Sergio de la Pava
A Manhattan public defendant by day, Sergio de la Pava tried the traditional routes of publishing for 3 years before deciding to strike out alone. A Naked Singularity is his self-published debut novel.
The book follows Casi, a public defendant modelled on de la Pava himself, who in all his years of practice has never lost a case. Across the course of the book, Casi’s world spirals into realms of darkness, weirdness and absurdity as his sense of justice is compromised and his sense of self degraded.
Acclaim was slow to find de la Pava; there was no overnight success in the immediate aftermath of his book being published, but eventually profiles of the writer and of his book began to mount up. A Naked Singularity was picked up and by the University of Chicago Press who called the work an ‘epoch-defining kind of novel’ and took a chance on debut fiction from an unknown novelist; an unusual move for an academic publishing house.
De la Pava describes himself simply as ‘a writer who does not live in Brooklyn’. It's a sparse biography and a stark contrast to his novel which is a sprawling, wildly digressive epic that runs to almost 700 pages and takes in subjects as diverse as justice, boxing and theoretical physics.
De la Pava’s work had an unconventional birth, from handwritten first drafts made in courtrooms as he waited for cases to be called, via a publishing house that, by its own admission, doesn’t normally print new fiction, to become a real presence worth noting in contemporary American literature.
A Naked Singularity was in the running for our 2013 First Book Award.