"Nathaniel Stein has written a comic novel unlike anything that we have on hand recently: a small-scale exquisitist portrait of an improbable existence that has elements of both Kafka and Bruce Jay Friedman, and manages to be both appealingly absurd and strangely touching. A genuinely original book." —Adam Gopnik, New York Times-bestselling author of Paris to the MoonTHE THREAT tells the darkly comic story of Melvin Levin, a middle-aged man who is dissatisfied with his dull and mediocre life. That is, until he receives a mysterious death threat in the mail. Terrified at first, Levin soon becomes accustomed to the threat—and then, increasingly, delighted with it, thrilled with his newfound importance as a “threatened man.” But as his obsession with maintaining this identity becomes all-consuming, he risks blinding himself to the twin dangers of the threat itself and—perhaps worse—of his own deranged mind.
At once absurdist, moving, and savagely funny, THE THREAT is a timeless parable of the comic lengths to which people go to protect the delusions that validate them.
“I savored every word of Nathaniel Stein’s hilarious, expertly crafted, giddily uncompromising debut novel. The Threat is full of pathos – loneliness, alienation, existential horror. But Stein is such a deft comedic stylist that all I experienced while reading it was joy. It's a fantastic book and I hope he writes a million more." —Simon Rich, Thurber Prize-winning author of New Teeth
“A comic masterpiece.” —Andy Borowitz, New York Times-bestselling author of Profiles in Ignorance
NATHANIEL STEIN has written humor and nonfiction for The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Daily Beast, among other publications. He lives in Los Angeles where he works as a television writer. This is his first novel.
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