Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Alex Shaker  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Born: 1968 in Brooklyn, NY

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Alex now lives in Chicago, Illinois

Biographical and Professional Information

Alex Shakar’s latest novel, Luminarium, was the winner of the 2011 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction. It was also named a Notable Book of the year by The Washington Post, an Editor’s Choice by The New York Times, and a best book of the year by Publishers Weekly, Booklist, the Austin Chronicle, and the Kansas City Star. His novel The Savage Girl was a New York Times Notable Book. His story collection City in Love won the FC2 National Fiction Competition. A Brooklyn native, he now lives in Chicago, and teaches fiction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

The Savage Girl
ISBN: 0066209870

Harper. 2001

In the wake of her sister Ivy's widely publicized suicide attempt, Ursula Van Urden arrives in the metropolis of Middle City with hopes of starting her own life anew. In an attempt to understand the events leading up to her sister's breakdown, Ursula meets Ivy's mysterious boyfriend, Chas Lacouture, and joins his trendspotting firm, Tomorrow, Ltd. Armed with only a sketch pad and the mandate to "find the future," she begins an odyssey into the strangely intoxicating world of trendspotting where one lesson prevails: At the heart of every product lies a paradox, and when cultivated successfully, it yields untold riches. As Ivy's delusions grow stronger and more apocalyptic, Ursula's observations of a filthy, rodent-eating homeless girl -- an urban savage -- lead to an elaborate advertising scheme gone awry that has unexpected consequences.

City in Love: The New York Metamorphoses
ISBN: 157366023X

Fiction Collective 2. 1996

Shakar combines profound literary innovation with a lyric sensibility to explore the similarities between ancient and modern feelings about nature.

Look sauvage
ISBN: 2846260478

Au diable Vauvert. 2003

Luminarium
ISBN: 1616951834

Soho Press. 2012

Winner of the Los Angeles

Times Book Prize for Fiction.

“Heady and engrossing ... Shakar is such an engaging writer, bringing rich complications to the narrative.... At times,

Luminarium

reads like a Christopher Nolan or Wachowski brothers movie as scripted by Don DeLillo.”The New York Times Book Review



Fred Brounian and his twin brother, George, were once co-CEOs of a burgeoning New York City software company devoted to the creation of utopian virtual worlds. Now, in the summer of 2006, as two wars rage and the fifth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, George has fallen into a coma, control of the company has been wrenched away by a military contracting conglomerate, and Fred has moved back in with his parents. Broke and alone, he’s led by an attractive woman, Mira, into a neurological study promising to give him "peak" experiences and a newfound spiritual outlook on life. As the study progresses, lines between the subject and the experimenter blur, and reality becomes increasingly porous. Meanwhile, Fred finds himself caught up in what seems at first a cruel prank: a series of bizarre emails and texts that purport to be from his comatose brother.

Moving between the research hospitals of Manhattan, the streets of a meticulously planned Florida city, the neighborhoods of Brooklyn and the uncanny, immersive worlds of urban disaster simulation

threading through military listserv geek-speak, Hindu cosmology, the maxims of outmoded self-help books and the latest neuroscientific breakthroughs, Luminarium is a brilliant examination of the way we live now, a novel that’s as much about the role technology and spirituality play in shaping our reality as it is about the undying bond between brothers, and the redemptive possibilities of love.


Awards

-- *Luminarium, ''Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Fiction''

-- *City in Love, ''FC2 National Fiction Competition''