Lost Empress review ì 103


summary Lost Empress

Lost Empress

Skin kings of America Meanwhile Nuno DeAngeles a brilliant and lethal criminal mastermind has gotten himself thrown into Rikers to commit perhaps the most audacious crime of all time With grace humor and razor sharp prose de la Pava tackles everything from Salvador Dalí Joni Mitchell psychiatric help and emergency medicine to religion the many species of love and theoretical physics as all these threads combine to count down to an epic conclusion A brilliant funny crude violent wildly inventive ensemble novel featuring an oligarch NFL owner a Rikers inmate a 911 dispatcher an EMT art thieves a genius parking garage attendant and my favorite character a sandwich deliverywoman turned fake lawyer turned into deputy commissioner of a semi pro football league This massive story is impossible to summarize It's also the best case I've read in ages for the continuing social relevance of the novelA man who doesn't read novels can never be a real man

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From the author of the acclaimed PENBingham Prize–winning A Naked Singularity; a shockingly hilarious novel that tackles with eual aplomb both America's most popular sport and its criminal justice systemFrom Paterson New Jersey to Rikers Island to the streets of New York City Sergio de la Pava's Lost Empress introduces readers to a cast of characters unlike any other in modern fiction dreamers and exiles immigrants and night shift workers lonel The empress has no clothes on This was like reading a 600 page novel by a first year undergrad You know the kind he thinks he's a genius and has recently read Lacan's Wikipedia page is deeply into artisinal something or other but is bright enough that there's the chance that in ten or fifteen years time he'll be capable of looking back at his past self and being deeply and deservedly embarrassed Historic Hahns Peak readers to a cast of characters unlike any other in modern fiction dreamers and exiles immigrants and night shift workers lonel The empress has no clothes on This was like Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys (Annie Graceland Mystery reading a 600 page novel by a first year undergrad You know the kind he thinks he's a genius and has Zombie CSU recently Conquerors read Lacan's Wikipedia page is deeply into artisinal something or other but is bright enough that there's the chance that in ten or fifteen years time he'll be capable of looking back at his past self and being deeply and deservedly embarrassed

Sergio de la Pava Û 3 download

Y pastors and others at the fringes of society each with their own impact on the fragile universe they navigate At the story's center is Nina Gill daughter of the aging owner of the Dallas Cowboys who was instrumental in building her father's dynasty So it's a shock when her brother inherits the team and she is left with the Paterson Pork New Jersey's only Indoor Football League franchise Nina vows to take on the NFL and make the Paterson Pork pig repeat my usual plaint re the flaws of simple five star rating specifically i would break this out into sub ratings and i would give this book a five for ambition a four for creativity a two for execution and5 stars for authorial restrainti have long been out of the custom of reading maximal literary novels but i enjoyed Naked Singularity which has a loooot of the same charms and anti charms as this book and generally dig de la Pava's authorial persona he self published Naked S after getting rejected by a lot of agents and also I had a coupon on the kindle storeso this is a novel about a parallel universe where the NFL goes on strike and an XFL esue subaltern league rises to prominence thanks to the expertise of renegade NFL heiress who is basically a 1930s screwball heroine Nina meanwhile on Rikers Island a character who is clearly meant as a kind of non biological twin Nuno gets himself sent to Rikers on purpose in order to steal already stolen art hidden there These two stories creep toward one another with a bunch of detours and weirdnesses at its core and you have to do a lot of chewing to get to that core this is a novel about 1 the carceral state 2 football 3 the moloch blood god esue shared properties of items 1 2 it is at times impossibly funny punishingly accurate in its tossed off diagonses of social and spiritual woes of 21c americahumankind in general it is also a giant sloppy mess with huge skippable monologues about space time too much philosophizng and savagely undercooked plot mechanics it just doesn't really feel 100% finished which who knows is a book ever finished i think there is a killer 200 page novel in here about football prison and the shape of souls and i enjoyed reading those passages immensely i feel less positive about the other parts of the book but if i have to choose between deranged haymakers like this and dehydrated narrow introspection i will choose this book every time because it has jokes no one is making me choose but i am choosing to choose as a kind of ambient unsolicited hostile gesture


10 thoughts on “Lost Empress

  1. says:

    Gazing Down the PlugholeIt takes an exceptional talent to sustain comedic prose in so many distinct voices for over 600 pages It also takes real dedication to persist in reading those 600 pages The witty ripostes the sarcastic asides the pithy literary allusions by commercial geniuses medicos with nous and self aware but larcenous offenders eventually are normalized so that the reader is thrown back to the story which frankly ain’t that greatA misogynistic cast of corporate types try to keep the sassy protagonist out of her family inheritance of managing an NFL football team This is the central gyre into which everything else is eventually sucked Meanwhile lots of NYC types mostly felonious or incompetent buzz around adding local colour and guided tours of cultural centres like Paterson New Jersey and Rikers Island It’s entertaining but is it art?Of course it’s art “Humanity’s best unnecessary invention is art” And Lost Empress is entirely unnecessary So I take it back The story is irrelevant What matters are the various stories that make up something different not necessarily than just different from the wholeThe book is a literary toy with lots of moving parts The whole doesn’t do anything productive The point though is to watch the moving parts which are fascinating Each part spins or blinks or pulsates perfectly That they engage with each other is incidental except that in total they form a ‘thing’The thing in uestion can be described as Sophisticated Street Trash Urbanely clever in a detached sort of knowing disregarding regard the genre isn’t intended to evoke anything but the satisfaction of recognition It’s a big inside joke shared round Too bad how sad never mind Nothing to see here but the usual absurdity It’s a tough job butNo no that’s not fair From his perch above the fray de la Pava has created a tribute to the dignity of human stupidity Or is it the stupidity of human dignity? His book sends everything up including itself so perhaps it’s both I love it


  2. says:

    Perhaps my first major noveldiscovery credited to this wonderful corner of gr is A Naked Singularity the List in that exuberant Review of mine is now fully retired ; but I credit it with introducing me to a number of wonderful gr'r's I totally stuck by de la Pava when he pub'd his HatBox of a second novel Certainly if anything can be experimental it's that one ; I doubt anyone's captured its unifying thread yetvsDanielewski's first one I had a mild reception to ; not uite hot enough after a steady diet of my favorite Barth But really a cool novel I bailed on his second one Only Revolutions but I will return and felt a bit cheated with his 50 Swords thing But Then The Familiar At least there's GOLD once again no one is buying now after five glorious volumes damn american readership with their crappy taste buds At any rate A story of my reading to contrast with mine of de la PavaBecause his new one is not very good It is written I'll say 'edited' and blame the editor for that readership I just growled at in the above para Let me say it felt like Pessl or The Last Western but no one reads that one than DFW Of course it resembles DFW like a dairyueen strawberry milkshake resembles a strawberry and so can be appropriately thusly compared There's very little fat in here ; some clever tricks ;; some of the DFW thoughtswallowingitself There's characters and there's plot and But Just Whatever Disappointed


  3. says:

    The empress has no clothes on This was like reading a 600 page novel by a first year undergrad You know the kind he thinks he's a genius and has recently read Lacan's Wikipedia page is deeply into artisinal something or other but is bright enough that there's the chance that in ten or fifteen years time he'll be capable of looking back at his past self and being deeply and deservedly embarrassed


  4. says:

    a naked singularity felt like a breath of fresh air to me but i knew only 40 pages into this thing that it was a pale facsimile of the stylegrace he achieved there with some sleeve worn dfw influence thrown in the witty dialogue is deeply unfunny the cerebral riffs are weightless and performative it's just not good and i'm not reading 600 whatever pages of it


  5. says:

    If Thomas Pynchon now 81 never pens another novel I’ll be sad grateful for his epic novels like GRAVITY’S RAINBOW and AGAINST THE DAY but content we still have Sergio de la Pava hanging around writing novels like A NAKED SINGULARITY and his latest LOST EMPRESS While he’s no Pynchon who is? de la Pava is certainly standing precariously on Pynchon’s shoulders De la Pava is of the same to put a label on it Postmodernist tribe as Pynchon DeLillo Gaddis Wallace Murakami and Bolaño World builders builders of alternate realities of door stopper mega novels embracing everything that is or could beWhen the NFL owners lock out the players over revenue sharing dispute Nina Gill the rebellious and brilliant daughter of Cowboys owner Worthington Gill and commissioner of the Indoor Football League IFL sees an opportunity to break the dominance of the major league and sticking it to her family by rescheduling the IFL season now the only game in town to coincide with the traditional Fall football season Oh yeah she also happens to be owner of the IFL's Paterson Pork of Paterson New JerseyThis is the initial set up for LOST EMPRESS However believe me if this were merely another sports novel I wouldn't be writing this I'm not fond of that cliche ridden genré De la Pava uses football the way DeLillo uses baseball in his wonderful novel UNDERWORLD as a metaphor for elements in the greater American culture greed violence exploitation economic insanity It's about emergency medicine the American criminal justice system philosophy physicsLOST EMPRESS is about coincidences unseen networks It's a massively complex web of characters somehow all connected in one way or another Nuno DeAngeles in Rikers plotting his biggest score Jorge de Cervantes impaled while waiting at a bus stop and Larry Brown the EMT who responds Sharon Seaborg 911 operator and ex of Riker guard Hugh Seaborg Travis Mena MD and soon to be Paterson Pig mascot There's a missing Dali pugilistic contests between franchise mascots to determine ball possession the Paterson Pig versus the Maryland Crab the CERN collider and theoretical physics Joni Mitchell albums alternate timelines links to the Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian genocide There are 911 call transcripts court transcripts an inmate rulebook for New York City Department of Corrections even a full Motion to Dismiss document de la Pava uses many voices to tell the storyIt's fun to read and seeing how de la Pava effortlessly weaves all these characters and topics together is entertaining in itself I look forward to Sergio de la Pava's next novel


  6. says:

    repeat my usual plaint re the flaws of simple five star rating specifically i would break this out into sub ratings and i would give this book a five for ambition a four for creativity a two for execution and5 stars for authorial restrainti have long been out of the custom of reading maximal literary novels but i enjoyed Naked Singularity which has a loooot of the same charms and anti charms as this book and generally dig de la Pava's authorial persona he self published Naked S after getting rejected by a lot of agents and also I had a coupon on the kindle storeso this is a novel about a parallel universe where the NFL goes on strike and an XFL esue subaltern league rises to prominence thanks to the expertise of renegade NFL heiress who is basically a 1930s screwball heroine Nina meanwhile on Rikers Island a character who is clearly meant as a kind of non biological twin Nuno gets himself sent to Rikers on purpose in order to steal already stolen art hidden there These two stories creep toward one another with a bunch of detours and weirdnesses at its core and you have to do a lot of chewing to get to that core this is a novel about 1 the carceral state 2 football 3 the moloch blood god esue shared properties of items 1 2 it is at times impossibly funny punishingly accurate in its tossed off diagonses of social and spiritual woes of 21c americahumankind in general it is also a giant sloppy mess with huge skippable monologues about space time too much philosophizng and savagely undercooked plot mechanics it just doesn't really feel 100% finished which who knows is a book ever finished i think there is a killer 200 page novel in here about football prison and the shape of souls and i enjoyed reading those passages immensely i feel less positive about the other parts of the book but if i have to choose between deranged haymakers like this and dehydrated narrow introspection i will choose this book every time because it has jokes no one is making me choose but i am choosing to choose as a kind of ambient unsolicited hostile gesture


  7. says:

    If you look out over the landscape and all you see is post Carver MFA stuff “how I came of age in small town Indiana” Sergio de la Pava is the writer for you Now as someone who got serious about his own writing due to postmetamodern fiction you might say Sergio de la Pava is the writer for me as well And hey I do enjoy A Naked Singularity a great deal However if there’s one thing we all should learn from Lost Empress de la Pava’s third novel and second doorstopper it’s that those small town Indiana novels have a lot to teach us tooThis book has a whole host of problems problems that on the surface don’t seem too dissimilar from A Naked Singularity’s problems Well really I consider Singularity’s shortcomings uirks than anything else Features not bugs Singularity hews so close to David Foster Wallace’s super smart over caffeinated prose style it’s downright shocking it sometimes feels like de la Pava is brushing up for his PhD dissertation than writing a novel its characters sometimes come off as caricatures and there are moments where de la Pava dives so far deep down the rabbit hole that not even the most intrepid bunnies will follow I’m still a fan of that book though because it has a real sense of center Throughout the whole book I feel how exhausted Casi the skilled but overworked public defender is So I was perfectly happy to indulge de la Pava his tangents I knew he’d bring it back to Casi who by the way is uite the memorable character In the meantime I was happy to watch de la Pava’s brain work He’s a smart guy after all and sometimes it’s fun to just kinda listen to smart funny people talkWell de la Pava’s still pretty smart so if you’re worried he lost his signature sharpness by I don’t know huffing airplane glue or whatever no worries there He’s also pretty funny although I find the humor a lot broad here where the humor in Singularity came from his attention to his characters’ uirks What we lose and what his previous tome did so well is the human factor Other than the bits where Dia on her when we get into the plot raves about Joni Mitchell I don’t think anyone in this book expresses a recognizable human emotion and we all know the Joni Mitchell bits are really de la Pava raving about Joni Mitchell Incidentally he reveals himself here to have broader musical tastes than the butt metal he references all over Singularity I’d much rather hear a character hold forth about Joni Mitchell than Yngwie Malmsteen although both Pantera and Satriani rear their musically uninteresting heads here Pantera aside and I mean as far aside as we can put them it seems as though every character exists as a different embodiment of the various systems de la Pava wants to tell us about here Which isn’t exactly the path toward compelling fictionA word on the plot Lost Empress weaves two strands together One concerns Nuno the whip smart Rikers Island inmate attempting to do about fifty novels’ worth of stuff while he’s in there He’s there to steal a piece of art and avenge his uncle’s death and rail against the injustice of the system and the penal system really is unjust de la Pava’s a public defender he ought to know I’m also in writing group with a public defender I wonder if he’s read de la Pava and debate theology and argue with the court about the Khmer Rogue and in what clearly has to be one of the great “you’re fucking with me aren’t you” moments in 21st century literature take classes with a uantum physicist who may or may not be from a mysteeeeeeeeerious alternate dimension where the New England Patriots have won a ton of fucking Super Bowls Nuno in case you haven’t noticed is kind of whatever de la Pava needs him to be De la Pava doesn’t seem comfortable letting him stand up and walk around and inhabit his own world the way he did with Casi No if de la Pava has a point to prove Nuno is his mouthpiece The closest we get to true humanity from him is his deep abiding love of Dia again we’ll get to Dia but even then I hear a lot about their love but I don’t really feel it The Nuno bits are intermittently gripping and sometimes uite funny and they do give me a lot to think about but as a fictional character he doesn’t work I mean he talks like he’s defending his PhD thesis in every single situation he’s in and he can talk about basically any topic at great length often shutting down so called experts Don’t get me wrong I have no reason to doubt that a lot of highly intelligent people end up incarcerated but there’s a difference between putting a highly intelligent character in prison see Rachel Kushner’s far better Mars Room for that and putting a mouthpiece for a highly intelligent author in prison The de la Pava of Lost Empress reminds me of Nicholas Mosley and Martin Amis and Ben Marcus and my one coworker who got fired in that he’s the smartest guy in the room and everyone recognizes this and yet he still won’t rest until he’s demonstrated the fullest extent of his intelligence Like he’ll happily pour you a cup of coffee but get ready for a six hour lecture on where the coffee beans grew and the differences between each variety of bean and French press vs espresso vs cold brew vs drip Reader it isn’t lost on me that David Foster Wallace’s weakest material often falls into this same trapThe second strand concerns one Nina who I suppose is our “lost empress” Her brother manages the Dallas Cowboys who in this universe are a football powerhouse comparable to well the Patriots As a result of an NFL lockout Nina takes ownership of the minor league football team Patterson Pork and moves their schedule into the fall to fill the football void Apparently Trump tried a similar trick with a minor football league in the ‘80s and apparently he ran them into the ground because I guess when you’re rich you can just break stuff a football league a casino an entire country’s notion of truth and get away with it I’m not sure whether there were supposed to be parallels especially since Nina verbally barbecues a Trump stand in around page 500 She’s joined on her uest by one Dia who I guess sort of has a character arc in that she gets better at her job as time goes on And also talks a lot about Joni Mitchell Dia and Nuno were an item once upon a time before Nuno ended up in Rikers Hence Nuno’s deep abiding love for herI’m going to hone in on the Joni Mitchell stuff because de la Pava pulled a similar trick on A Naked Singularity and it ended up being one of my favorite things about the book Whole chapters of Singularity track the boxing career of Wilfred Benitez and at first I wondered where the hell he was going with it It didn’t take me long to work out that he was using Benitez as a parallel for Casi’s career and well I loved that The Benitez plot sheds light on the Casi plot and it’s also beautifully written Some of the best prose in that book is in the Benitez bits Some of the best prose in this book is in the Joni Mitchell bits and as a Joni Mitchell fan and a fan of writing about music in general I was certainly into them on face value But at the same point I’m not sure what point de la Pava was trying to make here Who does this shed light on? I’m sure it’s supposed to shed light on Dia but we just learn so frustratingly little about her that it doesn’t ring true It reads like de la Pava got on a roll with the first nine Joni Mitchell albums and just decided to dump his thoughts out on the page because hey he dumped out his thoughts about everything elseLook I know some fans of this book might jump on me for all the Naked Singularity comparisons but de la Pava is so clearly trying to go back to that well here Except I would wager he’s forgotten the big thing that worked about Singularity which was Casi We never see behind anyone’s facades here Nuno is always righteously pissed off and about six or seven steps ahead of all these other idiots even his one big moment of vulnerability the moment where I thought this book would finally break into real human territory is all part of the plan don’t ya know Nina is always steely eyed and condescending and determined to get ahead at the expense of everyone else Dia well I spent six hundred pages with Dia and I’m not sure what she is Good at her job? A fan of both metal and Joni Mitchell? Come on I need than this So you might wonder why I saw this book through Well I have to admit I was curious where de la Pava was going with this If you’ve read Singularity you know that it ends with a kick ass heist scene and its aftermath After a certain point I just wanted to know if I was going to get a big set piece for my troubles And I did the juxtaposition of a football game Pork vs Cowboys and I mean that isn’t even a spoiler if you didn’t see that coming you’d best get your eyes checked with an art heist It’s grippingly written no doubt about it but even then it doesn’t go as deep as the end of Singularity That ending worked both because it was so fascinating to follow and because it was the logical endpoint to Casi’s strange arc It has resonances this one doesn’t Which is the problem of the whole book Lost Empress sketches out some of the systems that drive our life All fine and good but A Naked Singularity shows us what it’s like to live under those systems And that my friends is what separates the best novels from the rest of ‘em


  8. says:

    A brilliant funny crude violent wildly inventive ensemble novel featuring an oligarch NFL owner a Rikers inmate a 911 dispatcher an EMT art thieves a genius parking garage attendant and my favorite character a sandwich deliverywoman turned fake lawyer turned into deputy commissioner of a semi pro football league This massive story is impossible to summarize It's also the best case I've read in ages for the continuing social relevance of the novelA man who doesn't read novels can never be a real man


  9. says:

    Frustrating book The winding of characters and even the bones of the story are good but too many sitcom dialogues lectures and eye rolling shortcuts on development of story and of character Audible book performances were pretty good but I’m too lazy to enter that edition in here myself


  10. says:

    We Americans live in a cartoonish country cartoonish now than ever Politically speaking it’s literally represented nearly every day through Patrick Chappatte’s work in the New York Times Yet the good old US of A’s cartoonish ness stems far beyond just politics This is not some ground breaking opinion; flip on a TV open a newspaper browse the Internet and you’ll see how mass media has become a caricature of what it once was I am not necessarily get off my lawn preaching that we’re nearing some apocalyptic end of times that things were so much better back in the old days even though I’m of the opinion that in many ways they were What does ring true however is the maximalist nature to which seemingly every aspect of modern society adheres to David Foster Wallace all but predicted this twenty years ago; several authors – imitators and tribute payors alike – have been attempting to evolve this More More More world ever since It’s difficult where to place Sergio de la Pava in all of this On one hand he’s a poignant observer a satirical savant Yet on the other he’s a product of his own environment; which is to say he’s presumably of the mindset that is indeed better If there were ever proof of this belief it’s de la Pava’s latest postmodern behemoth Lost EmpressThroughout de la Pava’s at times exhaustive at other times brilliant journey no subject goes untouched And damnit if it isn’t Lost Empress’s greatest strength and most obvious weakness as though the novel were playing an endless game of tug of war against itself When it works it’s hard not to find yourself utterly consumed by it And yet when it doesn’t it can’t end soon enough Needless to say it’s a work not just for our times but very much for RIGHT FRIGGIN' NOW Methinks this was de la Pava’s intention and subseuent approach to which I applaud It’s the execution I struggled with though not always On its surface Lost Empress tells the tale of Nina Gill the daughter of ailing Dallas Cowboys – America’s Team – owner Worthington Gill that name and architect of the team’s current dynasty Despite this the aging patriarch leaves control of the Cowboys to Nina’s idiot brother Daniel; she’s left with an entirely different franchise from an entirely different league the Paterson Pork of the Indoor Football League IFL But the NFL is on the precipice of a work stoppage; Nina sees this as an opportunity to capitalize by legitimizing both the Pork the IFL’s doormat and the IFL the NFL’s red headed stepchild so to speak itself Had Lost Empress taken a lesser streamlined approach this particular narrative would’ve been than enough to carry the weight But as aforementioned the novel does anything but While satirical in nature de la Pava’s observations on the current state of professional football are rather precise if not a little too on the nose at times More often than not the football centric conversations between his characters come off as a touch too contrived as though the parties in uestion had exhaustively researched football rather made a career out of it That being said 6 points to de la Pava for including Major Harris as one of his many many charactersMoreover de la Pava overstuffs Lost Empress with a variety of other issues and themes ranging anywhere from mental health to the justice system to female empowerment to Joni Mitchell and etcetera etcetera etcetera each to varying affect It’s as though the author has dumped a 3000 piece puzzle onto a table and said “here put this together” And just as you’re finally getting the edge pieces assembled he takes away your reference point only to provide you with an entirely new puzzle Simply put it doesn’t always connect In fact it’s probably easier to move on to something completely different altogether I for one stuck it out even though my attention started to really waver around page 400 and on until its conclusion Which may ultimately be the point of Lost Empress; at least for me it was We are absolutely uneuivocally and relentlessly consumed at every possible time from every possible direction Sergio de la Pava isn’t just aware of this but hyper aware to the point of creating a 600 page compartmentalized version of the right here and now The fact that said compartmentalized version be such a size speaks volumes for what you’re getting with Lost Empress Which is to say a lot Too much really


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