The Book of Formation

The Book of Formation

by Ross Simonini


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This debut novel—told in interviews—spans 20 years in the rise and fall of the charismatic leader of a seductive self-help movement.

In the 1990s, a talk show host leads the "personality movement," an integrative approach to radical self-transformation. Mayah, the movement's architect and celebrity advocate, adopts a curious, wild child named Masha Isle. A guinea-pig for the movement, and the key to its future, Isle is the subject of the eight interviews that comprise this book.

As the interviewer's objectivity disintegrates—even as the movement's legitimacy becomes increasingly suspect—he becomes obsessed with Masha. And all of that is thrown into question when tragedy strikes.

The stunning debut of a new literary talent, and a fascinating take on the cult of personality: about celebrities need to destroy and recreate themselves to stay relevant, public personalities coming to belong to everyone, and about our need to see everyone as a kind of celebrity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612196688
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
Publication date: 11/14/2017
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Ross Simonini is an writer, artist and musician living in New York and California. He is the interviews editor for The Believer and contributes to the New York Times, McSweeneys, and Interview magazine. He exhibits art internationally and is a member of the band NewVillager. He teaches seminars at Columbia University on speaking, sound, and process. His first novel, The Book of Formation was published by Melville House.

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