LEMON, by Lawrence Krauser (fiction, 2001), was the first novel to be published by McSweeney's Books. LK hand-doodled 10,000 individual book covers for the U.S. edition, and 1,000 more for the Dutch. In 2015 he completed a feature film version of the story called Wendell and the Lemon.


Lemon is sublime.” (Dartmouth Contemporary)

“His prose is immaculate; his premise, patently ridiculous.” (New York Times)

“A wise and poetic, gorgeously written literary gem.” (Mass Media, U Mass, Boston student paper)

“The perfect marriage of stunning intellect, a soaring sense of humor, and an intimate understanding of the absurd.” (greenapplebooks.com)

“Armed with a sense of humor that could cut a tomato paper thin after hacking an aluminum can in half.” (Staff Recommendation, University Bookstore, Seattle)

Lemon moves through you like a dream. Its voice is a whisper one moment and a roar the next, its rhythms soothe you with an odd familiarity. And while you’re in it, it makes perfect sense. It’s a love story like none before . . . Exquisite.” (Matt Herlihy)

Everyone. Hated. It. Passionately. And that made it the best meeting we’d ever had. We argued over which parts we hated more. We pondered our own proclivities for certain inanimate objects. (What’s said in the book club, stays in the book club.) I believe there may have been some yelling. Then we all had to admit that since we felt so strongly about it, maybe we actually loved it. I think we did.” (kimsaid.com)

Lemon is an exhilarating first novel . . . Krauser’s prose floats through frames of emotional distraction and focus: jumps, deflates, and then sings. Comparisons to Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground and Nikolai Gogol’s “Diary of a Madman” or “The Nose” may seem appropriate, but they are probably too close to the point. Krauser’s sweeping inflections of Franz Kafka and James Joyce, even John Barth, are set against robust ironic anglings reminiscent of Thomas Pynchon, William S. Burroughs, and a shaker-full of Hunter S. Thompson. Lemon is a must-read.” (Ernest Hilbert, NowCulture.com)

“The point of Lemon is not that there is a point, a plot, or an epiphanic climax. The point is the journey, which takes you into and out of a very peculiar spot without ever making you feel like you’re moving very much. It’s got plenty of story, along with plenty of affably postmodern showmanship, and its language begs to be read aloud. If this novel is any indication, the McSweeney’s house style of innovative prose surfaces, plus old fashioned wonder, plus fascination with very unorthodox opinions and states of mind, seems to be heading somewhere good. In the long term, Lemon could appeal (sorry) far beyond the confines of a cult audience.” (mindjack.com)










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