Please tune in online on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, at 7 p.m. ET for the inaugural Strange Light Presents! Eugene Marten, author of Pure Life, will be in conversation with Defector editor David Roth to talk about this new novel. Registration is free—sign up here.
ABOUT PURE LIFE
A harrowing, intense, powerful new novel that reads like a classic, from one of the great writers of his generation.
Nineteen battles his way into the pros, becomes the quarterback, becomes the myth. Marries the owner’s daughter, touches greatness few will ever dream of, retires into what he assumes will be the promised afterlife of days on the golf course, celebrity endorsements, and cushy real estate investments. But markets tank, family disintegrates, fame fades, and the holes in his mind and memory from a career of punishment on the field become too large and frightening to ignore. When he hears of a miracle brain damage treatment forbidden in the U.S., he travels to the Mosquito Coast of Honduras in search of a chance to restore himself to the man he was. Instead, he finds himself on a journey that plunges him into a darkness more violent and horrific than he could have possibly imagined—at once a fight for his life and to hold onto the shards and fragments of the life he’s fighting for.
A sports saga, sprawling thriller, and existential reckoning with the rot at the core of the west, told by an unheralded, singular master, Pure Life is a daring, complex, and brutal confrontation with and demolition of our modern myths in the most primal of settings—one as perilous as it is imperiled.
Eugene Marten was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to European parents, emigrated to the U.S. before the age of two, and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where he now lives again after stints in Oregon, New York City, Costa Rica (where the germ for Pure Life originated), Texas, South Dakota, and Los Angeles. In 2014, an excerpt from his novel Layman’s Report earned him an NEA Fellowship.