by Christopher Bernard


paperback / $24.95  / ISBN: 1-58790-111-0 / 543 pages  /  paperback  /  7” x 10”


Fiction / Novel


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A great American city is destroyed under mysterious circumstances. A lone survivor wanders through its ruins. Out of a wind-tossed wreckage of language appear images of a young, half-orphaned boy, of a perplexed, yet idealistic, student, of a disillusioned, bitter middle-aged man dreaming of lives he might have led, had he chosen differently in early manhood; and of a comatose old man in a hospital ICU, lonely, paralyzed, and dying – and half-seen visions of an adolescent girl, a young woman, an old woman, alone, lost, and abandoned, longing, in an ever-renewed and frustrated search for love. The “debut novel” of the year, and the introduction to a national audience of its author, until now one of America’s best-kept literary secrets, A Spy in the Ruins portrays life in a society in turmoil, at war, divided and afraid, a world driven from its moorings, in quest of significance in a chaotic time – a world like our own, inhabited by people finding what purposes they can, in the creation of meaning out of the chaos of experience. Christopher Bernard’s novel, awaited by a small coterie of loyal readers for more than eight years, represents the climax of a literary career spanning three decades, in which his previous work in fiction, poetry, philosophy, and drama (produced in obscurity and known only to a small but ever-growing number of aficionados), finds its vindication in a book of enormous breadth, high passion, deep humanity, triumphant intellectual ambition, and dazzling linguistic invention. Working in the tradition of Joyce, Pynchon, Beckett, the “New Novel,” Juan Goytisolo, and other important modernist and postmodernist innovators, Bernard has fashioned a unique blend of powerful storytelling, linguistic mastery, and profound moral and spiritual insight, a wild journey into the heart of darkness of the madness of our times.


Christopher Bernard is a poet, essayist, and playwright as well as fiction writer. He has published work in Another Chicago Magazine, Permafrost, Ekphrasis and as a book reviewer for various periodicals and literary magazines. He is a cofounder of the literary and arts “zine” Caveat Lector and lives in San Francisco.


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