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Masters of Atlantis is a cockeyed journey into an America of misfits and con men, oddballs, and innocents, by one of America’s most respected novelists, #1New York Times bestselling author Charles Portis.
“One of the few laugh-out-loud novels I’ve read.” —Conan O’Brien
Lamar Jimmerson is the leader of the Gnomon Society, the international fraternal order dedicated to preserving the arcane wisdom of the lost city of Atlantis. Stationed in France in 1917, Jimmerson comes across a little book crammed with Atlantean puzzles, Egyptian riddles, and extended alchemical metaphors. It’s the Codex Pappus: the sacred Gnomon text. Soon he is basking in the lore of lost Atlantis, convinced that his mission on Earth is to administer to and extend the ranks of the noble brotherhood.
Charles Portis wrote five novels, and this is his penultimate. Portis is often compared to Mark Twain because, like Twain, Portis focuses on and plays with the wide range of expression found in American speech. Every character in this novel has a unique way of expressing himself, and it’s clear to the reader that Portis genuinely loves each and every one of these characters and creating for them a unique vernacular.
For fans of True Grit or other Charles Portis novels and for readers who have yet to discover his work, a trip with Portis and Lamar Jimmerson will be great fun and full of rewards.
“A wonderful talent—original, quirky, exciting.” —Larry McMurtry, author of The Last Picture Show and Terms of Endearment
“I’ve loved his work all my life—The Dog of the South is a family favorite, as is Masters of Atlantis. . . . The books are so funny that they cry to be read aloud.” —Donna Tartt, author of The Goldfinch and The Secret History, in the New York Times
About the Author
Charles Portis (1933–2020) lived most of his life in Arkansas, where he was born and raised. He was a graduate of the University of Arkansas, which in 2018 awarded him an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters. He served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War, was the London bureau chief of the New York Herald-Tribune, and was a writer for The New Yorker. He is the author of four other novels, also available from the Overlook Press: Norwood, The Dog of the South, Masters of Atlantis, and Gringos. A selection of his writing has been collected in Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany.