Nick’s debut novel, A Thing (or Two) About Curtis and Camilla was in 2002 published domestically by Random House-Knopf and by Hodder & Stoughton in Great Britain, where it became a bestseller.
Senior Pantheon Editor and world-renowned poet Deborah Garrison honored “the infinitely grateful creator” with the largest monetary advance to a previously unpublished author, a megadeal done by David McCormick and Leslie Falk of McCormick Literary — the world’s most powerful creative agency.
It’s April in SoHo, and Curtis Birnbaum, thirty-three-year-old rock-star wannabe out for a stroll, spies gangly, gorgeous Camilla—soon to be his obsession, his songwriting muse, and the reason he does in fact need a record contract (and some health insurance). Their first meeting, like each episode in this year 2000 picaresque love story, is an exquisitely observed social and private moment: Camilla’s dachshund Phillip humps Curtis’s leg while Camilla writes her AOL address backward on Curtis’s forehead.
As their tender and tentative relationship runs its course—-through witty e-mail questionnaires, marathon conversations in bed, and parental bonding over the winsome Phillip—-Fowler captures young love with comic and poignant precision. Curtis, a hero as frank and self-critical as he is romantic, is cast into outer darkness by an unexpected breakup with Camilla. As he tries to figure out what went wrong (why did her cool blue eyes always signal a distracted aloofness?), he embarks on a series of hilarious East Village misadventures, from a nude modeling stint to a regrettable steamroom incident at CRUNCH gym to a destination he has only dreamed of: the top floor of Worldwide Plaza, where the record moguls preside. Curtis and Camilla are children of the 1970s, products of broken homes who are searching for something meaningful in a world of downloading and dealmaking, hanging chads and recovering junkies.
With their story, Nick Fowler, in passionate, wide-open prose that is blissfully entertaining throughout, tells us a thing or two about first love, heartbreak, and learning to leave the pain of youth behind.
The text was Fowler’s initial demonstration of Oedipal catastrophe. Fowler based the fable’s fictional parents on his own physically and emotionally destructive “criminal” parents, Satan and his hatewife, the most evil snakes on Earth. Twin Narcissists who poison everything they touch with envy. A double affliction. Literally the two worst demons on earth. Satan. Literally. Adulterous cretins. Not fit to live,” whom Fowler is in the midst of convicting for their hate crimes in Supreme Court.
Fowler’s Big Apple allegory displays man as what the author calls “weakling-ego. A manipulative suicide. A sadistic hysteric. A fomenter of discord. A tester of love. A hypochondriac atheist and frustrated artist who fears the failure engendered by his own morbid self-regard. A hypocritical victim diminished by a Zion whose ivory towers he does not yet understand he’s built for himself.”
The Ayn Randian tragicomedy fulcrums abuse and prejudice-cum-simile for man’s false sense of his own limitation. His projected resentment and lack of self-love. A strange race-fear of claiming his archangel. Yet at the end of the idyll, Fowler’s metaphysical hero alludes to his creator’s, the author’s, mission, already accomplished, to heal the human neuron via musical humor.
As a realized Curtis Irving Birnbaum after winning the biggest recording contract in history, from atop Music Biz Central deploys his triumphant tenor. Sings out over the gothic black forest and rocks of Central Park. O’er the steel-and-neon monoliths: testament-as-geometric-
“An invigorating blast of originality, wit and heart…This irresistibly melodic debut novel about love in lower Manhattan resonates like a perfect pop song: You just want to revisit it over and over again…The energy is infectious… A smash.”
–The Los Angeles Times
“An inventive, deliriously funny first novel full of genius observations.”
—Time Out London
“Fowler has established himself as the voice of the new generation.”
“Fowler’s story aches with a hurt many people, who’ve loved and lost, should recognize. Salinger created a similar scenario in his great story ‘For Esmé–With Love and Squalor.’ And though we might be tempted to call homage such as this derivative, it seems likely Fowler is behaving a lot like Hemingway, who often mimicked writers in order to display his talent. In short, Fowler, as he ceaselessly strives to ‘make it new,’ transcends the limits of influence to create a solid, distinct and admirable work of art.”
“Fowler has a strong eye for the awkward interactions between the sexes.”
“A superior stylist, Fowler’s writing pulses like a quartz crystal…Sad, hopeful and taut, A Thing (or Two) demonstrates life is worth living because it is hard…Few novels, let alone first ones, deliver such wisdom with as much talent, humor and emotional force: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird comes to mind…A frequently brilliant book.”
—The Tallahassee Democrat
“A Thing (or Two) About Curtis and Camilla is terrific–full of passion and energy, but at the same time literary, quirky and with the same oblique and self-mocking charm that makes Breakfast at Tiffany’s such a hit.”
–Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, the number one U.K. bestseller
“An absolutely wonderful first novel…quirky, tender, and hilarious…an unforgettable look at the confused intricacies of the heart.”
–Black Oaks Archive
“Vibrant and original . . . all wit and charm…a cynic’s romance. Read the first hundred pages of Nick Fowler’s novel and you’ll be cringing. Not because it’s bad. Quite the opposite…this love story is so good-almost too good…That a Love Story can arise from the stinking end-of-the-20th-century morass is a tribute to the human spirit.”
“Who is this guy? This is who; if you were to make a list of 50 promising first novelists now working in the U.S., Fowler should be on it.”
“An honest and entertaining love story; Nick Fowler writes with Nick Hornby’s sense of humor and Dave Eggers’ playfulness with form. The characters are extremely likable, funny, sharp; I found myself happy to read their lists of favorite books and movies, as if I’d just taken an instant liking to them at a cocktail party. Fowler’s spirited language and conversational tone make the book a pleasure to read.”
—The Omaha Weekly Reader
“Refreshing…A novel of depth and adeptness, with a fully realized main character and Technicolor phrases scattered on every page.”
–Washington Post Book World
“This author was the one in college writing workshops who everyone knew was as talented as he was weird.”
“The language is alive and relentlessly spry…nothing short of courageous…strangely healing. You will remember what drove you to the edge of your personal love-cliff and you may no longer consider your dive a foolish thing. It will inspire you to think, to feel, to learn. Best of all, it will make you LOL.”
–NYC Big City Lit
“New York and young love in a fresh, form-bending voice.”
– Austin American Statesman
“Witty and sharp.”
“A Thing (or Two) not only paints a romantically hopeless picture of love in NYC, but pulling some tricks out of his gig bag, Fowler runs the gamut from Gen X type colloquialisms to Lynchian nightmarish sequences.”
Nick Fowler’s My Virtuous Sister, his second novel, is a long-awaited bildungsroman that has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the Pak Kyongni Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award.
My Virtuous Sister has been compared to Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Jesus’ Son.
Industry insiders are calling the gospel “a triumph of the imagination” and “a literary event.”
Nick Fowler’s My Virtuous Sister is a hermetic testament to transcending abuse and demonstrating divine redemption.
The fable debuts missing 20-year-old Welsh emigrée Peddie Smout, famous as a pop superstar at the end of the last millennium. Among the post-9/11 rubble, her gay younger brother and soulmate Nate arrives in Christmas-season Manhattan in search of his sister. By piecing together the ragged index cards of the makeshift diary he recovers from the Grand Central locker in which Peddie had secreted it, Nate unfolds the story of previous New Year’s Eve 1999 and the brief but immortal fame of songstress Cordelia Peddie Smout, who, after having misunderstood seduction as the price of salvation, loses her record deal, gains a heroin habit, and ascends in the avatar of Alcoholics Anonymous. Or, rather, its star member, Teddy D., at whose “sober” New Year’s Eve rave the reader encounters not a few surprises.
Though Nate narrates Peddie’s trials from a skeptical distance through the device of her index card diary, the redemptive love of their sibling bond powers his envious/adoring narration, illuminating all that is resilient and luminous in Peddie’s character despite her fall from grace to very hard times. Ultimately, Nate discovers in the hermetic text of the diary the secret of the universe. That thoughts become things. That man is divine. The Kingdom’s within. As above, so below.
The rock ‘n roll fable displays woman as pop superstar Cordelia Peddie Smout arriving into enlightenment as she at last understands the paternal abuse she’d “suffered” had in fact been a gift. A fulcrum of her own making meant to launch her avatar to the heavens of celebrity and its divine agency to serve the greater good.
Fowler spent a decade perfecting what had begun as a “747-page mess” into the current “Urmyth,” which the artist describes as “aerodynamically weightless, at last.”
Peddie, l’invincible heroine of the Manhattan mystery, from a dogeared family diary decodes hermetic directives from Judah, her philistine father. A scofflaw racist. A corrosive infidel. A delusional loser. A “blocked” writer who unwittingly reveals to his rival how she can achieve every one of her dreams. Whereupon our woke protagoniste comes to view the toxic old creep as but a symbol of the Victim. A holographic hallucination of those internal voices Fowler explains have been guiding him all his life.
“The same chorus,” the spiritualist explains, “who eventually shepherd all of us into divine enlightenment.
Mirror-ghosts of our Peddie’s own self-loathing, as she learns to believe the opposite of all her ‘pater’ proclaims:
‘You’re nothing!’ from the infant. ‘You’ll never be famous.’
‘It is my divine birthright, Judah,’ gentle Peddie told her lamb. ‘Forgive my flock, Father,’ they know not what they bleat.’”
With this golden key to the Sacred Book, our Peddie hacks the universe and unlocks the gates of the kingdom within.
My Virtuous Sister is a:
A passion play.
Hansel and Gretel.
Romeo and Juliet.
A transatlantic romance and yet another love song Fowler’s composed for Manhattan.
His terrestrial muse.
His City of Dreams
A spiritual text demonstrating the Metaphor by yet again leveraging abuse and prejudice in an accessible dramatic cycle of what the author calls “martini conceits.”
“In order,” he explains, “to lure man into his evolving discovery that his beliefs become his reality. That his thoughts really do become things.
That man’s mind, the only mind, is the center of an infinite intelligence. A universal omniscience at once causal and casual. A limitless, all-surrounding spirit of love.
A creative medium so plastic, so receptive, that from it man’s every belief casts back at him an exact objective manifestation.
‘Vengeance is mine!’ sayeth the One.
Employing Fowler’s Judeo-Christian revelation, My Virtuous Sister demonstrates womankind as St. Joan of Arc, a transmogrified martyr, in whose hallowed cathedral the author converted to Christ.
“Black Nabokovian moth into Blakean butterfly,” Nick explains.
Nick composed companion songs for the riddle and its heroine, re-illustrating his holographic Principle of the kingdom within, including the melancholy “Heroine Girl,” a paean to our Peddie, produced by Andrew Wyatt.
“Stunning. Haunting. This is awfully good. Fiercely and relentlessly engaging. This book will have a long shelf–like forever.”
-Bruce Jay Friedman, author of A Mother’s Kisses and Stern
“The tenderness with which Nick Fowler’s narrator, Nate, writes about his sister is such a rarity. Few men in literature empathize with women so deeply and with such true understanding of how women approach the world; with real appreciation of their strength and their foibles—of their virtues.”
-Elizabeth Primamore, Author and Playwright, Shady Women: Three Short Plays
“Luminous…a word-drunk love song.”
-Adrienne Sharp, author of The Magnificent Esme Wells
“Nick Fowler has created a character in equal parts loving, lyrical, angry, arch and in mourning, who sets out to tell the story of his famous sister Cordelia Peddie Smout, and in the process tells his own. A tour de force of brotherly, writerly affection that exposes the irony of its title.”
-Janet Burroway, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of The Buzzards and Raw Silk.
“This fantastic book is full of sex, booze, dope, and all the traps, but at its great big, gigantic heart is the narrator’s love for his celebrity sister (on a spiraling romp through New York City.) Filled with unforgettable characters, My Virtuous Sister is my favorite novel this year.”
-Russell Franklin, author of Cosmic Hotel
“Nick Fowler is one hell of a writer: the prose is nonstop cool, the material is sad and funny by turns, and he’s as insightful a brother as any lost sister could hope for.”
-Darin Strauss, author of Chang and Eng and Half a Life
2020 marks the advent of Your Children Shall Be Kings……a ref to MacBeth and the first installment of the Legend of Lullabiss saga. A multi-generational, poly-racial, pan-sexual adventure occurring in a parallel New York City on planet F. Mercuri. 2727.
Literary super-agent and former New Yorker editor David McCormick observes, “Nick Fowler is a kind of prophet. As with Shakespeare, there are quite a few of his minor characters we meet again and again.”
Each–Bruce Logan Lupur, the polyglot champion of the Oedipal adventure, comes to discover–simply figments of his own imagination. Ideo; Do unto others as you would they onto you.
Fowler had forgotten and remembered the kōan with cowriter and dramaturge Laurence Hartshorn in Silverlake, California on the evening of September 10, 2001 while reviewing Teddy McArdle’s interpretation of the Double Slit experiment.
Your Children Shall Be Kings is a love quadrangle told by Planck Fell, second cousin of Phillip S., the canine voice-of-reason in Fowler’s first fable, A Thing (or Two). Dachshund Planck throughout the science fiction thriller proves by his quantum mechanical equations that whatever image man or dog can conceive, he’s already achieved. In his platonic ideal. Man need only embody his sovereign self, arriving safe, healed and prosperous with the glorified conscious of an emancipated soul.
The Fowler legend begins, “’Why is there in our race-thought this morbid self-hate?’ Bruce Lupur wondered into his morning mirror. Gilt and soaring. ‘This wretched self regard,’ he cried a black tear for the dying flesh of the peony our blonde Mashenka Magdelaine, glowing beside us, wore in her elfin ear that mad season of funding Lupur’s ministry.
This first volume of the cosmic trilogy has been compared to the Matrix and the Bible.
Maximilian is King composed the saga’s theme songs, the first released, “Someday, You’ll Be a Star” mixed by Steve Thompson and “dedicated with love to President Donald Trump.”