A book mostly set in the heart of the country at a very particular time, but with leaps of time and locale, Ben Lerner’s new novel, The Topeka School (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), is a brilliant story of formative times for a young man coming of age, finding his way and his voice.
"In Ben Lerner’s riveting third novel, Midwestern America in the late nineties becomes a powerful allegory of our troubled present. The Topeka School deftly explores how language not only reflects but is at the very center of our country’s most insidious crises. In prose both richly textured and many-voiced, we track the inner lives of one white family’s interconnected strengths and silences . . . This is Lerner’s most essential and provocative creation yet." —Claudia Rankine.
"The Topeka School is what happens when one of the most discerning, ambitious, innovative, and timely writers of our day writes his most discerning, ambitious, innovative and timely novel to date … This book is a prehistory of a deeply disturbing national moment, but it’s written with the kind of intelligence, insight, and searching that makes one feel well-accompanied and, in the final hour, deeply inspired." —Maggie Nelson.
"Ben Lerner has redefined what it means for a writer to inhabit an American present by showing how a family reckons with its past. Here the personal and political are masterfully interwoven. The Topeka School is brave, furious, and, finally, a work of love." —Ocean Vuong.
In addition to his other works of fiction, 10:04 and Leaving the Atocha Station and a polemic on poetry, Ben Lerner is also the author of three books of poems from Copper Canyon Press.