Faculty

Alex Shakar

In Alex Shakar's latest novel, Luminarium (Soho), Fred Brounian, a thirtysomething game designer, signs up for a scientific study in which "peak" experiences typically associated with spirituality are given him via an electromagnetic helmet, falls for his experimenter, and starts receiving mysterious emails and other messages from his comatose twin brother. Called "an intricately structured, imaginative, epistemological, and wildly eventful tale of illusion and longing" by the Chicago Tribune, and "a strikingly metaphysical novel that never dematerializes into misty clich├ęs" by the Washington Post, Luminarium was the winner of the 2011 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Fiction. It was also named an Editor's Choice by The New York Times, a Notable Book of the year by The Washington Post, and a best book of the year by Publishers Weekly, Booklist, the Austin Chronicle, and the Kansas City Star.

In his first novel, The Savage Girl (HarperCollins), down and out artist Ursula van Urden moves to the American volcano metropolis of Middle City and learns the arcane secrets of trendspotting as she cares for her younger sister Ivy, a fashion model turned schizophrenic. Both a love story and a dark reflection on the modern world, it has been called "a crystalline satire of a preening media elite too exhausted with pillaging the minds of consumers to notice the collapsing world around them" by Kirkus Reviews. The Savage Girl was selected as a New York Times Notable Book and has been translated into French, Italian, German, Polish, Japanese, and Thai.

His short story collection, City in Love (FC2/HarperCollins), tracks the street odysseys of a museum guard, a junk sculptor, an actor, two schoolchildren, an options trader, and others, in a surreal but eerily recognizable New York City of the year 1 B.C. Loosely based on the myths of Ovid's Metamorphoses, and called "a refreshing contrast to the de rigueur solipsism of contemporary fiction's urban dwellers" by the Review of Contemporary Fiction, City in Love was the winner of the FC2 National Fiction Competition.

More information can be found at www.alexshakar.com

Contact Info

Office

314 English Building

Phone

(217) 333-7896

Email

ashakar@illinois.edu