Blue Ruin: A novel (Hardcover)

Blue Ruin: A novel By Hari Kunzru Cover Image
On Our Shelves Now
On hand as of Jul 15 9:21pm


A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK • From one of the sharpest voices in fiction today, a profound and enthralling novel about beauty and power, capital, art and those who devote their lives to creating it

Once, Jay was an artist. After graduating from art school in London, he was tipped for greatness, a promising career taking shape before him. That was not to happen. Now, undocumented in the United States, having survived Covid, he lives out of his car and barely makes a living as an essential worker, delivering groceries in a wealthy area of upstate New York. One day, as Jay attempts to make a delivery at a house surrounded by acres of woods, he is confronted by his destructive past: Alice, a former lover from his art school days, and the friend she left him for. Recognizing Jay’s dire circumstances, Alice invites him to stay on their property—where an erratic gallery owner and his girlfriend are isolating as well—setting in motion a reckoning that has been decades in the making.

Gripping and brilliantly orchestrated, Blue Ruin moves back and forth through time, delivering an extraordinary portrait of an artist as he reunites with his past and confronts the world he once loved and left behind.

About the Author

HARI KUNZRU is the author of six novels, Red Pill, White Tears, Gods Without Men, My Revolutions, Transmission, and The Impressionist. The recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy in Berlin, and the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library, he is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books and writes the “Easy Chair” column for Harper's Magazine. He lives in Brooklyn and teaches in the Creative Writing Program at New York University.

Praise For…

“Kunzru brings his singular mix of dread and intrigue to his latest fiction, an intricate tale of artistic creation, greed and exploitation set in upstate New York under the specter of Covid.”
The New York Times Book Review

“A provocative portrait of a once-promising artist as a disillusioned man of a certain age.”
TIME Magazine

Blue Ruin is bracingly intelligent and often just plain beautiful . . . The seamy, drug-crazed, millenarian atmosphere of the 90s British art world, with its intermingled idealism and cynicism, is brilliantly evoked . . . The use of artworks—a difficult trick in fiction—is especially impressive in Blue Ruin . . . [Blue Ruin is] a reminder that fiction, at its best, is a place to encounter new experiences and dwell in big ideas. Kunzru is known for ambitious novels that bring politics to rich, imaginative life; Blue Ruin shows him at the top of his game.”
— Sandra Newman, The Guardian 

“[Blue Ruin is a] sharp dissection of the oily inner workings of the art world, and a compelling portrait of one man’s desperate attempt to escape complicity in the capitalist machine . . . [Kunzru’s] portrait of east London in the 1990s has real texture, grit and grunge rubbing up against the crude new money of the exploding art scene.”
—Lucy Scholes, Financial Times

“I read everything Hari Kunzru writes, for my highest pleasure and my deepest sustenance.”
—Rachel Kushner

“[Blue Ruin] promises to be harrowing and darkly funny. Kunzru has a knack for the nightmarish present, and few things feel more nightmarish than a forced confrontation with the past in the early stages of the pandemic.”
—Lit Hub, “Most Anticipated Books of 2024”

“Kunzru’s [Blue Ruin] is a triumph of beauty and a true ode to the artist.”
—Oprah Daily, “Most Anticipated Books of 2024”

“Kunzru takes on the excessive and rapacious tendencies of the art world in his dazzling latest . . . [Blue Ruin] is immensely satisfying.”
Publishers Weekly, starred

“A lively, ever-intensifying story of race, immigration, work, and what it means to earn a living . . . [Blue Ruin is] a darkly ironic tale of two bubbles—an art world divorced from economic reality and a Covid era that segregated us from society . . . A dark, smart, provocative tale of the perils of art making.”
Kirkus, starred

“Exquisite writing and keen insights into class tensions and creative dilemmas. Kunzru affirms that it’s always a good time to live an examined life, even during a pandemic.”
Booklist, starred

“Brilliant . . . Coincidence is a dangerous narrative tool to mess around with, but Kunzru pulls it off in Blue Ruin thanks to the subtle characterizations and intricate layers with which he expands his premise. Buried resentments and jettisoned ambitions come to the fore as Kunzru explores themes of racism, opportunism and the inequities of privilege and hardship. The result is an exceptional work that finds new variations on the familiar chestnut that people aren’t always what they seem.”
BookPage, starred

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593801376
ISBN-10: 0593801377
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: May 14th, 2024
Pages: 272
Language: English