Mouth to Mouth: A Novel (Hardcover)
A successful art dealer confesses the story of his meteoric rise in this “sleek, swift, and graceful” novel “with unexpectedly sharp teeth” (Lauren Groff, New York Times bestselling author).
In a first-class lounge at JFK airport, our narrator listens as Jeff Cook, a former classmate he only vaguely remembers, shares the uncanny story of his adult life—a life that changed course years before, the moment he resuscitated a drowning man.
Jeff reveals that after that traumatic, galvanizing morning on the beach, he was compelled to learn more about the man whose life he had saved, convinced that their fates were now entwined. But are we agents of our fate—or are we its pawns? Upon discovering that the man is renowned art dealer Francis Arsenault, Jeff begins to surreptitiously visit his Beverly Hills gallery. Although Francis does not seem to recognize him as the man who saved his life, he nevertheless casts his legendary eye on Jeff and sees something worthy. He takes the younger man under his wing, initiating him into his world, where knowledge, taste, and access are currency; a world where value is constantly shifting and calling into question what is real, and what matters. The paths of the two men come together and diverge in dizzying ways until the novel’s staggering ending.
Sly, suspenseful, and engrossing, Mouth to Mouth masterfully blurs the line between opportunity and exploitation, self-respect and self-delusion, fact and fiction—exposing the myriad ways we deceive each other, and ourselves.
About the Author
Antoine Wilson is the author of the novels Panorama City and The Interloper. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, StoryQuarterly, Best New American Voices, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications, and he is a contributing editor of A Public Space. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and recipient of a Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellowship from the University of Wisconsin, he lives in Los Angeles. His website is: AntoineWilson.com
“Antoine Wilson’s Mouth To Mouth is the best book I’ve read in ages. Narratively ingenious, delicately written, intriguingly plotted, it is literature of the highest quality. I see you now, dear Reader, with this novel in your hand and already losing track of time….” —Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Less
"Antoine Wilson's Mouth to Mouth is sleek, swift, and graceful, an agile novel of ideas with unexpectedly sharp teeth." —Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies and Florida
"The sinewy and mesmerizing narrative of Antoine Wilson’s masterful novel aims straight at the heart of the mythologized self, which, like the world of art and commerce that provides the story’s backdrop, trades in all forms of performance and deception. Not unlike the novel itself, which asks us to believe and doubt and then believe again within the space of a single sentence. Wilson’s on a high wire and he never makes a wrong move." —Marisa Silver, author of Little Nothing and The Mysteries
"Antoine Wilson has written a spellbinding novel of laserlike insight and exquisite technique that reveals how stories can function to conceal other stories. I read this book in one rapturous sitting, jotting down line after line, riveted until the final shocking, clarifying sentence." —Sarah Manguso, author of Ongoingness
"Compulsively readable. This austere and addictive novel interrogates the very nature of identity, destiny and storytelling." —Adam Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Orphan Master's Son
“Antoine Wilson has written a stunner of a novel. Mouth to Mouth shook and thrilled me from the first page to the last.” — Daniel Alarcón, author of The King is Always Above the People and At Night We Walk in Circles
Praise for Panorama City, a New York Times Editors’ Choice and a Los Angeles Times Bestseller
“Fresh and flawlessly crafted as well as charmingly genuine.” —Publisher’s Weekly (*starred review*)
"Antoine Wilson’s sentences are like diamond necklaces but his greatest treasure is his human heart.” —Peter Carey, author of Parrot and Olivier in America
"With ears keenly tuned to the music of language, and a limpid mind slyly hidden behind a persistent soliloquist, Antoine Wilson has written an intricate novel that makes us laugh and cry.” —Yiyun Li, author of Gold Boy, Emerald Girl
“A gift . . . An astonishing narrative that offers the pleasures of irony without the sting." —Los Angeles Review of Books
Praise for The Interloper:
"As assured and sumptuously written as any first novel I’ve encountered—Antoine Wilson’s prose sings and the story he tells here is both clever and compelling. This is writing at its very best." —T.C. Boyle
"The Interloper is tautly written, suspenseful, and abidingly strange, a first novel that defies expectations in the most delightful way. Antoine Wilson delves into the dark corners of the human psyche and we readily follow, guided by his keen intelligence, wry humor, and razor-sharp prose. At once horrifying and oddly affecting, this book makes for compulsive reading." —Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, author of Madeleine Is Sleeping, Ms Hempel Chronicles, and Likes
"A taut debut novel." —The New Yorker