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CONQUISTADOR OF THE USELESS

by Joshua Isard
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Sex is fun, but a baby? Why climb a mountain? What’s your favorite band? A Generation X+Y novel of answers.

Product Details

10-digit ISBN1-935955-54-3
13-digit ISBN978-1-935955-54-2
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
Page Count240
Product Dimensions6x9
Publication DateMarch 22, 2013
RightsAll Rights Available
Joshua Isard’s debut novel is a hoot. Our hero Nathan Wavelsky moves into the burbs with his wife. Life is good. He’s a successful slacker. He doesn’t want to rock the boat. His definition of a good time is listening to his favorite bands on his iPod and staring at the grass and the poplar trees in his backyard.

As a mid-level corporate manager, he does what his bosses tell him. If they want somebody fired, he fires them. No questions asked. But the boat does start to rock. He innocently gives a copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle to a teenage girl and his neighbors are righteously appalled. His wife’s hormones start to tango and now she wants a baby. Sure, he enjoys sex, but that doesn’t mean he wants a baby in the house. Worse, his best friend wants him to climb Mount Everest. Nathan likes to camp and hike, but climbing the Himalayas? He could die, for God’s sake. He just wants to be left alone. But no chance. Shit happens.

Check out a great interview with Josh by Kory at Break Through Radio's Book Talk program here. And read Josh's thoughts on the music that inspired his book on LargeHeartedBoy.


Or heck, listen to the Josh's playlist on Spotify.







Philadelphia Review of Books
"Isard’s debut novel is one of the best I’ve read in a while, a heartbreaking book, and a funny and emotionally trying read that’s worth every minute of your time."
- Brendan Rastetter, August 5, 2013  Visit Website
full review >>
Jim Ward, member of At the Drive-In and Sleepercar
Reading this book is like catching up with an old friend from back in the day—the friend who got the same dirty looks you did, the ones for looking different than the other kids. The friend who turned you on to records you never heard of and would treat your records with respect. The friend who was equally disappointed when the football team started singing along to Nirvana, breaking out of “their” world and entering “our” world. The friend who has pretty much followed the same path in life you have, the one you can still connect with.
I felt such nostalgia at the band shoutouts in Conquistador of the Useless. A lot of memories came back that felt so good and had been just out of reach until I read it cover to cover on a plane ride. The journey of discovering belongs to each one of us, but it’s reassuring when you read someone’s take on a journey that feels so familiar.
Small Press Reviews
"Anyone who grew up at the tail-end of Generation X will find something to love in this book — the protagonist’s angst over drifting, however late, into adulthood, his taste in music, or even his fraught-if-only-because-it’s-so-damn-pleasant relationship with his parents. All told, a fine novel about settling down without settling."
- March 29, 2013 
full review >>
San Antonio Express-News
If ever there was a novel about ordinary characters doing ordinary things, this is it, and it's kind of an amazing effort because of how simple it is: It doesn't try to overscale its themes, and so the material rings true and is surprisingly affecting. It expands in the mind like an insistent beat because it's a reminder of one's own years of painful self-analysis.
- Gerard Martinez, August 8, 2013  Visit Website
full review >>
Paul Elwork,author of The Girl Who Would Speak for the Dead,
“Joshua Isard’s debut novel is a brisk and rewarding journey, a search for meaning without
handy answers or sentimental assurances. Conquistador of the Useless begins with an engaging, smartass narrator who believes he keeps all things and all people at arm’s length. As Nathan’s story unfolds, it takes us to deep places he never intended—places of everyday revelation and of epic mortal proportions, without ever losing the funny charm of its earlier pages.”
- April 11, 2013 
Richard Wertime, Citadel on the Mountain: A Memoir of Father and Son

"Joshua Isard’s first novel enjoys the disciplined precision of a finely honed play script—and a stunning climactic moment that is beautifully narrated. Conquistador is the story of a man in his early thirties who steps out, finally, from behind his love of books and the popular bands he favors (this is truly a novel for that generation!) to embrace his adulthood, to allow the inner warmth that has been in his nature all along to come to the fore. Mentoring, as he does, both a listless teen girl and a drifting young man in search of true feeling, each of whom is an alter ego, he arrives to a base camp on the slopes of Mt. Everest for a meeting alike with death and with the promise of new life. An altogether hip novel, both sassy and classy, Conquistador is a heartwarming novel of genuine growth.
- April 12, 2013 
Geekadelphia
"A brilliant novel...."
- October 16, 2013  Visit Website
This Blog Will Change Your Life
"This book will change your life ... Rich in both detail and humor … [Isard] has spoken the unspoken, something men think, but shouldn't say, much less imply.”
- July 20, 2014  Visit Website
full review >>
Cleaver Magazine
"Nathan’s evolution from ornery 90s cliché to absurdist hero is well worth the read. The authenticity of the author’s voice and lack of literary pretension also makes for an enjoyable experience."
- October 10, 2014 
Click here to view all the reviews

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