Who is Teddy Villanova?

Diversion Books
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Pulitzer Prize nominee and author of The Feud, Thomas Berger displays his genre bending prowess once more in this mystery turned comedy, featuring unforgettable dialogue and an extremely fun cast of characters.

“Berger’s style, which is one of the great pleasures of the book, is something like S.J. Perelman’s—educated, complicated, graceful, silly, destructive in spirit and brilliant.” —Leonard Michaels, New York Times Book Review

Russel Wren is a man of big words, only trapped in a small living space.

An unlicensed private eye with an equally unlicensed handgun, Russel’s one big case away from becoming a household name and being able to pay his rent. Until then, our loquacious hero is content with blending his work life with his home life—mostly by living in his office.

Or, he was content, until a huge man looking for a Teddy Villanova arrived not just to threaten Russel and pummel him senseless, but to mysteriously reappear as a corpse mere hours later. To make matters more complicated, Russel finds a letter addressed to Teddy Villanova from a man named Donald Washburn II posing a threat to Villanova as serious as the beating Russel endured on his behalf.

When the police who finally arrive to investigate the corpse in Russel’s office instead threaten to pin the murder on him and offer him his second beating of the day, Russel is certain of two things: First, that those are not real cops and second: someone, somewhere, has made a horrible mistake. Russel doesn’t just dive into this mystery to save his own life, but to fulfill his far-off dream of living on more than instant noodles.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Diversion Books
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Published on
Jul 12, 2016
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Pages
252
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ISBN
9781682306925
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Absurdist
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Thomas Berger
Thomas Berger
Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, The Feud chronicles a hilariously destructive rivalry between families from neighboring towns in 1930s America.

"I marked my copy of THE FEUD with a star wherever its blend of irony, parody and slapstick made me laugh out loud; some pages look like a map of the Milky Way." —The Washington Post Book World

“A comic masterpiece” —Anne Tyler

What begins as a small spat over an unlit cigar in a hardware store spirals out of control for Dolf Beller and Bud Bullard. Dolf has come to make good on a promise he made to his wife years ago. Feeling generous, he’s finally getting around to stripping the varnish off her dresser to reveal the mahogany within. It’s a job he’s never done before, and worst of all, the teenager that’s supposed to be helping him at the counter begins hassling him for chomping on an unlit cigar.

When Bud Jr. calls over his father to talk things out, Dolf is about ready for a fight. He just wasn’t prepared to have a gun drawn on him by a one of Bud Bullard’s relative—who just happened to be there and happened to love impersonating a police officer. Left embarrassed and begging for his life, Dolf goes home and tells a version of his story his pride can live with. He also bars his family from communicating with any of the Bullards. Conflict resolved.

Until the next day, when Bud’s hardware store goes up in flames and Dolf’s car explodes. Unable to see the incidents as unrelated, these two families enter a battle that’s as bitter as it is funny. With rich characters dotting every page, this is a Berger classic that can’t be put down.
Thomas Berger
“The truth is always made up of little particulars which sound ridiculous when repeated.” So says Jack Crabb, the 111-year-old narrator of Thomas Berger’s 1964 masterpiece of American fiction, Little Big Man. Berger claimed the Western as serious literature with this savage and epic account of one man’s extraordinary double life.

After surviving the massacre of his pioneer family, ten-year-old Jack is adopted by an Indian chief who nicknames him Little Big Man. As a Cheyenne, he feasts on dog, loves four wives, and sees his people butchered by horse soldiers commanded by General George Armstrong Custer. Later, living as a white man once more, he hunts the buffalo to near-extinction, tangles with Wyatt Earp, cheats Wild Bill Hickok, and fights in the Battle of Little Bighorn alongside Custer himself—a man he’d sworn to kill. Hailed by The Nation as “a seminal event,” Little Big Man is a singular literary achievement that, like its hero, only gets better with age.

Praise for Little Big Man
 
“An epic such as Mark Twain might have given us.”—Henry Miller
 
“The very best novel ever about the American West.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Spellbinding . . . [Crabb] surely must be one of the most delightfully absurd fictional fossils ever unearthed.”—Time
 
“Superb . . . Berger’s success in capturing the points of view and emotional atmosphere of a vanished era is uncanny. His skill in characterization, his narrative power and his somewhat cynical humor are all outstanding.”—The New York Times 


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Thomas Berger
“The truth is always made up of little particulars which sound ridiculous when repeated.” So says Jack Crabb, the 111-year-old narrator of Thomas Berger’s 1964 masterpiece of American fiction, Little Big Man. Berger claimed the Western as serious literature with this savage and epic account of one man’s extraordinary double life.

After surviving the massacre of his pioneer family, ten-year-old Jack is adopted by an Indian chief who nicknames him Little Big Man. As a Cheyenne, he feasts on dog, loves four wives, and sees his people butchered by horse soldiers commanded by General George Armstrong Custer. Later, living as a white man once more, he hunts the buffalo to near-extinction, tangles with Wyatt Earp, cheats Wild Bill Hickok, and fights in the Battle of Little Bighorn alongside Custer himself—a man he’d sworn to kill. Hailed by The Nation as “a seminal event,” Little Big Man is a singular literary achievement that, like its hero, only gets better with age.

Praise for Little Big Man
 
“An epic such as Mark Twain might have given us.”—Henry Miller
 
“The very best novel ever about the American West.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Spellbinding . . . [Crabb] surely must be one of the most delightfully absurd fictional fossils ever unearthed.”—Time
 
“Superb . . . Berger’s success in capturing the points of view and emotional atmosphere of a vanished era is uncanny. His skill in characterization, his narrative power and his somewhat cynical humor are all outstanding.”—The New York Times 


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Thomas Berger
“The characters in Best Friends...are...recognizably human in their weaknesses and their destinies. It is Berger's genius as an observer and storyteller that we never, for a moment, take our eyes off them.”—Jeffrey Frank, The Washington Post Book World

A moving story about childhood friendships falling under the strain of adulthood quickly becomes so much more in this tale that is as absurd as it is true to life from the author of Little Big Man.
Roy Courtright and Sam Grendy have been best friends for as long as either of them care to remember. As far as they’re concerned, they’re brothers, but sans the mess of a sibling rivalry. That they’re complete opposites has never mattered. Until now.

After Sam suffers a heart attack, Roy and Sam’s wife Kristen both find themselves wishing they had said more—to Sam, and to each other. Just as Roy begins to grapple with these new feelings for Kristen, things go from bad to worse. The woman Roy’s been meaning to break up with has been murdered.

What starts off as the charming tale of an oddball friendship quickly becomes a feast of shocking twists, heartbreak, and vengeance that only Thomas Berger could weave.

Additional Praise for Best Friends:

“Berger’s...style [is] at once elegant and casual, with his usual mix of sweetness and cynicism.”—Los Angeles Times

“[Berger’s] precise and exquisite dialogue [are] entertaining, even when the plot is ridiculous. And his deeply ironic view of the world we live in is refreshing, especially these days when irony is in short supply.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Incorrigibly subversive.”—The Hollywood Reporter

“[Best Friends] is, in fact, a compact accomplished novel of ideas. That Berger’s take on adultery, loyalty, friendship and myriad other intangibles is both deeply satirical and deeply felt is perhaps the book’s real wonder.” —LA Weekly

“No other writer can build a symphony of seriocomic confusion with such a sure touch. Berger’s terrific plot takes several unforeseen and unsettling turns en route to its savage denouement. And it’s capped by an absolute killer of a final sentence. Nobody writes them like Thomas Berger. Not to be missed.”—Kirkus Reviews
Thomas Berger
“The author creates a world in this book that is so corrupt, so consistently vicious, that innocence can glow visibly within his misunderstood protagonist. The plot gets nicely complicated...and the entire contraption claps together in a great, unpredictable, satisfying calamity.”—The New York Times Book Review

Thomas Berger, author of Pulitzer Prize-finalist The Feud, masterfully blurs the lines around reality in this breakneck thriller following one man's encounter with pure evil in high tops.

John Felton is a creature of habit. His job in real-estate comes with no surprises; it’s respectable work he can be proud of. Routine has been kind to him, but when a normal Monday of looking after the kids gets interrupted by a ringing of his doorbell, John may have to kiss his life of habit goodbye forever.

Richie is a man in need of some help. His car stalled just at the bottom of a hill near John’s home, he asks John for a push start. John, “conscious of a lifetime urge to do right,” has a hard time saying no. But a push start soon becomes a running start, and when John’s shirt gets snagged in the car door, Richie doesn’t offer an apology. He offers John a ride.

Not entirely sure himself why he agrees to join Richie, John steps into his car and is driven far away from the reality he once knew. From the thin thread of a shirt, John gets dragged into Richie’s frightening world, one event at a time.

To make matters worse, the longer he spends in Richie’s company the harder it is for the people around him to distinguish John from this curly-haired devil in a baseball cap. Can John put an end to Richie’s mad and murderous adventure before it reaches the most terrifying place of all—John’s very own home?

Additional praise for Meeting Evil:
“Spare, meticulous prose...sharply evocative of human weakness and rage.”—The Washington Post
Thomas Berger
Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, The Feud chronicles a hilariously destructive rivalry between families from neighboring towns in 1930s America.

"I marked my copy of THE FEUD with a star wherever its blend of irony, parody and slapstick made me laugh out loud; some pages look like a map of the Milky Way." —The Washington Post Book World

“A comic masterpiece” —Anne Tyler

What begins as a small spat over an unlit cigar in a hardware store spirals out of control for Dolf Beller and Bud Bullard. Dolf has come to make good on a promise he made to his wife years ago. Feeling generous, he’s finally getting around to stripping the varnish off her dresser to reveal the mahogany within. It’s a job he’s never done before, and worst of all, the teenager that’s supposed to be helping him at the counter begins hassling him for chomping on an unlit cigar.

When Bud Jr. calls over his father to talk things out, Dolf is about ready for a fight. He just wasn’t prepared to have a gun drawn on him by a one of Bud Bullard’s relative—who just happened to be there and happened to love impersonating a police officer. Left embarrassed and begging for his life, Dolf goes home and tells a version of his story his pride can live with. He also bars his family from communicating with any of the Bullards. Conflict resolved.

Until the next day, when Bud’s hardware store goes up in flames and Dolf’s car explodes. Unable to see the incidents as unrelated, these two families enter a battle that’s as bitter as it is funny. With rich characters dotting every page, this is a Berger classic that can’t be put down.
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