras, L’Express
“It is completely exhilarating: as soon as you have started it, you cannot stop turning the pages. And when you’ve finished, dazzled as you are by the talent, you rush to return to it.”
–Gérard Guégan, Sud Ouest
“A novel that is cerebral, complex, and somber enough despite the occasional ray of sunshine and despite its happy ending, a novel that could pass as a parable about the anxiety of the White Western Male. And it is all related not without humor, and greatly reinforced with whisky, that elixir of the gods: golden, peaty, violent and bewitching all at the same time. Just like this book. It can be enjoyed without moderation.”
–Jean-Claude Perrier, Livres Hebdo
“A humorous and biting novel; evincing hopelessness in its own way, even if we never stop smiling as we read it. What it tells us, without making any fuss of it, is that wanting to feel an Orwellian and polluted world to rediscover the Rousseau-esque purity of time-forgotten spaces is really not the idea of the century… And it tells us also that, come what may, sooner or later, Big Brother will arrive even here.”
–Jérôme Leroy, Causeur
“With an uncommon sense of humor, the young American novelist Andrew Ervin, for whom this is his first novel, has taken his Breathalyzer test—and it really hit the spot.”
–Didier Jacob, L’Obs
January 9, 2016
L’incendie de la maison de George Orwell
The publication date for the French edition of Burning Down George Orwell’s House will be 14 January 2016. Marc Weitzmann translated it for Editions Joëlle Losfeld, an imprint of Gallimard.
The first review appeared on 8 Jan. in Livres Hebdo, where Jean-Claude Perrier wrote:
“We’ll let Andrew Ervin tell his reader how this sordid tale ends in this, his first novel; a novel that is cerebral, complex, and somber enough despite the occasional ray of sunshine and despite its happy ending, a novel which could pass as a parable about the ill-being of the White Western Male. And it is all related not without humor, and greatly reinforced with whisky, that elixir of gods: golden, peaty, violent and bewitching all at the same time. Just like this book. But [this book] can be enjoyed without moderation.”
June 22, 2015
Over at The Rumpus, James Tate Hill asked me a few tough questions. Here’s an excerpt:
On a basic level, living without power for a few days helped rid me of any romantic notions about the serenity of life off the grid. It definitely made me reconsider some of my own first-world assumptions. The idea of escaping from social media and voluntarily getting away from it all could only come from someone like me or Ray Welter who is very privileged. Maybe that’s true too of the disdain for technology. It’s easier to hate Twitter, even as some stand-in for “technology” in general, when one has consistent electricity and clean running water in the house.
June 3, 2015
Owen King interviewed me for the Brooklyn Rail. Here’s an excerpt:
Rail: Late in the novel, Ray has the misfortune to find himself dragged into a werewolf hunt. How do you feel about werewolf hunting? Is it wrong?
Ervin: On one hand, it’s very important to maintain these traditions while we can, right? There are certainly cultural and perhaps spiritual—if not dietary—reasons that werewolf hunting can prove beneficial. In many places, it’s a matter of cultural identity. We cannot understate the value of reconnecting with these traditional ways of life while we still can. On the other hand, however, given the depleted populations not only in Scotland but worldwide I do understand and appreciate the opposition to this supposedly “barbaric” practice. It’s a tough call, and you’re putting me on the spot here, but I suppose that—yes—I am ultimately in favor of the limited and carefully controlled hunting of werewolves.
May 30, 2015
The 5/31/15 issue of the New York Times Book Review includes an extremely generous review of Burning Down George Orwell’s House.
“‘Burning Down George Orwell’s House’ is a sweet book full of delights. Since many of its best passages are rhapsodies on single malt whiskies, one is tempted to call it a wee bonny dram of a tale.” –Christopher Buckley, New York Times Book Review