The novel selected for the 2011 “A Novel Idea” program is Kapitoil
by Teddy Wayne.
Kapitoil has already received major accolades, earning Wayne a prestigious
fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and starred reviews from Publishers
Weekly and Booklist, which raved about his “wonderfully assured
debut novel, at once poignant, insightful, and funny.”
“The Library chose Teddy Wayne’s debut novel, Kapitoil, for the
unique quality of its storytelling and for its intuitive timeliness,” said
Novel Idea project director Chantal Strobel. “The novel is deftly told
through Karim Issar whose funny and often robotic observation of American culture
is both incisive and heart-wrenching. Kapitoil and the Novel Idea programs
will provide ample discussion and discovery for our communities to explore in April
“I look forward to my visit to Central Oregon with great anticipation, because, as
a writer, I work in a vacuum. I mean that literally; I have repurposed an industrial-sized
Hoover vacuum as my writing room. It’s drafty and dust-choked in here, and I expect
my time in your city to be stiller and cleaner.
Less facetiously, I am deeply honored that you have chosen to read Kapitoil as a
community. Unless your last name is Rowling, it is rare that you get a chance to
meet a stranger who has read your book, let alone several hundred, and rarer yet
that they have read and discussed it as a group. It gives me hope that fiction,
in the 21st century, can have the same cultural currency as other media. I predict
that I will learn the most from the experience of anyone, though I hope it proves
to be a worthwhile selection for you. Thank you, and I’ll see you in the spring.”
- Teddy Wayne
"This wonderfully assured debut novel, at once poignant, insightful, and funny,
details Karim's passage through a new world of corporate sharks, Manhattan clubs,
museums, Bob Dylan lyrics, and personal growth. Karim's English, always grammatically
correct but stilted with terms from science, mathematics, computing, and business,
is a delight. Best of all, however, is simply being inside Karim's head as he ponders
Jackson Pollock's paintings, baseball, programming, and the mysteries of love and
life in the U.S."
— Booklist (starred review)
"Wayne's strong and heartfelt debut novel...zips through a minefield of potential
clichés and comes out unscathed, striking a balance of humor and keen insight that
propels the story through Karim's education about the West's ethics and its capitalism,
while in the background the World Trade Center looms. It's a slick first novel that
beautifully captures a time that, in retrospect, seems tragically naïve."
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Affecting, timely, and frequently hilarious."
"[Karim]'s a type—the nerdy and needy young immigrant—that we’re all familiar with
but that no other writer, as far as I know, has invented such a funny and compelling
voice and story for...it does what novels can do better than any other art form:
Show us a familiar world through unfamiliar eyes."
—Jonathan Franzen in The Daily Beast
A Novel Idea…Read Together kicks off on April 10, 2011 with three weeks of
free cultural programs, book discussions, films, food tastings, music, and art –
and will culminate with author Teddy Wayne visiting Central Oregon April 28 –
About A Novel Idea
What would happen if everyone in Deschutes County read the same book? The benefits
could be as simple as building a sense of community through discussions of a mutual
interest or as complex as breaking down certain barriers within our county. Whatever
the outcome, “A Novel Idea...Read Together” celebrates the importance of books and
the role they play in our diverse community.