A bold novel about ambition, grief, creativity, beauty, and existential emptiness that retraces the arc of American life and culture in the first decades of the 21st century.
It is early 2017 in New York City, Donald Trump is President, and Solomon Fields, a young Jewish journalist-turned-advertising hack, finds himself disillusioned by the hollowness and conformity of American life and language. Once brimming with dreams and ideals instilled in him by his eternally bohemian grandmother, a survivor of the Holocaust who has dedicated her life to passion and pleasure, Sol now finds the senseless jargon he produces at work seeping into all aspects of the world around him--and most disturbingly, into the art that his beloved grandmother taught him to revere.
A personal tragedy drives Sol to leave New York and accept an invitation to The Coded Garden, an artists' colony on a tropical island, whose mysterious patron, Sebastian Light, seems to offer the very escape Sol desperately needs. But the longer he remains in the Garden, the more Light comes to resemble Trump himself, and the games he plays with Sol become more dangerous. Slowly lines begin to blur--between reality and performance, sincerity and manipulation, art and life, beauty and emptiness--until Sol finds that he must question everything: his past, his convictions, and his very sanity.
"Alexander Maksik is a sorcerer of the first order."--Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies