Tentative Cover - do not use
Tentative Cover - do not use

Here’s a difficult one to categorize. Where would you put a book like this?:

“A hurricane sweeps off the Gulf of Mexico and, in the back country of Alabama, assembles a passenger jet out of old bean cans and junkyard waste. This piques the interest of the enigmatic Directorate of the Extremely Improbable.”

This event sets of a series of other weird events. Characters include an eccentric mathematician working on the physics of free will, a lovelorn Cambridge postgrad, and a member of the Directorate with no capacity for imagination. Needless to say, I was intrigued. So I flipped to a random page of the advance copy on my desk and read the following:

Rob was better at it than Alex. Alex thought about this as he chewed his potato. Something something in something something? Something something of something something? Something something to something something? The something something something something?

That set him off thinking about the sentence that Rob had once asked him to make sense of: “Dogs dogs dog dog dogs.” When Rob had explained it–dogs that other dogs pester (dog) in turn pester other dogs–Alex had tried it on Carey. She’d failed to be as impressed as he’d hoped. She’d said, with a sad sigh: ‘Yeah. That’s about the way it goes.’

Well, that one’s in the queue. Congratulations Sam Leith on writing an intriguing first novel. Want it to be in your queue too? We have about 8 ARCs to give out. Comment below to get one!

A "Wait…what?" debut

Category: Musings


  • Do you catalog it as Mathematical philosophy– satire? Or Parapsychology — humor — fiction? However you try to classify it, it sounds delightful!

  • Sounds like a very entertaining book. Looking forward to reading it!

  • Wow. This one sounds interesting. But possibly a hard sell. How do you describe a book like that to patrons? Looking forward to reading it.

  • Looking forward to reading this one. Might be good to categorize among other quirky humor books.

  • Sounds like a second cousin to Jasper’s Fforde’s Thursday Next series, one of my favorites!

  • I’m often a fan of Books That Feature Mysterious Government Departments. I’d take a copy!

  • Hey, I parsed that sentence immediately! I love books that twist and turn and park us in slightly alternate universes. You correctly steered me to Night Circus, and I am hoping for another great find like that one.

  • Intriguing. Always like a book that amuses me while making other people say “Huh?” Actually its good even if I’m the one saying “Huh?”.

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