A triumphant literary debut with notes of both The Art of Fielding and The Flamethrowers, which introduces the striking figure of Owen Burr, a gifted Olympics-bound athlete whose dreams of greatness are deferred and then transformed by an unlikely journey from California to Berlin, Athens, Iceland, and back again.
Owen Burr, a towering athlete at Stanford University, son of renowned classicist Professor Joseph Burr, was destined to compete in the Athens Olympic Games of 2004. But in his final match at Stanford, he is blinded in one eye. The wound shatters his identity and any prospects he had as an athlete.
Determined to make a new name for himself, Owen flees the country and lands in Berlin, where he meets a group of wildly successful artists living in the Teutonic equivalent of Warhol's Factory. An irresistible sight--nearly seven-feet-tall, wearing an eye patch and a corduroy suit--Owen is quickly welcomed by the group's leader, who schemes to appropriate Owen's image and sell the results at Art Basel. With his warped and tortured image on the auction block, Owen seeks revenge.
Professor Burr has never been the father he wants to be. Owen's disappearance triggers a call to action. He dusts off his more speculative theory, Liminalism, to embark on a speaking tour, pushing theory to its radical extreme--at his own peril and with Jean Baudrillard's help--in order to send up flares for his son in Athens, Berlin, and Iceland.
A compulsively readable novel of ideas, action, and intrigue, A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall offers a persuasive vision of personal agency, art, family, and the narratives we build for ourselves.
Read an excerpt HERE.
Check out the books that made Chancellor want to write a book of his own HERE.
Praise for the book:
“[An] ambitious book, one filled with Greek myths and art-world jargon, the type of stylistic siren song that could lure a writer into dangerous waters…. Chancellor never lets that happen; he shows great poise and command with this elegant and highly enjoyable first novel, which suggests that he has even more greatness to offer us.”
“Owen Burr is a character unlike any you’re likely to meet in contemporary literature. Watching him move through the world, and negotiate with his own dreams, is both powerful and revelatory.” —Daniel Alarcón
“Bracingly rich...the author maintains an almost thrillerlike pace while taking well-aimed shots at academic and art-market fads and helping two lost souls through essential transformations.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A globetrotting, witty, powerful and wildly ambitious novel that is at once a psychological journey and a terrific page-turner. Will Chancellor has an electrifying, deeply original voice, and his book is so full of depth and heart that it’s impossible to put down.” —Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans
“Chancellor writes in the established tradition of the American absurd, from Pynchon and Gaddis to DeLillo and Foster Wallace. Chancellor may be swinging for the former pair, but lands firmly, and thereby accessibly, in the latter.” —BookPage