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On The Table Read, “The Best Book Reader Magazine in the UK“, the word’s most prolific ghost writer, Daniel Paisner, releases new book, Balloon Dog.
For the most part, the objective of a ghostwriter is just that – to be a ghost. It’s to flourish as the man behind the curtain, and to use one’s skill as a writer only in service of bringing someone else’s voice to life. But when you possess a talent for storytelling so great that over seventy titles – including seventeen New York Times best-sellers – can be credited to your name, it’s hard to remain in the shadows for too long.
The World’s Most Prolific Ghost
New York magazine once called Daniel Paisner “the world’s most prolific ghost.” A journalist, author, podcaster, and ghostwriter who has been the voice of Serena Williams, Steve Aoki, John Kasich, Whoopi Goldberg, Denzel Washington, Ray Lewis and more, over the course of his career, Paisner has taken on the personas of dozens of compelling individuals including a World Series poker champion, a plus-size supermodel, an FBI hostage negotiator, a three-term Democratic Mayor of New York City, a three-term Republican Governor of New York State, several daytime talk show hosts, an Oscar winner; an Emmy winner, a Tony winner; and the list goes on.
Paisner’s day job has given him a remarkable degree of insight into the human condition and a level of empathy for those outside of his own lived experience that most writers would give their right arm for.
Which is why fiction readers are in for a considerable treat when Paisner’s latest novel, Balloon Dog – a provocative, comedic, tender and contemplative treatise on middle age, social media, art, and belonging – is released in June 2022 with Koehler Books.
The story of an art heist gone wrong, Balloon Dog is a dark comedy that asks: what happens when the life you are living is no longer the life you imagined?
Set in the pre-COVID spring and fall of 2018, the story turns on the ill-conceived theft of an iconic Jeff Koons sculpture, lifted in plain sight from its perch beside a luxurious mountain home in Park City, Utah.
Following the musings and misadventures of Harrison Klott – a middle-class Jewish family man and copywriter in the throes of midlife crisis – and Lem Devlin, the striving but not-quite clever enough for his own good warehouse muscle behind the ill-conception – along with Shari Braverman, a local divorcée whose sunny good looks hide a few sad secrets – Balloon Dog is an unconventional if pitch-perfect poolside read for fans of Carl Hiassen capers and Jonathan Franzen tales of domestic angst.
The Only Thing Constant About Life Is Change
At a time when Americans are continuing to reemerge and reestablish their lives after two long years indoors, Balloon Dog stands as a subtle reminder that the only thing constant about life is change, even when it all feels pretty predictable and mundane.
Paisner shows empathy and compassion for his characters while never hesitating to see the comical side of people’s idiosyncrasies just to get through it all, and asks readers to consider what it means to leave a mark – and to reflect on the places we make in our lives for art and connection.
Praise For Balloon Dog
“When you think of art heists, it’s often centuries-old paintings or sculptures that come to mind. Daniel Paisner’s Balloon Dog demonstrates just how thrilling it can be to put a contemporary work of art into a narrative – and a massive maximalist sculpture, at that. And that’s without touching on Paisner’s incisive riffs on suburban ennui throughout the book. Imagine a literary mash-up of The Hot Rock and A Serious Man and you have a sense of where this novel is coming from – but not of the surprises it has in store.”
—Tobias Carroll, author of Reel and Ex-Members
“Opportunity looks different in middle age than it does in youth — especially in Daniel Paisner’sBalloon Dog. Slightly lost, deeply frustrated, and desperate to know if there’s still life to be had in the back-half of the game, Paisner’s characters handle marriage and divorce and aging parents and money problems with a lack of grace that provides a plot full of comedy and pathos. Darkly funny and painfully true, Balloon Dog proves that the unknowable road of life is best handled by experienced drivers: those who know only that twists are coming, and trust they’ll be able to navigate them in their own imperfect way when they do.”— Laura Zigman, author of Separation Anxiety
“Daniel Paisner has a winner on his hands – actually, we all win here. How often is a book this funny, intense, exciting and intensely stylish, all at once? Paisner does a masterful job – well-plotted, fast-paced, and a hell of a read.”— Darin Strauss, author of The Queen of Tuesday and Chang and Eng
“Daniel Paisner’s Balloon Dog is a little bit of everything – rumination on life, desire, regret for the paths we choose and those we’ve walked and to which we can no longer return. It’s also a heist novel and a psychological thriller, what might result if Philip Roth and Elmore Leonard wrote a book together. In the end, Balloon Dog is a magnificent and magnificently-written rendering of life on all sorts of margins, and one you won’t want to miss!”— Ted Flanagan, author of Every Hidden Thing
“Funny, smart, and populated with empathetic, unforgettable characters you wouldn’t mind teaming up with for an art heist. Daniel Paisner’s fiction pen hasn’t lost an ounce of ink. A yarn you’re not going to want to put down.”— Daniel Ford, author of Black Coffee and host of the Writer’s Bone podcast
About Daniel Paisner
Daniel Paisner is an American journalist, author, and podcaster. He is best known for his work as a ghostwriter and collaborator. He has published more than seventy books, including seventeen New York Times best-sellers. He is also the author of three novels, and several works of non-fiction. Some of his titles include The Girl in the Green Sweater: A Life in Holocaust’s Shadow (2008), The Power of Broke (2016), and Last Man Down (2002).
Paisner hosts the podcast As Told To, in which he interviews other authors about their experiences ghostwriting and collaborating with notable figures
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