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Leaving the Atocha Station Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566892742
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Coffee House Press - August 23rd, 2011

Adam Gordon, slacker poet on a fellowship in Spain, suffers a generic writer's debacle: the cleaving of experience into "what cannot be named" and "what cannot be lived." So afraid of failure that he "pretends he's only pretending to be a poet," and so desperate for human contact that he tells women that his mom--who is alive and well in Topeka--just died, Adam nonetheless escapes both self-indulgence and the post-modern cliché. His poor Spanish, frequent misunderstandings and mistranslations become the brilliantly original generative principle of Lerner's novel, and what may seem like Adam's weak character is revealed as the vulnerability of the poet and the man "learning how to live" in a foreign language and culture.