Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward (Putnam, April 5, 2011), 320 pages
Twenty-something siblings Paul and Lacey Hansen — orphans — are surviving in rural Northern California, growing pot. When a headless corpse appears on their land, 911 isn’t exactly an option, so they move the body and wait for the police to find it. But all does not go according to plan.
I’m a big fan of Lisa Lutz’s writing — I’ve read and enjoyed all four titles in the Spellman series, and I can always hardly wait for the next one. So when I had the chance to read this book, I jumped at it. Man, am I glad that I did!
Lutz and Hayward are former romantic partners. That didn’t go so well; for the co-writing to work, firm ground rules are established. She writes the odd-numbered chapters, he writes the even-numbered chapters. But that’s not all. In the volume presented to the reader, we also get footnotes from the non-writing author as well as notes back and forth between them between each chapter. The authors are as much (or more) a part of the story as the characters are. It’s experimental, it’s metafiction (at least I think it fits there), and it’s hilarious.
I love books that make me laugh, and this one did, a lot.
I also really love books that explore the form or craft itself, which, again, Heads You Lose does.
Want a taste of the authors to tide you over until you’ve got the book? Here’s the trailer, otherwise known as the authors interviewing each other.
I’m over the moon about this book. The letter in the front of my advance copy says this is the first in a series, and I couldn’t be happier. I love this book. Certainly one of the best I’ve read this year, but that feels like an understatement.
Seriously, this book is awesome! Is that enough gushing for you?
Rating: 4.75 stars
About the authors
Lisa Lutz (@lisalutz) is the author of the bestselling, award-winning Spellman series of comedic crime novels. The fifth book in that series, Trail of the Spellmans, will be published in spring 2012. She lives in San Francisco.
David Hayward (@davidhaywardHYL) runs a small writing and editing business in Healdsburg, California. His poetry has won a Pushcart Prize and appeared in Harper’s and other magazines. He received an MFA in poetry from UC Irvine. Heads You Lose is his first published fiction. He’s now working on a novel of his own, about a family of gamblers.
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