Advance Praise for The Quantum Manual of Style:
Mihok’s debut draws inspiration from quantum theory to imagine how one might live in an unpredictable or hostile world. The book has two main parts: a manual-style exposition of a “quantum style” of living that embraces uncertainty and change, and a complementary narrative about Tara, a girl growing up in Arizona, whose family is gradually disintegrating. A central tenet of the quantum style is dealing with “singularities,” traumatic events that alter the course of life. Such trauma befalls Tara who wanders through the alt scene in Toronto, then Buffalo, trying to grasp tragedy. The more imaginative sections, meanwhile, offer translations of quantum theory into the banal, often funny, frame of everyday American middle-class life. Talk abounds of bosons, the universe, and other heady theoretical issues, but it’s matched by quirky prose experiments like party dynamics rendered in quasi-computer code, miniature thought experiments about causality, and amusing scientistic commentary on the quantum importance of high school. While the narrative itself is forgettable and the aggressive whimsicality distracting, Mihok’s prose is often witty and intellectually lively, with a charming mixture of high theory and humor that blends notes of Alan Lightman, Charles Yu, and Dada.
If we could only psychically find/replace the mandatory copies of Strunk & White in all the colleges with The Quantum Manual of Style, which the meta-logic of the Manual itself seems to suggest we can, it'd be a better world, or at least a more miraculous one. As casually as any insane authoritarian, Brian Mihok finds and rises the time-defying magical elements hidden in any common object to the surface of them, a 2-D hole for us all to fall on into.
—Blake Butler, author of Nothing, There Is No Year, and others
The Quantum Manual of Style is the perfect manual for the new millennium. A dazzling mash-up of self-help, short fiction, computer coding, physics primers, speculative fiction, and even poetry, Brian Mihok’s novel is like nothing else in American literature. The Quantum Manual of Style does not merely interrogate “style”—it redefines it. I loved this book.
—Dean Rader, author of Works & Days
The Quantum Manual of Style accumulates, and with each accumulation, shifts. At first, it is funny and puzzling, an arrangement of strange and humorous cells. It then becomes a thesis, a treatise of some understanding, still arcane but wise. Finally, it becomes a set of human beings, all with their love and hurt and hearts. It’s a moving book, and it takes you with it. Brian Mihok has made a good, stirring thing.
—Joseph Young, author of Easter Rabbit
The Quantum Manual of Style is a reminder that the most challenging experiences are those of our own consciousness. Tara's journey shows us that even boldly travelling far afield offers little more than distraction from (and certainly not relief from) the great unknown that is our own minds.
—John Dermot Woods, author of The Complete Collection of People, Places & Things