Episode # 26

The Poser
A Novel

Jacob Rubin

A hilarious and dazzling debut novel about a master impressionist at risk of losing his true self.
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On Sale Date:


Viking Adult
256 pgs.
Viking Adult


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The Poser

All his life, Giovanni Bernini has possessed an uncanny gift: He can imitate anyone he meets. Honed by his mother at a young age, the talent catapults him from smalltown obscurity to stardom.

As Giovanni describes it, “No one’s disguise is perfect. There is in every person, no matter how graceful, a seam, a thread curling out of them.... When pulled by the right hands, it will unravel the person entire.” As his fame grows, Giovanni encounters a beautiful and enigmatic stage singer, Lucy Starlight—the only person whose thread he cannot find—and becomes increasingly trapped inside his many poses. Ultimately, he must assume the one identity he has never been able to master: his own.

In the vein of Jonathan Lethem’s and Kevin Wilson’s playful surrealism, Jacob Rubin’s The Poser is the debut of a major literary voice, a masterfully written, deeply original comic novel, and the moving story of a man who must risk everything for the chance to save his life and know true love.

Praise for The Poser

“I yawped—because when you read a book as exquisite as The Poser, you yawp. Have you ever met a character like Giovanni Bernini? My heart breaks even now. With astonishing control, Mr. Rubin has created the perfect comic noir tragedy of mimicry and betrayal, of great love and greater loss. Bernini is one of fiction’s great ciphers and his parallel universe is such a good imitation of our universe I can no longer distinguish which is which. This is a novel that will be loved and admired for years to come.” — Reif Larsen, New York Times bestselling author of The Selected Works of T.S. Spivetand I Am Radar.

“With twists and snap and more than its share of vaudevillian flair, The Poser is often-dazzling, a high-wire entertainment about entertainment. Jacob Rubin is a first-rate comic writer, and somehow, don’t ask me how, he's crafted a hummingly smooth, aching look at why we perform, loneliness, and the nature of self.” — Charles Bock, New York Times–bestselling author of Beautiful Children.

The Poser seduces with its imaginative energy, the sheer wit and reach of its invention, but is propelled at its core by a deeply human generosity to its characters—their fierce and confused and fragile hearts.” — Leslie Jamison, New York Times–bestselling author of The Empathy Exams.

Jacob Rubin’s writing has appeared in the anthology Best New American Voices, New York magazine, Slate, n+1, and The New Republic. Times Square, a screenplay he co-wrote, was recently acquired by Focus Features. He lives in New York..