Praise for Busy Monsters:
"William Giraldi’s Busy Monsters is rammed with life. A kind of elegiac intensity, remarkable for so young a man, pervades its harmonies.”
“Busy Monsters is superb. Comic writing of the first rank and prose every serious writer should envy for its anarchic ingenuity.”
“Busy Monsters is an unforgettable achievement by one of our most important young chroniclers of anguish and bliss."
“Only Barry Hannah and early Martin Amis can match Giraldi at the level of the distressed but truthful sentence. Busy Monsters wails with the urgency of rock and roll.”
“A riotous debut novel . . . seen through a perfectly skewed worldview, and related in an idiosyncratic voice.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Here we have a seriocomic picaresque that references everything from The Odyssey to medieval romances to Don Quixote and Moby-Dick. A brilliant first novel that may well be in the running for 2011's literary awards."
Library Journal (starred review)
“The prose is electric. . . .Genius.”
Poets & Writers
“William Giraldi’s cocky first novel is a romance for real men . . . It’s irresistibly strange. . . .[Giraldi] has used this young lover’s manic, incongruous voice to produce one of the weirdest comic novels of the year. And he has a delicate sweetness that shows through at just the right moments.”
Ron Charles, The Washington Post
"Comedy, satire, farce, language . . . Busy Monsters has the kind of agenda that gives heft to the picaresque novels from which it is derived."
The New York Times Book Review
"[Giraldi] is the bastard literary son of Evelyn Waugh. The title of Busy Monsters is not the only way in which Giraldi’s novel resembles Vile Bodies, Waugh’s second novel. Both are hilarious; both satirize the unruliness and overindulgence of their characters’ lives and yet revel in every minute of it; both are terrified of boredom. . . . And beneath the facetiousness and verbal hijinks, there is a seriousness of Christian purpose to Busy Monsters. . . . Giraldi’s model is the 'antithetical fusion' of high and low, superb and uncouth, which Erich Auerbach describes in Mimesis as the 'mixed style' of Christian rhetoric. Giraldi resorts to it to suggest the need for something that is missing in most postmodern lives."
D.G. Myers, Commentary
"Supernaturally strange . . . featuring aliens, Sasquatch, and a go-for-broke, funny-as-hell narrator.”
New York Magazine
"William Giraldi . . . achieves a sort of poetic lunacy in this debut novel. . . . Giraldi’s prose throughout is enveloping but it’s also intimate, reading almost like the lovesick diary entries of Franz Kafka. But beneath the surreal, there’s substance: The encounters with fantastical creatures and lampooning of famous epics (like The Odyssey) are merely set pieces in his Gen-Y ruminations on relationships and mortality. . . .The fun here is not in the destination, but in the journey itself. And with monsters like these, what fun it is."
Jeremy Medina, Time Out New York
"Wacky as it is, Busy Monsters has a lot to say about literature with its off-kilter meditations on literary conventions, including strained father-son relationships, love stories, quest narratives and the contemporary phenomenon of the made-up memoir. Busy Monsters is hilarious, ridiculous, brimming with energy, and makes a promising debut for Giraldi, a writer with a strange and appealing mind."
Dallas Morning News
"Skewering the false bravado of the aughties memoir craze, Busy Monsters also reads a bit like the type of screenplay Wes Anderson might write in the midst of a roid rage . . . The whole fun of Busy Monsters is in Giraldi’s sentences, which manage to be both parodic and wholly original."
Jonathan Messinger, Time Out Chicago
"In this very funny first novel, Giraldi launches his loquacious narrator on an absurd quest that is touching as well as comical. . . .Erudite, salacious, and frequently hilarious, Busy Monsters heralds the emergence of a prodigiously talented comic writer onto the literary scene."
"As unpalatable as the fictional Homar would be as a real live person, he's an absolutely delicious character, making a series of hilariously nearsighted (and outright bad) decisions to propel himself through this far-fetched (and downright funny) narrative. . . .The voice [Giraldi] has given Charles is singular and arresting . . . and filled with quirky turns of phrase, unexpected literary and cultural allusions, self-aware asides, and highfalutin word choices that would make Roget swell with pride. The plot, too, is an exciting yet masterfully managed hodgepodge."
"Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones, Cervantes’s Don Quixote, Voltaire’s Candide, and Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions comprise the club of picaresque that William Giraldi’s lively Busy Monsters aspires to join. . . Bold, propulsive prose and hilarious, thought-inducing cultural references . . . A compelling work of literary merrymaking."
The Daily Beast
"Populated by extraterrestrials, Asiatic sex slaves and beasts of the deep, William Giraldi’s first novel is not a debut that enters the literary scene blushing. This book shouts: it’s linguistically playful to the point of hyperactivity, yet self-consciously attempts to place itself in the American canon . . . Beneath the surface of this extrovert book is a story of bewildered masculinity and neurosis. The result in places makes Gary Shteyngart look restrained."
The Financial Times
"A bold, satirical debut."
The Times of London
"William Giraldi is one of those writers for whom every sentence matters. He commands language like Kingsley Amis or Peter Carey. Busy Monsters is . . . a postmodern quest that riffs on every epic story in Western literature, yet never takes itself too seriously."
"Riotous . . . part Don Quixote, part Jack Kerouac."
Washington Independent Review of Books
"Much of the joy of Busy Monsters comes from watching the protagonist bumble his way from one misadventure to the next, all the while maintaining an impressively detailed first-person monologue. . . . An absurdist jaunt, a particularly fanciful picaresque . . . governed by its own peculiar internal logic."
"At the heart of Busy Monsters is Homar's brilliance, humanity, and understanding. . . .Homar is a giant in his multifariousness, a gushing-blood romantic whose longing infiltrates every sentence. . . .What makes Giraldi's enormous characters so fascinating are their complexities and contradictions. You've never met these people. But then again, you've met all of them."
David Holub, American Book Review
“Readers will be swept along in breathless, disbelieving glee.”
Chris Barsanti, PopMatters