Expect Antkind to have the surreal, poignant touches that characterize the Oscar-winning writer-director's work on the film side.

By David Canfield
November 22, 2019 at 11:50 AM EST
Mike Pont/WireImage

Charlie Kaufman is going literary.

The Oscar-winning screenwriter behind such acclaimed cult-classics as Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Synecdoche, New York, and Anomalisa has landed a deal with Random House to publish his debut novel, Antkind, EW can announce exclusively. The publisher, which originally acquired the book in 2012, describes it as a “mind-bending opus.”

Antkind centers on a failed film critic named B. Rosenberg who stumbles upon what may be the greatest artistic achievement in human history: a 3-month-long film, complete with scheduled sleeping, eating, and bathroom breaks, that took its reclusive auteur 90 years to complete. As Random House teases in the synopsis: “B. knows that it is his mission to show it to the rest of humanity. The only problem: The film is destroyed, leaving just a single frame from which B. must somehow attempt to recall the film that might just be the last great hope of civilization. Thus begins a mind-boggling journey through the hilarious nightmarescape of a psyche as lushly Kafkaesque as it is atrophied by the relentless spew of Twitter.”

Kaufman won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for the 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and has received three additional nominations. He’s also a published playwright. Antkind marks his first foray into fiction, however. “There are no budgetary limitations in a novel,” he said in a statement. “There is no studio oversight. There are no focus groups. In fact, this book is in part about that; it’s about an impossible movie.”

Ben Greenberg, VP and Executive Editor at Random House, adds: “I’ve been talking to Charlie about this novel for almost eight years and watching it change and recalibrate and grow. Antkind is a hilarious, devastating, epic mindf–k. I’ve never read anything else like it.”

EW can also exclusively reveal the cover, which you can see below.

Random House

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