2 A.M. in Little America
A San Francisco Chronicle “Most Anticipated Novel of 2022”
A Literary Hub “Most Anticipated Book of 2022”
From “an important writer in every sense” (David Foster Wallace), a novel that imagines a future in which sweeping civil conflict has forced America’s young people to flee its borders, into an unwelcoming world.
One such American is Ron Patterson, who finds himself on distant shores, working as a repairman and sharing a room with other refugees. In an unnamed city wedged between ocean and lush mountainous forest, Ron can almost imagine a stable life for himself. Especially when he makes the first friend he has had in years—a mysterious migrant named Marlise, who bears a striking resemblance to a onetime classmate.
Nearly a decade later—after anti-migrant sentiment has put their whirlwind intimacy and asylum to an end—Ron is living in “Little America,” an enclave of migrants in one of the few countries still willing to accept them. Here, among reminders of his past life, he again begins to feel that he may have found a home. Ron adopts a stray dog, observes his neighbors, and lands a repairman job that allows him to move through the city quietly. But this newfound security, too, is quickly jeopardized, as resurgent political divisions threaten the fabric of Little America. Tapped as an informant against the rise of militant gangs and contending with the appearance of a strangely familiar woman, Ron is suddenly on dangerous and uncertain ground.
Brimming with mystery, suspense, and Kalfus’s distinctive comic irony, 2 A.M. in Little America poses several questions vital to the current moment: What happens when privilege is reversed? Who is watching and why? How do tribalized politics disrupt our ability to distinguish what is true and what is not? This is a story for our time—gripping, unsettling, prescient—by one of our most acclaimed novelists.
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Praise and Prizes
“Ken Kalfus is American literature’s best-kept secret: his ideas are weird, his writing is limber, his ironic eye is gimlet, and yet no one seems to talk about him. Maybe that will change with [2 A.M. in Little America] . . . I’ve been waiting for a new novel from him since 2013’s insane, high-concept Equilateral, and I can’t wait to dig in.”
"2 A.M. in Little America is my favorite book by one of America's great living writers. It is uncanny, insightful, thrilling, beautiful, and always overflowing with pleasures."
“In its melding of migration narrative, romance, and political thriller, Ken Kalfus’s wondrous tale of a dystopian future, 2 A.M. in Little America, transforms home into a story we tell ourselves and others, one as subject to the failures of our memories as to the deceptions of our imaginations. Its tale of the collision between those narratives and real life innovates and turns pages, sings and whispers of its, and thereby our, Little Americas.”