A May/June 2003 Booksense 76 selection.
"A foul-mouthed misanthropic poet
from a obscure corner of Europe
inspires, in turn, a struggling
college in the American West; a
superstar professor who decides to stop
speaking; and the lucky-in-love misfit student
who must watch the professor (in case he
starts speaking again). Thus runs the plot for
Jordan Ellenberg's The Grasshopper
King--both the funniest campus novel in ages,
and a slippery, serious-minded investigation
of what happens when good languages go
bad. If that's not enough, the novel also offers
sterling examples of competitive checkers;
misguided institutional architecture; "ling-fic"
(see below); syncretic cosmogonical folklore; and reasons why people regret ever
leaving New York."
"A brilliant debut: Jordan Ellenberg's The Grasshopper King is perhaps the funniest and best-written 'college' novel I've read since Pale Fire-with a considerably more appealing cast of characters than Nabokov's."
"Jordan Ellenberg's one of the funniest, flashiest, zaniest, cleverest and also one of the most intelligent and knowledgeable new young writers around. His first novel, The Grasshopper King, sometimes seems to have been written by the Marx Brothers; other times it's just strong, sharp satire and a good story. If it brings half the laughs and enjoyment to the reader as it did to me, it'll be pure pleasure."
"Campus novels often tend toward the parochial or
the arcane, but Ellenberg breathes fresh air into the genre."
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