Lead Tech Writer and Chief Book Critic for Time Magazine
Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Stephenie Meyer, J.K. Rowling, and Jonathan Franzen. Lev Grossman's talked in-depth with them all—and many others. His book, The Magicians earned a rare combination of popular and critical acclaim—it debuted at #8 on the New York Times bestseller list and was one of the New Yorker's best books of 2009. The sequel, The Magician King, picks up where The Magicians left off and was also a New York Times bestseller. NPR called it "triumphant"—"a spellbinding stereograph, a literary adventure novel that is also about a privilege, power and the limits of being human." The final book in the trilogy, The Magician's Land, is due out in August 2014.
The State of the Novel: The Great Rebalancing
What's happening in contemporary fiction, right now? How did we get here, and where are we going? In the 20th century writers staged the deconstruction of plot and story as we know it, but in the new millennium novelists are falling back in love with storytelling, and the old categories of high and low, literary fiction and genre fiction, are being broken down in a grand shift Grossman calls the Great Rebalancing. This sweeping assessment of the state of the novel traces the trends that have shaped its evolution and will take it forward into the future.
From Scroll to Scrolling: The Past and Future of Reading
With the coming of the digital revolution, books and reading are going through a transformation such as occurs only once in a millennium, one that will reshape the way readers read and writers write and booksellers sell. To understand it you have to go back to the last time such a change occurred -- back past Gutenberg and the printing press to the first century AD, when the Western world abandoned the scroll in favor of the bound book as we know it. That moment is the key to understand what's happening now, and the consequences of adopting new reading technology faster than we can understand it.
The Great Social Media Experiment
If you want to understand how social media like Facebook and Twitter work, and what they mean, you have to look at how they happened: by accident. The story of social media is the story of the great social experiment of the Internet, which was founded on the anarchical ideals of the 1960's. When it failed, the generation born in the 1980s took over the Internet and rebuilt it according to its own values, and social media are the result.
Why Fantasy Matters
Fantasy literature is routinely dismissed as kids' stuff -- escapist fluff for children and young adults who aren't ready for grown-up reality. The truth is very different. Grossman discusses the importance of fantasy, and what the current popular obsessions with Middle Earth, Narnia, Twilight and his own bestselling work really mean. Drawing on his work as a critic for Time magazine, and his academic training at Harvard and Yale, Grossman shows how history of fantasy goes back to the dawn of culture, through Homer, Dante, Shakespeare and Milton. Fantasy isn't about avoiding reality, it's about leaving it behind, only to re-encounter it in a transfigured form.
The Magician's Land
Quentin Coldwater has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams. With nothing left to lose he returns to where his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. But he can’t hide from his past, and it’s not long before it comes looking for him.
Along with Plum, a brilliant young undergraduate with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demimonde of gray magic and desperate characters. But all roads lead back to Fillory, and his new life takes him to old haunts, like Antarctica, and to buried secrets and old friends he thought were lost forever. He uncovers the key to a sorcery masterwork, a spell that could create magical utopia, a new Fillory—but casting it will set in motion a chain of events that will bring Earth and Fillory crashing together. To save them he will have to risk sacrificing everything.
The Magician’s Land is an intricate thriller, a fantastical epic, and an epic of love and redemption that brings the Magicians trilogy to a magnificent conclusion, confirming it as one of the great achievements in modern fantasy. It’s the story of a boy becoming a man, an apprentice becoming a master, and a broken land finally becoming whole.
The Magician King
Return to Fillory in the riveting sequel to The New York Times bestseller and literary phenomenon of 2009--The Magicians.
The Magicians was praised as a triumph by readers and critics of both mainstream and fantasy literature. Now Grossman takes us back to Fillory, where the Brakebills graduates have fled the sorrows of the mundane world, only to face terrifying new challenges. Quentin and his friends are now the kings and queens of Fillory, but the days and nights of royal luxury are starting to pall. After a morning hunt takes a sinister turn, Quentin and his old friend Julia charter a magical sailing ship and set out on an errand to the wild outer reaches of their kingdom. Their pleasure cruise becomes an adventure when the two are unceremoniously dumped back into the last place Quentin ever wants to see: his parent's house in Chesterton, Massachusetts. And only the black, twisted magic that Julia learned on the streets can save them. The Magician King is a grand voyage into the dark, glittering heart of magic, an epic quest for the Harry Potter generation. It also introduces a powerful new voice, that of Julia, whose angry genius is thrilling. Once again Grossman proves that he is the modern heir to C.S. Lewis, and the cutting edge of literary fantasy.
The New York Times bestselling novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn't real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn't bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin's yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they'd imagined. Psychologically piercing and dazzlingly inventive, The Magicians is an enthralling coming-of-age tale about magic practiced in the real world-where good and evil aren't black and white, and power comes at a terrible price.