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May, 2022

May, 2022

2 AM Washington Independent

Link: In a near-future dystopia, the refugees are us.

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May, 2022

2 AM Post Review

Link: Ken Kalfus gives readers an unsettling portrait of a humbled America

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May, 2022

2AM Times Review

Link: A Novel Imagines the Next Wave of Refugees: Americans

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May, 2022

2AM Independent

In the Washington Independent Review of Books: "The end of American exceptionalism feels all too credible in Kalfus’ hands."

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May, 2022

2 AM Post

The Washington Post reviews 2 A.M. in Little America. "An unsettling portrait of a humbled America."

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May, 2022

2AM Times

"Deeply intriguing ... a highly readable, taut novel." 2 A.M. in Little America in the New York Times Book Review.

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May, 2022

2AM in Little America

My new novel, 2 A.M. in Little America is now available in paperback.

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April, 2022

April, 2022

Esquire 2AM

Esquire lists "2 A.M. in Little America" among the 20 best spring books.

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March, 2022

March, 2022

2AM Kirkus

Link: Advance review


From the undersung Kalfus, another tonally intricate triumph, this one about the bewilderment, alienation, and sheer strangeness of being a refugee.

Ron Patterson is an American who fled his native land as civil war and chaos descended. At the book's beginning he's a 20-something migrant in an unnamed country, eking out a subsistence as a repairman, having overstayed his visa, when he meets Marlise, another refugee. For a brief stretch before the unnamed country's politics turn fractious and they're banished and separated, she becomes a friend, companion, and temporary refuge, and he looks for her—or for her afterimage—everywhere he goes from then on. About 10 years later, having bounced from place to place while his homeland's civil conflict simmers on—and while xenophobic and tribal politics take root across the globe—Ron finds himself in one of the last nations that still welcomes castoffs from the once-great, once-smug power. He lives in a filthy banlieue he calls Little America, again in squalor, again with a steady job as a repairman of security-related electronics. The book is, as it keeps (nimbly) reminding us, a camera obscura: partly because indirect and tricky, bent, not-quite-trustable views are the nature of things; partly because of Ron's marginal and scorned status; partly because he's a loner; and partly due to an affliction that makes him see resemblances between people that may not be real (and on the flip side, differences that may not signify much), Ron can make out reality only indirectly, by way of mirrors and shades, and the image he ends up with is inverted, distorted, deeply mysterious. Then, when America's bitter political split starts to replicate itself even in the ghetto—and when he encounters a strangely familiar female schoolmate and is pressed into service as an informant by a detective—the picture gets murkier, scarier, and more peculiar yet. Kalfus has always worked by ingenious indirection; his A Disorder Peculiar to the Country (2006) is a 9/11 novel as seen through the comic lens of an imploding marriage. Here he does so again, and with similar success, creating a commentary on current American politics that never sets foot in America, takes place in a distant future, and takes pains (as its protagonist does) to avoid the overtly partisan.
A strange, highly compelling tale about what happens when American privilege and insulation get turned inside out.

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March, 2022

2AM Kirkus

A starred review in Kirkus!

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