The novel begins when Wakefield, an "inspirational speaker" and architecture enthusiast, is visited by the Devil, who tells him his time is up. Not yet ready, Wakefield strikes a bargain with Satan and sets off on a cross-country journey to understand his life and times and find his "authentic" self. It's Wakefield's continuing exploration of architecture---and our national obsession with restoration of our cities, of our buildings, of our bodies, of life itself---that drives him to question what is inside and what is outside reality. In the end, in an attempt to "restore" his own world, Wakefield decides he must remake it in a shocking act.

Critical Praise

"Precisely when we most need him, Mark Twain has resurrected in Andrei Codrescu. Fleeing the Restoration is a hilarious - and yet grievously sobering - road-trip told by a maniac and signifying everything. Codrescu made me laugh over and over again, while brilliantly excavating and revealing the dark and absurd underbelly of our crazy global landscape." - Ariel Dorfman, author of Death and the Maiden

"Don Juan" was the name of the first famous bargainer with the devil, created by the Golden Age Spanish playwright Tirso de Molina in his The Trickster of Seville. Goethe became another gambler with the devil in Faust, which he got from St. Augustine's repentant Against Faustus, a denunciation of his former Gnostic master Faustus (the Favored). Gloomy Hawthorne gave Wakefield some fun and freedom, but he had to pay up. In modern times Borges twisted the terms of the pact in The Secret Miracle in which a bound Jewish playwright in Prague, about to be executed by a Nazi firing squad, asks God to freeze time fa year so he can finish his religious drama in his mind. He gets his year, but when time and midair bullets resume their course, he pays the devil (the Nazis). Now André Codrescu has joined these classical writers Tirso, Goethe, Hawthorne, and Borges as the contemporary master of devil covenants. Like Sinclair Lewis before him, his mainstreet reveals a wildly corrupt, entertaining, loony Odysseus on his picaresque jaunt through popular world culture. Most poignant and darkly compelling in Wakefield is his admixture of madness, cunning, and the ultimate metaphysical sorrow of his journey, worth it, for what alternative exists in a world of diabolical tricksters? Yet life prevails over death, over any pact, in this laughing encyclopedia of Wakefield's wanderings." -  Willis Barnstone, author of The Gnostic Bible

“Perverse, romantic, profound, hilarious, cynical, moving, always surprising, and gorgeously written, “Wakefield” ishell-bent comic poetry, and the best kindof fun: the sort that forever changes the way you look at the world, frompicayune details to the meaning of life.” - Elizabeth McCracken, author of The Giant’s House

“Reading Wakefield is like going on the road with Andrei Codrescu, travelingto places foreign, domestic, ancient, modern, post-modern, fabulous, and always surprising.  He plucks you from the circumstances of everyday life and takes you on an exhilarating excursion through time and space, through memory and imagination, and he introduces you to unforgettable characters obsessed with singular follies.  He illuminates the journey with keen intelligence and flavors it with with spiked with hot sauce.  What a trip!  You’ll be sorry to have it end, but when it’s over you may find that Andrei seems still to be with you, narrating your daily adventures in his inimitable voice.  This is a book that you’ll be giving as a gift to friends.” - Eric Kraft, author of the Peter Leroy cycle

Praise be to the mad yuppie whose noisy passion for remodeling drove Andrei Codrescu out of his New Orleans condo, and led him on this marvelous & surreal odyssey through the labyrinthine passageways of his own skull. The Codrescu skull closely resembles the known world: familiar-sounding places, from Prague to Normal, Illinois are to be found there; and it is dominated by two great superpowers, America and Transylvania--though the two are not at war but engaged in a strange, sexy, collaborative interpenetration. Magical transformation is the rule: desolate facts turn into brilliant jokes, real cities turn into imaginary ones, and imaginary cities are made real. Here is a 21st century version of Lewis Carroll's Looking-Glass House, where everything is the same-but-different, and the reader emerges at the end of the journey with laughter in his heart and a revitalized sense of the astonishing mysteries of everyday life in the here and now. A dazzling book; at least, it dazzled me, and I read it greedily at one sitting. - Jonathan Raben, author of Old Glory

Andrei Codrescu’s latter-day Satyricon-cum-Faus pits a feckless Old Clootie against an equally feckless, but hardly impotent, Wakefield; each in his way a dispirited descendant of Hawthorne’s"outcast of the universe." His absurdistpicaresque isset in a world that is an alarmingmirror image of our own, as seen from the cockeyed advantage of these United States as it barreled into new millennium. Wakefield isan acid, philosophicalbrew of Codrescuan mischief.” - Peter Glassgold, author of The Angel Max

Andrei Codrescu's new novel, WAKEFIELD, is a brilliantly inventive cathedral of a book.  If Antonio Gaudi had been a writer, this is the way he would have written.  No one—and I mean no one--is more deeply in touch with the zeitgeist of this obsessive, lunatic age than Andrei Codrescu.  In our culture, in our literature, he is essential.” - Robert Olen Butler, author of A Strange Scent from a Good Mountain

"Codrescu has written a tour de force comedy in which he proves--as did Dante and Milton and Goethe and Mark Twain before him--that Beezlebub is literature's best character. He also confirms the internationally agreed-upon notion that America is the devil's ripest ground. I laughed out loud." - Mary Karr, author ofThe Liar’s Club

"There's a skimpy line between inspired word-jazz and unrestrained expressions of personal wisdom. WAKEFIELD zig-zags across that line on wheels of comic brilliance, totally flattening a lot of useless architecture--  physical and psychological--  along the way." - Tom Robbins, author of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues