“This masterful, at times dizzying novel reevaluates not just what fiction can do but what it is.” —Tiffany Gibert, Time Out New York (five-star review)
In the last year, the narrator of 10:04 has enjoyed unlikely literary success, has been diagnosed with a potentially fatal medical condition, and has been asked by his best friend to help her conceive a child. In a New York of increasingly frequent superstorms and social unrest, he must reckon with his own mortality and the prospect of fatherhood in a city that might soon be underwater. A writer whose work Jonathan Franzen has called “hilarious . . . cracklingly intelligent . . . and original in every sentence,” Lerner captures what it’s like to be alive now, during the twilight of an empire, when the difficulty of imagining a future is changing our relationship to both the present and the past. “Mr. Lerner is among the most interesting young American novelists at present . . . In 10:04, he’s written a striking and important novel of New York City, partly because he’s so cognizant of both past and present. He’s a walker in the city in conscious league with Walt Whitman . . . We come to relish seeing the world through this man’s eyes.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times
Ben Lerner was born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1979. His first novel, Leaving the Atocha Station, won the 2012 Believer Book Award, and excerpts from 10:04 have been awarded The Paris Review’s Terry Southern Prize. Lerner is a professor of English at Brooklyn College.