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The End of the Book

A Novel

Yellow Shoe Fiction

232 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / no illustrations

ebook available


  Paperback / 9780807156223 / February 2014
The End of the Book is the story of an aspiring contemporary novelist who may or may not be writing a sequel to Sherwood Anderson’s classic Winesburg, Ohio. Adam Clary works in Chicago for a famous internet company on a massive project to digitize the world’s books, but secretly he hates his job and wishes to be a writer at a time when the book as physical object and book culture itself have never been more threatened.
Counterpointing Adam’s story is that of George Willard, the young protagonist of Anderson’s book, who arrives in Chicago around 1900 when it was the fastest-growing city in American history. Through alternating chapters, we follow George’s travails, including his marriage to the wealthy daughter of his boss, his affair with his hometown sweetheart, his artistic crisis, breakdown and flight, and along the way we see the echoes and intersections between his life and Adam’s as they struggle in two similar Americas through two similar times in the life of the book.

Porter Shreve is the author of three previous novels: The Obituary Writer was a New York Times Notable Book, and Drives Like a Dream and When the White House Was Ours were both Chicago Tribune Books of the Year. Shreve is coeditor of six anthologies, and his fiction, nonfiction, op-eds and book reviews have appeared in Salon, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. He has taught at several universities, including Michigan, Purdue, and the University of San Francisco. A native of Washington, D.C., he spent a number of years in Chicago and the Midwest, and now lives with his wife and children in the Bay Area.

Praise for The End of the Book

"Porter Shreve’s novel, The End of the Book, had me from the very start of the story and never let go. The way that form, which begins as counterpoint, gradually becomes the conflation of time is touching and beautiful in the way that it is effortlessly accomplished.”—Stuart Dybek, author of I Sailed With Magellan and The Coast of Chicago

"Porter Shreve's charming new novel 'The End of the Book' harks back to a previous era of storytelling in order to raise some big questions about the future of books as we know them and even about the very act of reading itself." —San Francisco Chronicle

"This is entertaining, insightful fiction..."—Washington Post [full review]

"One of the more piquant pleasures of Porter Shreve’s The End of the Book—a novel that offers the attentive reader a surfeit of pleasure—are the contrasting sensory details of Chicago near the turn of two centuries."—BookPage [full review]

“In all, Shreve offers a winning combination of history, clarity of plot, and subtle literary playfulness. Chicago in its most iconic guise appears on nearly every page. For many, The End of the Book will be a strong candidate for the nightstand.”—Chicago Book Review

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