Thaddeus Rutkowski

Haywire: A Novel

Composed of 49 flash stories narrated by the son of a Polish-American artist father and a Chinese mother, Thaddeus Rutkowski's deadpan, darkly funny third novel spirals out from the insular life of a biracial teenager into a surrealistic, giddy page-turner via the narrator's obsessive fetishism, and the reader is pulled along by the nose ring through a heady combination of literary and voyeuristic appeal. Our narrator eventually learns to get along with, even love, the people around him, but the feeling doesn't come easily. John Barth has called Rutkowski's work "tough and funny and touching and harrowing," and Alison Lurie has said, "Once you've read his low-key, continually surprising fiction, the world will look different to you — maybe just for an hour, maybe forever."

"Heir of Denis Johnson and Richard Brautigan — Rutkowski infuses music, light and wonder in HAYWIRE. This is a cool and inspired story of Americans we know too little about. There is humor, curiosity and sadness in every scene. Rutkowski is brilliant."   Min Jin Lee, author of FREE FOOD FOR MILLIONAIRES

"Rutkowski's newest work, HAYWIRE, leverages the maximal amount of pleasure from a compressed and muscular prose. With the precision of a dungeon master, he is able to winch the wheel, line by line, in order to extract so many of life's honest, erotic and wickedly amusing moments."   Arthur Nersesian, author of MESOPOTAMIA

"Thad Rutkowski's elegantly paced novel of an eccentric childhood and adolescence carefully skirts the edge of psychological revelation, the hints of bondage and discipline coursing below the surface like a pike in a goldfish pond. Nothing fazes the narrator as his tale unfolds, vaguely familiar but totally unique, shaped by random forces and the follies of well meaning but dysfunctional parents. A slyly comic and deeply honest account of the pleasures and discomforts of family life in suburban America."   Max Blagg, author of PINK INSTRUMENT

"HAYWIRE aims high and succeeds brilliantly. Fractured, witty, vibrant — Rutkowski gives us his whole life, from stabbing butterflies to sitting through group therapy, but doles it out in bite-sized chunks that never seem forced. Fine writing and hilarity were to be expected — what surprises is the underlying message of hope in an unforgiving world. You will cheer his victories."   Ned Vizzini, author of BE MORE CHILL and IT'S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY

"Thaddeus Rutkowski is the original language gangster. He tips over words and lets them fall on top of you. Take a trip through the funny funnel of Rutkowski's crazed and crazy world and you'll feel the heartbeat of a national crisis almost too far gone to save."   Ed Lin, author of SNAKES CAN'T RUN