“Deadly serious in ambition, wildly entertaining in execution, Ways and Means is a remarkably accomplished debut . . . Every line of this gorgeous novel glows with Lefferts’ intelligence and compassion.” ―ANTHONY MARRA, New York Times bestselling author of Mercury Pictures Presents and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
“A work of enormous wit, humor, and passion that captures life in turbo capitalist America with compassion and grace.” ―GARY SHTEYNGART, New York Times bestselling author of Our Country Friends
“Totally absorbing . . . Lefferts delivers The Great Gatsby for the 21st-century: irreverent, sexy, and sharp. A major event.” ―JESSI JEZEWSKA STEVENS, author of The Exhibition of Persephone Q and The Visitors
A searing debut novel about a striving finance student, the line between ambition and greed, and the disordered politics of our era
Alistair McCabe comes to New York with a plan. Young, handsome, intelligent, and gay, he hopes to escape his Rust Belt poverty and give his mother a better life by pursuing a career in high finance. But by the spring of 2016, Alistair’s plan has come undone: His fantasy banking job has eluded him, he’s mired in student debt, and in his desperation he’s gone to work for an enigmatic billionaire whose ambitions turn out to be far darker than Alistair could have imagined. By the time Alistair uncovers his employer’s secret, his life is in danger and he’s forced to go on the run.
Meanwhile, Alistair’s paramours, an older couple named Mark and Elijah, must face their own moral and financial dilemmas. Mark, nearing the end of his trust fund, takes a job with his father’s mobile-home empire that forces him to confront the unsavory foundations of his family’s wealth, while Elijah, a failed painter, throws in his lot with an artist-provocateur whose latest project transforms the country’s political chaos into a thing of alluring, amoral beauty. As the nation hurtles toward a breaking point, Alistair, Mark, and Elijah must band together to save one another and themselves.
Propulsive, exuberant, and profoundly observed, Ways and Means is an indelible, clear-eyed investigation of class and ambition, sex and art, and politics and power in twenty-first century America.
“Ambitious and exciting...Lefferts’s nimble sense of scale enables him to convincingly depict the blue-chip firms who rejected Alistair and exploit the housing market, then zoom in for poignant and subtle psychological realism. The results are electrifying.”
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“Deadly serious in ambition, wildly entertaining in execution, Ways and Means is a remarkably accomplished debut that charts the fault lines of class, politics, art, and desire during a period of American crisis. Every line of this gorgeous novel glows with Daniel Lefferts’ intelligence and compassion.”ANTHONY MARRA, New York Times bestselling author of Mercury Pictures Presents and A Constellation of
“A work of enormous wit, humor, and passion that captures life in turbo capitalist America with compassion and grace.”GARY SHTEYNGART, New York Times bestselling author of Our Country Friends
“Ways and Means is wise, funny, ribald, and suspenseful. Daniel Lefferts moves beautifully through narrative modes, including lavish, obscenely hilarious description, nuanced psychological portraiture, and, when the time is right, propulsive thrillerdom. A love story, a satire, a noir, and a cautionary tale, this novel is a terrific debut.”SAM LIPSYTE, author of The Ask and No One Left to Come Looking for You
“Totally absorbing, Ways and Means exhumes and lampoons the repressed erotics at the heart of American capitalism. Lefferts delivers The Great Gatsby for the 21st-century: irreverent, sexy, and sharp. A major event.”JESSI JEZEWSKA STEVENS, author of The Exhibition of Persephone Q and The Visitors
“Art, politics, late-stage capitalism, throuples: how is it possible for Ways and Means to cover so much ground, and so effortlessly? Lefferts writes with a satirist’s eye, but never loses his compassion for his characters, or the harrowing world in which they—and we—find ourselves. This is a remarkable debut by a major new talent.”
—GRANT GINDER, author of Let's Not Do That Again
“Ways and Means is a triumphant debut, a pulsating novel that dives into every crevice of our lives, from high art and higher finance, to the depths of student debt and MAGA politics. Readers will be propelled alongside the quixotic journey of young Alistair McCabe as he attempts to escape each newly unfolding nightmare before it swallows him alive. Captivating, fresh, witty and brilliant, Lefferts is a true, original American voice and this novel is not to be missed.”KRISTOPHER JANSMA, author of Why We Came to the City
“Compelling . . . In [Ways and Means], the personal, often bodily drama of coming-of-age is inextricable from the inhuman forces of capital.”