Ben Lerner

Published: 31 December 2014
Hardback, Demy HB
138x216mm, 256 pages
ISBN: 9781847088918


In the past year, the narrator of 10:04 has enjoyed unexpected literary success, been diagnosed with a potentially fatal heart condition, and been asked by his best friend to help her conceive a child. Now, in a New York of increasingly frequent superstorms and political unrest, he must reckon with his biological mortality, the possibility of a literary afterlife, and the prospect of (unconventional) fatherhood in a city that might soon be under water.

In prose that Jonathan Franzen has called 'hilarious... cracklingly intelligent... and original in every sentence', Lerner's new novel charts an exhilarating course through the contemporary landscape of sex, friendship, memory, art and politics, and captures what is like to be alive right now.

About the author

Image of Ben Lerner

Born in Kansas in 1979, Ben Lerner is the author of three books of poetry, The Lichtenberg Figures, Angle of Yaw, and Mean Free Path. He has been a finalist for the National Book Award, a Fulbright Scholar in Spain, and the recipient of a Howard Foundation Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2011, he became the first American to win the Münster Prize for International Poetry. He teaches in the writing program at Brooklyn College. His first novel, Leaving the Atocha Station, won the Believer Book Award, was shortlisted for the LA Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and was a finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award. His second novel, 10:04, will be published in January 2015. More about the author


‘Reading Ben Lerner gives me the tingle at the base of my spine that happens whenever I encounter a writer of true originality. He is a courageous, immensely intelligent artist who panders to no one and yet is a delight to read. Anyone interested in serious contemporary literature should read Ben Lerner, and 10:04 is the perfect place to start’ Jeffrey Eugenides, author



‘Ben Lerner is a brilliant novelist, and one unafraid to make of the novel something truly new. 10:04 is a work of endless wit, pleasure, relevance, and vitality’ Rachel Kushner, author

‘Lerner captures in often beautiful and sometimes hilarious style the rhythms, dissonances, and ambiguities of New York City... Lerner pulls this complex effort off with verve and a keen satiric eye and ear. This is a modern, very New York, and unique literary novel’

‘A rich, sophisticated novel ... Brilliant’

‘A funny, deeply observational metafictional romp’

‘In stunningly hypnotic prose... this masterful, at times dizzying novel re-evaluates not just what fiction can do but what it is. Hilarious and incisive... [it] achieves brilliance, at once a study of how fiction functions and an expansive catalog of life’

‘A generous, provocative, ambitious Chinese box of a novel... a near-perfect piece of literature, written with the full force of Lerner's intellectual, aesthetic, and empathetic powers, which are as considerable as they are vitalizing... A magnum opus’

‘Lerner packs so much brilliance and humor into each episode... Ingenious’

‘Lerner writes with a poet's attention to language... Brilliant’ Hari Kunzru

‘It's clear Ben Lerner is stupendously, murderously talented. 10:04 is clever, strange, funny and original’ Joe Dunthorne, author

‘'Lerner is among the most interesting young American novelists at present... In his books, little happens, yet everything happens. Small moments come steeped in vertiginous magic... A constantly vivid observer of the world [...], we come to relish seeing the world through [his] eyes’

‘A sneakily visionary novel masquerading as a comic one. The world Ben Lerner describes is recognizably ours. Why then is it so thrilling and unnerving to wander through it?’ Jenny Offill, author

‘Lerner's work is an ever-expanding universe... like the light from a dead star, 10:04 will illuminate you to yourself for a long time to come’


14/01/2015, 7pm

Ben Lerner discusses his highly anticipated second novel, 10:04, at Foyles

Meet the award-winning poet and innovative novelist Ben Lerner as he offers insight into his expanding literary repertoire and discusses his new novel 10:04. An observational novel that takes place within the cracks between reality and fantasy, 10:04 is an intensely intelligent examination of contemporary western culture. The book follows modern-day New Yorker 'Ben' - a writer whose situation has an uncanny likeness to Lerner himself - and his humourous insights into the tussle between his biological mortality and literary afterlife. Lerner's original writing style places this experimental new work at the forefront of contemporary literature and exposes the reader to the fabricated and fraudulent nature of memory and reality. Lerner's debut novel Leaving the Atocha Station received much critical acclaim, marking him out as a talented experimental writer of multiple forms, and has been described as 'beautiful and touching and precise' for its examination of experience by the Guardian. Enjoy an evening with one of modern literature's rising stars, absorbing Lerner's eloquent insights into literature, art and the world itself. Venue: The Auditorium at Foyles, Level 6, 107 Charing Cross Road Tickets: £5.
Foyles, 107 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0DT

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