World Gone Water, by Jaime Clarke

World Gone Water, by Jaime Clarke

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World Gone Water enlarges the portrait of Charlie Martens, first introduced in Vernon Downs, a young man grappling with how to navigate the world. Set in Phoenix, seven years before the events of Vernon Downs, Charlie finds himself released from a voluntary stay at a behavioral clinic in the Sonoran desert, the result of an incident with a woman he met while tending bar in Florida where Charlie had fled to forget his high school sweetheart, whose sudden marriage to someone else devastates him.  But Charlie’s homecoming launches him into a chain of events with a cast of characters that assault his fragile state and further undermine his general impressions about life and how to live.

World Gone Water roves the deep terrain of our want for emotional connection and is a devastating narrative about love, sex, and friendship.

This edition is now available only through Bloomsbury.

“Jaime Clarke’s World Gone Water is so fresh and daring, a necessary book, a barbaric yawp that revels in its taboo: the sexual and emotional desires of today’s hetero young man. Clarke is a sure and sensitive writer, his lines are clean and carry us right to the tender heart of his lovelorn hero, Charlie Martens. This is the book Hemingway and Kerouac would want to read. It’s the sort of honesty in this climate that many of us aren’t brave enough to write.”

— Tony D’Souza, author of The Konkans.

“This unsettling novel ponders human morality and sexuality, and the murky interplay between the two. Charlie Martens is a compelling antihero with a voice that can turn on a dime, from shrugging naiveté to chilling frankness. World Gone Water is a candid, often startling portrait of an unconventional life.”

— J. Robert Lennon, author of Familiar

“Funny and surprising, World Gone Water is terrific fun to read and, as a spectacle of bad behavior, pretty terrifying to contemplate.”

—Adrienne Miller, author of The Coast of Akron

“Charlie Martens is my favorite kind of narrator, an obsessive yearner whose commitment to his worldview is so overwhelming that the distance between his words and the reader’s usual thinking gets clouded fast. World Gone Water will draw you in, make you complicit, and finally leave you both discomfited and thrilled.”

—Matt Bell, author of In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods

“Charlie Martens will make you laugh. More, he’ll offend and shock you while making you laugh. Even trickier: he’ll somehow make you like him, root for him, despite yourself and despite him. This novel travels into the dark heart of male/female relations and yet there is tenderness, humanity, hope. Jaime Clarke rides what is a terribly fine line between hero and antihero. Read and be astounded.”

—Amy Grace Loyd, author of The Affairs of Others


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Jaime Clarke is the author of the novels We’re So Famous and Vernon Downs, editor of Don’t You Forget About Me: Contemporary Writers on the Films of John Hughes, Conversations with Jonathan Lethem, and Talk Show: On the Couch with Contemporary Writers, as well as co-editor of No Near Exit: Writers Select Their Favorite Work from Post Road Magazine and Boston Noir 2: The Classics. He is a founding editor of the literary magazine Post Road, now published at Boston College, and co-owner of Newtonville Books, an independent bookstore in Boston.