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May's selection will be the much-acclaimed novel The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman.
Let’s be frank: the literary world has not exactly been clamoring for a post-postmodern noir-inflected sci-fi comedy. But now that it’s here, in the form of Ned Beauman’s pyrotechnic second novel, The Teleportation Accident, the real question is what to make of it.
Is this an impressive leap forward for an already celebrated author whose first novel, Boxer, Beetle (2010), won several awards and near-universal critical acclaim? Is it a high-wire act in 370 pages? Or is The Teleportation Accident a self-indulgent, if frequently hilarious, fictional construct that sometimes reads as if John Barth, Philip Roth (at his randiest) and the late Richard Brautigan were all shouting at the reader at once?
In short: Yes.
The central conceit of the book is, oddly enough, wholly traditional: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy tries to win girl back. In Beauman’s hands, however, that hoary trope is stretched, tweaked, twisted and filigreed into so many risky shapes that it’s easy to lose track of the fact that the author is not simply showing off. Or rather, heis showing off — but he’s showing off in the service of spinning an astonishingly intricate and ultimately satisfying yarn.