“An audacious love story as well as all the other things it is, Lake of Urine thumbs its nose at any attempt to describe it coherently, but this is part of its maddening charm.”
“Stitch flicks his blade around all the important things in life, isolating absurdities, nicking arteries. He deflates pretension at every turn. He throws images like tarot cards. He’s a caustic humorist with serious intent.”
“A bracing and bizarre escapade powered by some electric prose that is by turns bawdy, grotesque and droll.”
“Such a talent for world-building...An abundance of funny, bizarre, imaginative touches.”
“Lake of Urine is a jeu d’esprit, best enjoyed on its own deranged terms. And it is genuinely funny, with nuggets of surreal whimsy on almost every page.”
“Stitch’s prose is mesmerising; his vocabulary is nothing short of awesome (and I mean that in the divine sense of the word) while his ability to weave whimsy and magical realism into an accented, almost anachronistically antiquated style is practically sublime.”
THE IRISH TIMES
“This is the type of book I adore: intelligent, whimsically hilarious, and unapologetically bizarre. It is everything I love about surrealism and bizarro put together in one masterpiece. Without hyperbole, I can say that it is my favorite modern bizarre novel.”
“Lake of Urine is a weird and unique gem—hilarious and eerie and oddly heartfelt, full of images and bits of language that will lodge permanently in your head.”
AUTHOR OF ILL WILL
“Absolutely savage. Truly original. Absurdly funny. Stitch is Irish and it can’t help but seep through. From Swift to Wilde to Beckett, if you’re looking for them you’ll spot them. Winking. I imagine it’s in approval. The novel itself is as tight as a fist and punches twice as hard.”
of the IRISH INDEPENDENT
“Whatever our own normative intuitions as readers regarding what fiction should or shouldn’t be, it is hard, even after a few pages, not to surrender to Stitch’s unflinching audacity, which is everywhere on display...deeply original.”
“There’s skilful alchemy at play here…. an unconventional and iconoclastic novel.”
“Stitch’s writing is constantly surprising, and the fecundity of his language deserves all the accolades….All around an impressive and entirely unique work of fiction.”
“Stitch's imagination is envy-inducing. Fans of Donald Barthelme’s most playful prosody, or the breakneck humor of A Confederacy of Dunces, will have to remind themselves to breathe in between those first 18 pages. (If isolated, “Seiler” would be my favorite short story of the last decade).”
“Daring, exuberant, stuffed with satire and literary tropes from Dickens to Barthelme, Calvino to Angela Carter, and totally exhausting…. It is the dazzling pyrotechnics of language and satire that bind the book together; the quest for meaning in a world which clearly has none…. For sheer exuberance and energy alone, the journey’s worth taking.”
“Fairytale tropes meet modernist angst in search of stable coordinates...takes the absurdist satire to its logical conclusion...every character is an eccentric blend of character and nuance...brilliant tragicomedy.”
“Guillermo Stitch's novel Lake of Urine is funny, dark, and entertaining on every page.”
“Resolutely self-aware as a piece of art…. deftly delivered with skill and confidence …In short, if you read one absurdist literary comedy from a debut author this year make it this one.”
JOHN C. ADAMS
“The odd world Stitch creates is enlivened by his vibrant characters and ornate prose, which blends the archaic, grandiloquent, and lyrical along with nuggets of the idiomatic and euphemistic. Stitch neither tries to faithfully recreate our own world nor fabricate an entirely alien one. The mimetic effect is like something out of a dream, familiar and unsettling, a convincing achievement on par with the recognizable nowhere-ness of O’Brien’s The Third Policeman.”
“Enchantingly absurd and sumptuously rendered... Guillermo Stitch has concocted a banquet for the senses, with surprises to savor on every page.”
AUTHOR OF PERMANENT EXHIBIT
“An absurdist marriage plot with notes of Bohumil Hrabal and a novel’s heft of singularity. Come for the exuberant prose; stay for the bawdy turns and twists, and be rewarded with laughter. This colorful, original tale will not disappoint.”
AUTHOR OF DOLL PALACE
“I can’t decide whether this novel brings Voltaire or David Foster Wallace to mind, but I doubt either could do a better job of bantering about the savage human spirit than Stitch does here in 2020…. It’s dirty. It’s funny. It’s complex. It’s the kind of debut novel that most authors could only hope for.”
“Exploring this world is an absolute delight. At every turn we encounter new depths of depravity, new heights of brilliance… and all of it is rendered in prose that is smart and squalid and layered enough to evoke—and perhaps even rival—James Joyce.”
“Guillermo Stitch’s Lake of Urine reads like something Flann O’Brien might have written if he’d just allowed himself to go really wild.”
AUTHOR OF GHOST ENGINE
“Beautiful literary prose, depicting even the most grotesque details, conveys this book’s commitment to what it holds dear. Reminiscent of Confederacy of Dunces’ bawdy humor and Wes Anderson’s colorful, yet darkly whimsical cinematic compositions, Lake of Urine is a bizarre, raucous love story with ornate surprises at every turn.”
of FOREWORD REVIEWS, BOOKPAGE
“A strange and wonderful thing. There are sentences to relish on every page and you will find yourself wanting to read chunks of it out loud to everyone you meet.”
“There's a world in these pages, a world as rich and strange as any that I’ve encountered in literature, and as well realised. This book is a proper, dip-in-able old fashioned story where you will want to scribble in the margins and dog ear the pages and read it in the bath and smother in hot dropped butter.”
JOHN PATRICK HIGGINS
EVERY DAY I WAKE UP HOPEFUL
“This is definitely not traditional fiction (thankfully)…. Professionally speaking, I’m not permitted to disclose what is in the lake of urine. A clue, however: Stitch’s title is not cruel.”
Once upon a time that doesn't make a blind bit of sense, in a place that seems awfully familiar but definitely doesn't exist, Willem Seiler's obsession with measuring his world—with wrapping it up in his beloved string to keep the madness out—wreaks havoc on the Wakeling family.
Noranbole Wakeling lives in the scrub and toil of the pantry, in the ashes of the cold hearth...which, come to think of it, also sounds pretty familiar...She lives, too, in the shadow of her much wooed and cosseted sister, worshipped by the madman Seiler but overlooked by everyone else.
And that, it turns out, is a good thing.
As lives are lost to Seiler's vanity, the inattention spares her. She spots her chance to break free of the fetters that tie her to Tiny Village—and bolts.
But some cords are never really cut. In her absence, the unravelling of the world she has escaped is complete. Another madness—her mother's—reaches out to entangle her newfound Big City freedom. The unpicked quilt-work of a life in ruins threatens to ruin her own. It will be up to Noranbole to stitch it all together, into something she can call true.
"Lake of Urine" might just provide the year's literary splash. Dark and funny in equal measure, it is a sui generis odyssey through every fairy tale convention and literary trope you can think of—the wicked stepmother, the fairy godmother, Pinnochio, an enchanted penis, the goose that laid the golden egg, binary code, marmalade art and alcoholic meat snacks you can drink. They're all in there.
It is also a merciless take down of self and self-importance, satirising a society that exalts the inane, drowns out the sane and eschews the divine for the profane. And it is a lament for the dreadful weight of our own origins, for the heartbreaking impossibility of absolute reinvention, and the heartening tug of the ties that bind us.