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My Works

The Concise Book of Lying

Picador USA, 2002
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001.

As Evelin Sullivan proves in this witty, imaginative, blessedly readable work of scholarship, great truths about the human predicament can be illuminated by the study of deception...Ranging in texts from the Bible to The Origin of Species, in thought from Assyro-Babylonian mythology to Freudian theory, in time from antiquity to yesterday, Sullivan weaves a web of reading and intelligence that is both erudite and entertaining. A fascinating work of cultural, literary, and philosophical investigation.
--A Common Reader, August 2002 Catalog

"An enjoyable meander through moral thickets."
--The Wall Street Journal

"Wide-ranging...sprightly...engagingly eclectic."
--Christian Science Monitor

"A brisk walking tour of the cultural implications of the power to deceive . . . elegantly presented."

"Highly entertaining."

Four of Fools

Fromm International, 1995 (out of print)

Four characters meet in the ancient Italian town of Frascati: a middle-aged ex-history professor with a ruined career; his young wife, disconcertingly obsessed with her research on an enigmatic scientist; their friend, who has his own agenda; and the scientist, who is attempting to formulate a theory about coincidence through methods as old as the tarot and as modern as radioactive decay.

"Evelin Sullivan is one of the most interesting novelists we have . . . Four of Fools is intimate--there are only four characters, but they seem to be present (as "ghosts" or "hallucinations") at all times. We have the sense of suffocation, entombment, imprisonment."
-- Irving Malin

Games of the Blind

Fromm International, 1994 (out of print)

"Evelin Sullivan's fancy prose style has been compared to Nabokov's before, and with her frequently fascinating third novel it will be again: in many ways this jailhouse narrative resembles 'Lolita' without the travelogue. Paul Avery has killed a man in cold blood, and here he leads the reader on a search for the psychological implications of this brutal act. Avery untangles his memories of early love, tortured and undeveloped sexuality, adolescent cruelty and, eventually, a kind of redemption. A practicing psychologist, he finds passion on the couch, and the novel's best moments come as he seduces his favorite patient. It is her unfeeling husband whom Avery plans to kill; that the plan goes awry is expected, because Avery is completely blind to the world. Tricked as a boy, tricky as a young man, he is unable to see how he has tricked himself as an adult."
--The New York Times Book Review

"[Evelin] Sullivan has produced a third novel that delves deeply and obsessively into the nature of obsession itself: obsession with a person, with sex, with, beneath it all, the self...A fascinatingly claustrophobic book spent entirely inside the narrator's twisted, relentlessly anatytical, self-condemning mind."
--Kirkus Reviews

The Correspondence

Fromm International, 1993 (out of print)

"Evelin Sullivan's second novel is fascinating for its wry exploration of the bizarre and amusing manifestations of love and sexual obsession. 'The Correspondence' tells of the friendship between an unlikely pair of men, a magnetic actor and a reclusive author, who send each other letters from imaginary characters--characters who provide clues about their creators' own experiences. The tale is narrated by George Fowler as he writes the biography of his friend Alex Merry, after Merry has committed suicide at the height of his acting career. By slowly revealing the nature of each man and showing how he changes over the years, Ms. Sullivan forces readers to look deeper for the truth, elements of which she offers and withholds, like a teasing lover."
--The New York Times Book Review

"Evelin Sullivan's second one of those rare books that leave you with a sense of excitement about the possibilities of fiction...In the Correspondence, Sullivan navigates the familiar territories of memory and desire and makes them new again."
--San Francisco Review of Books

The Dead Magician

Dalkey Archive Press, 1989.

The fictional biography of a famous novelist serving a life term in prison for the murder of his brother - written by an academic who worships and loathes his subject in equal proportions.