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Nothing Happened and Then It Did

A Chronicle in Fact and Fiction

Jake Silverstein (Author)

Overview | Formats
 

“The road novel—or the road half-novel—has rarely been funnier or more appealing.”—Benjamin Moser, Harper’s

In the great American tradition of funny road narratives— from Mark Twain to Hunter S. Thompson—a young journalist searches for his first big break down the lonesome highways of the Southwest and northern Mexico. Alternating chapters of fiction and nonfiction provide a hilarious account of Jake Silverstein’s misadventures on the hunt for an elusive magazine article—a journey that becomes a quest to understand the purpose of journalism and the nature of storytelling.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • May 2011
  • ISBN 978-0-393-33994-9
  • 5.5 × 8.2 in / 231 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverNothing Happened and Then It Did: A Chronicle in Fact and Fiction

    Hardcover

Endorsements & Reviews

“When Silverstein is front and center, making wry jokes, musing about the road and what journalism might mean, Nothing Happened and Then It Did has a thoughtful momentum.” — Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times

“A hilarious, subtle, and empathetic examination of writing and identity.” — Michael Washburn, Boston Globe

“[O]ne of the weirdest books I have ever read… Greatly entertaining and extremely funny.” — Tom Bissell, The New Republic

“Silverstein's adventures and prose are first-rate. From searching for the grave of Ambrose Bierce in West Texas (fact), to a treasure hunt in the Louisiana bayou (fiction), the memoir traces five years in the author's life when he moved across the American Southwest and Mexico hoping to find a story worth selling that would launch his journalism career.” — The Huffington Post

“Silverstein’s adventures and prose are first-rate.” — Rob Merrill, Associated Press

“A marriage of gonzo journalism and magical realism. . . . An enchanting account of the apprentice’s sorcery.” — Steven G. Kellman, San Antonio Current

“You'll find pleasures on every page of this warm and funny book. I've never read anything like it. Nothing Happened and Then It Did is a masterful literary debut.” — Annie Dillard

Nothing Happened and Then It Did cleverly eludes categorization. Part new journalism, part old-fashioned bildungsroman, by turns whimsical and edifying, very funny yet deeply profound, it is a creation both strange and rare. Jake Silverstein is the book's author and hapless hero, a character composite not unlike Cervantes and his fictional sidekick Sancho Panza. The great accomplishment is that the reader, in the end, does not care what is fact, what is fiction, because she has happily arrived at that much more elusive grail: truth.” — Antonya Nelson

“This book (Is it a novel? Or a memoir? Both? Something else?) is hilarious, poetic, lovely, and disturbing. It's filled with ghosts, bad poets with great hearts, treasure hunts, death-wish race-car drivers, and Mexican kids who weep when denied the chance to eat at McDonald's. It's a eulogy for dead American towns, dead American ideas, and dead American jobs. It crosses every aesthetic border as it crosses geographic, racial, and economic borders. You'll devour it.” — Sherman Alexie

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