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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 6, 2004

Fiction Writer David Gilbert Reads On 'Live From Prairie Lights' Oct. 19

Fiction writer David Gilbert will read from "The Normals," his debut novel, at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19 on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910.

The reading, hosted by Julie Englander, will be a free event at the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Listen on the Internet at <>.

Douglas Coupland called Gilbert's novel, "Relentlessly intelligent, a very good read, and an experience you'll want to stretch out as long as you can." And Andrew Sean Greer described the book as "the perfect allegory for the times -- our Catch-22, our Generation X -- a masterpiece of cultural riffing. The first great comic novel of the century."

A Publishers Weekly preview described the plot: "Billy Schine is a wanted man, in the worst possible way. A glum, rudderless 28-year-old Harvard grad, he has defaulted on his student loan, and the brutish collection agency that has taken over his debt is not playing around. To escape, Billy quits his temp job and hightails it out of Manhattan to be a guinea pig in an experimental drug trial.

"As the title of Gilbert's witty first novel suggests, Billy is part of a healthy control group used to ferret out the possible side effects of an anti-psychotic. Gilbert, author of the short story collection 'Remote Feed,' surrounds Billy with an oddball cast of normals, including an aspiring actor who practices his craft by faking symptoms and an oversexed femme fatale on a very self-involved quest.

"But the book's most compelling action is interior, as Billy grapples with his place in life and tries to come to terms with his parents' kamikaze love for each other."

Gilbert's stories have appeared in the New Yorker, Harper's, GQ and Bomb.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

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