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Deadpan: A Novel

ISBN: 9798988717317
Binding: Paperback
Author: Richard Walter
Pages: 246
Trim: 6 x 9 inches
Published: 02/15/2024

Deadpan follows the misadventures of a vaguely antisemitic West Virginia Buick dealer who wakes up one day transformed into the world's most popular Jewish comedian. Steeped in magical realism, the narrative confronts the pivotal issues of our day: identity, intolerance, tribalism and the redemptive force of humor.

The story is set during the world-wide oil crises of the 1970s, alternating among locations in West Virginia, Las Vegas, Washington, Tehran, and Sinai, and featuring characters as diverse as Sarah Palin, Mel Brooks, and the Shah of Iran. This phantasmagorical tour-de-force not only constitutes a satirical takedown of antisemitism (and bigotry in general), it is also a dazzling display of human dignity, resilience, and humor.


Richard Walter is an author of best-selling fiction and nonfiction, celebrated storytelling educator, screenwriter, script consultant, lecturer, and retired professor who led the screenwriting program in the film school at UCLA for several decades.


"In this smart satire about bigotry and intolerance, Walter uses magical realism and comedy to reinforce his satirical look at societal problems…. This is an intriguing novel that will have readers in stitches." - Kat Kennedy

"In Richard Walter's humorous novel Deadpan, a small-town car salesman blinks and opens his eyes to find himself living as one of America's most beloved comedians…. The charm and playfulness of the writing has a dual impact. On the one hand, it matches the fun and genuine pleasure of reading an already amusing story. The prose reflects the chaos and evenhanded nonsense of an unpredictable world in a masterful, seamless way. On the other hand, the book takes on some of the most serious of subjects—antisemitism and hate speech…. The book is as delightful for its wordplay as it is for its imaginative plot." - Ben Linder

"Amid a resurgence in global antisemitism and furious identity politics, the nightly scenes of angry mobs and all the grim commentary, we needed a comedic break. Deadpan provides a humorous but serious story of an antisemite turned Jewish comedian, reminding us that the most potent--and underused--weapon against bigotry and hate is farce and laughter." - David Bernstein

"The manic, comic energy of Richard Walter's Deadpan is so engaging that you may fail to see the serious intent percolating beneath. An ingenious fable of foibles and fallacies across the multiverse." - Rebecca Goldstein

"They say satire is what closes on Saturday night. If Richard Walter's Deadpan were adapted for the stage, in a production that faithfully preserved its sardonic edge, seriocomic sensibility, metaphysical hijinks, and madly inventive plot twists, it would run till the end of the century." - James Morrow