For Fame, For A Mid-Six-Figure Advance, And For Yale

It’s a rare thing when Gawker is unwilling to pierce someone’s over-inflated ego before we are, but today is one of those days. The mystery young Yalie novelist appears to be one Nick Antosca. No one seems willing to confirm that he sent that charming email to the New York Daily News’ Chris Rovzar, but the facts match, and a commenter on Gawker linked to a charming story written by him.)

Current New Republic reporter-researcher Eve Fairbanks recently offered a brief history of Antosca’s nascent literary career in “Every Nation Needs a Tsar” a Wolfean wade through the Atlantic Monthly slush-pile for the Yale Daily News Magazine:

Nick is one of the best undergraduate fiction writers on the scene, according to his former professor, John Crowley, who has taught fiction at Yale for nine years. He is certainly one of the most serious: He has been widely published in online and small press forums, and he has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He took the fall semester off of school to work on his second novel.

“Nick tells me he wrote his first novel in a manic burst of energy, 60,000 words in 11 days. “I was really excited about it,” he says. “Dangerously excited. I went back and read it, and thought I had gone insane.” Nick has long eyelashes that remind me of a camel’s, a five-o’clock shadow, and an aloofly seductive air. His camel eyes droop languidly to where I’ve made note of his words, and he pauses, revises. “I mean, not insane. I was just excited to find out that I could write a novel, you know?”

“…[H]e is restrained when discussing his work. When I ask him, “Why do you write?” he explains that there’s no good answer because the question is reductive and facile: It’s all about finding the balance between storytelling, character and style. His favorite author is Vladimir Nabokov, because “his evocations are so idiosyncratic. He’s just a beautiful writer.” The craft of fiction writing, the manipulation of the raw material of language, thrills him, and he’s excited because he’s beginning to master it.

But Antosca isn’t as generous with all his fellow Yalie first-time novelists as his e-mail pimping of his roommate’s book might suggest. See last year’s Yale Herald reviewof Natalie Krinsky‘s first novel Chloe Does Yale:

“Ultimately, though, what makes the book a grueling read is simply the prose. Whether Chloe is flitting around “in a crazed state of madness” or just amiably abusing her haggard stable of adverbs (“excitedly,” “sternly,” “angrily,” etc.), you can be sure she’s not wasting much thought on how to compose a decent sentence. Virtually every paragraph of Chloe contains either a leaden cliche or a glaring (and oblivious) authorial misstep. The sentences seem to cringe as you read them — they’re understandably humiliated to be seen in such penurious surroundings, dressed in such rags. Chloe, poker-faced, offers up narration like, “I swallow my tongue and smile sweetly.” The reader will be relieved to know that Chloe does not choke to death in the next paragraph, and indeed totters cheerfully off on her heels toward the book’s conclusion.

Remember that karma can be a bitch, Nick.