The Book of Ayn: A Novel (Paperback)

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Description


An original and hilarious satire of both our political culture and those who rage against it, The Book of Ayn follows a writer from New York to Los Angeles to Lesbos as she searches for artistic and spiritual fulfillment in radical selfishness, altruism, and ego-death

After writing a satirical novel that The New York Times calls classist, Anna is shunned by the literary establishment and, in her hurt, radicalized by the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Determined to follow Rand’s theory of rational selfishness, Anna alienates herself from the scene and eventually her friends and family. Finally, in true Randian style, she abandons everyone for the boundless horizons of Los Angeles, hoping to make a TV show about her beloved muse. 

Things look better in Hollywood—until the money starts running out, and with it Anna’s faith in the virtue of selfishness. When a death in the family sends her running back to New York and then spiraling at her mother’s house, Anna is offered a different kind of opportunity. A chance to kill the ego causing her pain at a mysterious commune on the island of Lesbos. The second half of Anna’s odyssey finds her exploring a very different kind of freedom – communal love, communal toilets – and a new perspective on Ayn Rand that could bring Anna back home to herself.  

"A gimlet-eyed satirist of the cultural morasses and political impasses of our times" (Alexandra Kleeman), Lexi Freiman speaks in The Book of Ayn not only to a particular millennial loneliness, but also to a timeless existential predicament: the strangeness, absurdity, and hilarity of seeking meaning in the modern world.

About the Author


LEXI FREIMAN is an Australian writer and editor who graduated from Columbia's MFA program in 2012. Her first novel, Inappropriation, was longlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and the Miles Franklin Award. She also writes for television.

Praise For…


Nylon, A November Must Read
Esquire, A Best Book of the Year
Literary Hub, A Most Anticipated Book of the Year
The Millions, A Most Anticipated Book of the Year


"A furious, jagged and radiant reckoning with the dangers of the manifesto, the mortifications of aging, the mercies and limitations of the comic posture, the job of the novelist and the indiscriminate desecration it demands." —Alexandra Tanner, The New York Times Book Review

"[A] delightful cancel-culture satire . . . One reads The Book of Ayn with genuine relief that someone has pulled off a novel of jokes at the expense of the most solemnly protected absurdities of our time." —Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

“Lexi Freiman has the qualities of a great comic writer: She’s deeply skeptical, sparing no one, including herself; she doesn’t ruminate at the expense of good timing; and most of all, she understands that the spirit of comedy, like the spirit of art, is risk, that a joke is a leap, and that an uncertain landing is what makes it pleasurable, rousing, even deep.” —Maddie Crum, The Washington Post

"One of the funniest and unruliest novels in ages. It shakes you by the shoulders until you laugh, vomit or both . . . The author torques her contrarianism, past trolling, past knee-jerk philosophizing and past satire, alchemizing a critique of literary culture in all its ideological waywardness." —Ryan Chapman, Los Angeles Times

"[A] delirious road trip through the age of selfishness . . . Contrarian and chaotic in the smartest way." —Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune

"The last place we expected to find Ayn Rand is in a millennial satire, but Freiman has taken that idea to its fullest and most hilarious expression." —Marion Winik, Newsday

"An epic hero’s journey through New York, Los Angeles, and Lesvos; a Künstlerroman of a novelist in a midlife crisis; a picaresque quest for meaning . . . The breakneck pace both affords comedic effect—Freiman works an outrageous line of dialogue or image into nearly every page—and enacts Anna’s spiral, as she flings her whole being into the embrace of one radical philosophy and then another." —Kristen Martin, The New Republic

"Thanks to Freiman’s unique ability to meld ferocious irony with heartfelt contemplation, The Book of Ayn goes beyond just another indictment of millennials as narcissists and offers a fresh glimpse into how 21st century artists have to negotiate their sense of selfhood." —Daniel Spielberger, Esquire

"The artist, Freiman implies, uses her 'I' as an alloy, creating a material both durable and porous, blending what she has felt to be true with what she imagines might be true for others . . . By the end, her 'I' has been vastly expanded: other people live in her head, whether she wants them to or not, shaping the innermost contours of her self. This vision of identity as plural means that self-assertion does not necessarily come at the expense of the rest of the world. It could even be a declaration of life on another’s behalf." —Katy Waldman, The New Yorker

"[A] rollicking satire . . . Freiman’s sharp new novel puts modern life under the microscope, satirizing everything from cancel culture and cringey hookups to misguided meaning quests and ridiculous content creators. Beneath the book’s surface-level hilarity, its eccentric cast of supporting characters add surprising emotional depth to Anna’s story . . . While Anna’s lack of self-awareness is easy to laugh at, her story draws tears, too. The Book of Ayn centers on Anna’s humanity, highlighting the complexity of the person behind the bad takes and contrarian cracks." —Bailey Bujnosek, Nylon

"A joke-a-minute satire." —Emma Alpern, Vulture

"The Book of Ayn Is Lexi Freiman’s dangerous and cutting satirical odyssey . . . laugh-out-loud funny at times, and housing sentences so effortlessly constructed, I was reaching for my phone to take pictures of every page." —Shondaland

"The funniest novel I’ve read in years . . . A comic work laced with extremely sharp insights and keen wisdom on our culture’s hyper-sensitive sore spots (cancellation, greed, the need to be seen as empathetic, etc.). It’s the best kind of writing: utterly fearless in the face of caution, a touch dangerous, and ferociously clever . . . An instant classic." —Christopher Bollen, Interview

"In thoughtful, razor-sharp turns of phrase that makes you reach for your phone to take photos of every page, Freiman pulls no punches—it’s the funniest book of the year." —Sam Franzini, Our Culture Mag

"A firecracker of a book . . . Irreverent and ridiculous, sarcastic and flippant, and also there’s something very real at the core, something tender, as Anna searches deeply for meaning in a culture of vapidity and reactionary politics . . . A bold take on political culture, virtue signaling, and the attempt to be unique and also right in a world such as ours, and it manages to do it all with humor and depth." —Julia Hass, Literary Hub

"Beneath its comic surface, and for all its gleeful sleaze, [The Book of Ayn is] about the shrinking of horizons and the foreclosure of dreams, the endemic tragedies of failing democracies and middle age . . . Freiman’s sentences are swift and vivid, her paragraphs precision machines . . . The Book of Ayn . . . finds genuine pathos and imaginative empathy in the absolute last places you’d think to look for them or, frankly, hope to find them. Lexi Freiman shitposts from the bottom of her heart." —Justin Taylor, Bookforum

"Freiman’s satirical novel explores the existential search for meaning with hilarity and absurdity." —Booklist

"Freiman follows up Inappropriation with more mischievous satire in this acerbic and affecting story of a canceled novelist who struggles to reinvent herself . . . Freiman’s portrait of a hapless artist is provocative and surprisingly moving." —Publishers Weekly

"A remarkably funny and thoughtful walk about the realm of ideas, the ideal man, and the ultimate 'I' of self-love and self-acceptance." —Shelf Awareness

"Lively, sexy, and funny, with an actual quest for meaning at its core." —Kirkus Reviews

“I’m no Randoid, yet Lexi Freiman’s playful ribbing of our oh-so-human, moralistic inconsistencies is a lifeboat on a stormy ocean, where there is at present no safe harbor for a dangerous sense of humor.” —Jim Carrey, author with Dana Vachon of Memoirs and Misinformation

"Lexi Freiman’s The Book of Ayn is a viciously funny and precisely observed satire of creative ambition under capitalism. It made me laugh, wince, and want to quit society. I loved it." —Isabel Kaplan, author of NSFW

"The Book of Ayn is an exquisitely wicked prosing of the reality-cancellation that now passes for reality by pretty much the funniest writer of a generation that has forgotten to laugh." —Joshua Cohen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Netanyahus
Product Details
ISBN: 9781646222407
ISBN-10: 1646222407
Publisher: Catapult
Publication Date: November 12th, 2024
Pages: 240
Language: English