The Impossible Fortress: A Novel

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A love letter to the 1980s and to nerds everywhere—The Impossible Fortress will make you remember what it feels like to love someone—or something—for the first time.

Billy Marvin’s first love was his computer.

Then he met Mary Zelinsky.

Do you remember your first love?

It’s May 1987. Fourteen-year-old Billy Marvin of Wetbridge, New Jersey, is a nerd, but a decidedly happy nerd. Afternoons are spent with his buddies, watching copious amounts of television, gorging on Pop-Tarts, debating who would win in a brawl (Rocky Balboa or Freddy Krueger? Bruce Springsteen or Billy Joel? Magnum P.I. or T.J. Hooker?), and programming video games on his Commodore 64 late into the night. Then Playboy magazine publishes photos of their idol, Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna White, Billy meets expert computer programmer Mary Zelinsky, and everything changes.

“A sweet and surprising story about young love” (A.V. Club), and a “quirky, endearing, full embrace of the late eighties” (USA TODAY), The Impossible Fortress will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you remember in exquisite detail what it feels like to love for the very first time. Heralded as one of the most anticipated novels of 2017 by Entertainment Weekly, Bustle, and InStyle.com, The Impossible Fortress is a surefire “unexpected retro delight” (Booklist, starred review).
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About the author

Jason Rekulak was born and raised in New Jersey. He has worked for many years at Quirk Books, where he edits a variety of fiction and nonfiction. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two children. The Impossible Fortress is his first novel. To learn more and play a version of The Impossible Fortress game, visit JasonRekulak.com.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Feb 7, 2017
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9781501144431
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Action & Adventure
Fiction / Coming of Age
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A tender affair and the redemptive power of art are at the core of this compelling novel from National Book Award finalist Allegra Goodman, “a romantic realist who dazzles with wit [and] compassion” (The Wall Street Journal).

Collin James is young, creative, and unhappy. A college dropout, he waits tables and spends his free time beautifying the streets of Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his medium of choice: chalk. Collin’s art captivates passersby with its vibrant colors and intricate lines—until the moment he wipes it all away. Nothing in Collin’s life is meant to last. Then he meets Nina. . . .

The daughter of a tech mogul who is revolutionizing virtual reality, Nina Lazare is trying to give back as a high school teacher—but her students won’t listen to her. When Collin enters her world, he inspires her to think bigger. Nina wants to return the favor—even if it means losing him.

Against this poignant backdrop, Allegra Goodman paints a tableau of students, neighbors, and colleagues: Diana, a teenage girl trying to make herself invisible; her twin brother, Aidan, who’s addicted to the games produced by Nina’s father; and Daphne, a viral-marketing trickster who unites them all, for better or worse.

Wise, warm, and enchanting, The Chalk Artist is both a finely rendered portrait of modern love and a celebration of all the realms we inhabit: real and imagined, visual and virtual, seemingly independent yet hopelessly tangled.

Praise for The Chalk Artist

“The virtual world Goodman conjures is as feverishly vivid as it is mysterious and alluring. Not since I pushed my way through C. S. Lewis’s fusty mothballed wardrobe and stepped out into the frozen, pine-scented forests of Narnia can I remember being so effectively transported into a viscerally, sometimes terrifyingly plausible alternate universe. . . . This is a novel full of wit and spark. . . . Irresistible and arresting.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Enjoyably sharp dialogue and convincing portraits of multiple mindsets and terrains . . . One can’t help but marvel at how Goodman has captured the atmosphere of this virtual fantasy land so effectively in words.”—NPR

“Mesmerizing depictions of virtual-reality landscapes of ‘Neverwhen’ and ‘Underworld’ make the games’ dangerous power over one of Nina’s students very real.”—People

“Goodman’s latest combines fantastical flourishes (an imagined video game called ‘Underworld’) and realistic Cambridge details . . . in a narrative about art and ambition.”—The Boston Globe

“Allegra Goodman creates suspense where you might least expect to find it.”—The Atlantic
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Winter is coming. Such is the stern motto of House Stark, the northernmost of the fiefdoms that owe allegiance to King Robert Baratheon in far-off King’s Landing. There Eddard Stark of Winterfell rules in Robert’s name. There his family dwells in peace and comfort: his proud wife, Catelyn; his sons Robb, Brandon, and Rickon; his daughters Sansa and Arya; and his bastard son, Jon Snow. Far to the north, behind the towering Wall, lie savage Wildings and worse—unnatural things relegated to myth during the centuries-long summer, but proving all too real and all too deadly in the turning of the season.
 
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