One man, one day, and a novel bursting with drama, comedy, and humanity.
Kevin Quinn is a standard-variety American male: middle-aged, liberal-leaning, self-centered, emotionally damaged, generally determined to avoid both pain and responsibility. As his relationship with his girlfriend approaches a turning point, and his career seems increasingly pointless, he decides to secretly fly to a job interview in Austin, Texas. Aboard the plane, Kevin is simultaneously attracted to the young woman in the seat next to him and panicked by a new wave of terrorism in Europe and the UK. He lands safely with neuroses intact and full of hope that the job, the expansive city, and the girl from the plane might yet be his chance for reinvention. His next eight hours make up this novel, a tour-de-force of mordant humor, brilliant observation, and page-turning storytelling.
Winner of the Believer Book Award
"I already knew that James Hynes was the master of satirical, high-octane fiction but I did not expect him to be the genius of detail, too. Next—in which Kevin goes to Texas for a job interview and gets sidetracked by his lifelong quest for love—is that rarity, a lapidary novel of small compass and brief time frame which delivers a punch of global relevance. It is touching, shocking, intelligent, and—at least where matters of the heart are concerned—profoundly and subversively candid."
"James Hynes is a master of hyperrealism and a genius of a stylist. Next starts with a slow burn and revs up steadily, hypnotically, with increasing depth and heft; Hynes writes like Joyce on Quaaludes, in spiky, gorgeous language, with an eye for detail that is occasionally shocking in its apt particularity. He has an effortless recall of pop culture that is unparalleled in contemporary fiction. Next occurs on one Bloomsday-like imaginary day and runs backward and forward in time to a heart-stopping finale that is one of the best endings of any novel I have ever read."
"One of the most surprising, delightful, compulsively readable, and ultimately profound novels I've read in some time. I didn't know whether to cry or laugh or cheer when I finished it, so I just went ahead and did all three, then started over at the beginning."
"James Hynes has taken his gift for dark comedy into deeper waters than ever before. This intricately constructed story is more than just a stupendous tour de force. It takes a lot of nerve to write such a book, and Hynes has made good on his audacity."
-Madison Smartt Bell