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The Poser

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


• Named one of the Huffington Post's 2015 Books We Can't Wait To Read 

“Smart and absorbing. . . . Echoes of Steven Millhauser and Tom McCarthy. . . . Probing, witty.” —The New York Times Book Review

“A masterful debut . . . delivered with vaudeville verve.” —The Washington Post

“Darkly funny. . . . A deeply sensitive exploration into matters of identity and authenticity.” —Associated Press

The Poser is smart and grand and funny, a wonderful fable. Mr. Rubin is a great hope for comic fiction in the 21st century. He’s got the spirit and the ear.” —Sam Lipsyte

A hilarious and dazzling debut novel about a master impressionist at risk of losing his true self

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 small-town 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.

From the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 26, 2015 – Rubin's debut novel is a witty, inventive character study about a man without a personality. Giovanni Bernini is eerily skilled at imitating those around him, able to select "which parts of a person to take and which to leave alone." The teenager's talent is also a compulsion, as at various times he is unable to resist mimicking his teacher, a mourner at a funeral, and even a lover in the throes of ecstasy. Giovanni is convinced to take his act to the stage by the immensely entertaining (and immense) Maximilian Horatio, a Falstaffian talent manager. Bernini soon achieves fame in a New York City club by imitating audience members, who are delighted to be instantly exposed, "as if had introduced them to their own flesh." The theater is run by the sinister Bernard Apache, who steers his star to Hollywood, and finally into politics, a logical trajectory for a cipher such as Giovanni. This dashed-off political episode at the end, in which Giovanni runs for office as an anti-communist demagogue, is the only real flaw in Rubin's well-sculpted portrait of a man working through a beguiling problem: how to find his voice when he is most himself while aping others.

Customer Reviews


A parable that makes one think about how we all can easily make ourselves into what others want us to be, and lose who we truly are, in this society. Someone's reads like a script for a movie, but overall well done. Worth your time.

The Poser
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  • $4.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Mar 17, 2015
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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