Grossman at the 2011 Texas Book Festival
|Education||Lexington High School|
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
|Occupation||Novelist, critic, journalist|
|Parent(s)||Judith Grossman (mother) |
Allen Grossman (father)
|Relatives||Austin Grossman (brother)|
Bathsheba Grossman (sister)
Lev Grossman (born June 26, 1969 in Concord, Massachusetts) is an American novelist and journalist, most notable as the author of The Magicians Trilogy: The Magicians (2009), The Magician King (2011), and The Magician's Land (2014). He was formerly the book critic and lead technology writer at Time magazine (2002-16).
Grossman was born on June 26, 1969 in Concord, Massachusetts. He is the twin brother of video game designer and novelist Austin Grossman, brother of sculptor Bathsheba Grossman, and son of the poet Allen Grossman and the novelist Judith Grossman. Grossman's father was born Jewish and his mother was raised Anglican, but Grossman has said, "I grew up in a very unreligious household. Very. I have no religion at all. So I come at religion as about as much of an outsider as you can be in Western civilization." On the assumption that he was raised Jewish, he has said, "I have this extremely old-world name, and people can invite me to as many Jewish book festivals as they want to--but I wasn't raised Jewish." He is an alumnus of Lexington High School and Harvard College. He graduated from Harvard in 1991 with a degree in literature. Grossman then attended a Ph.D. program in comparative literature for three years at Yale University, but dropped out before completing his dissertation.
Grossman has written for The New York Times, Wired, Salon.com, Lingua Franca, Entertainment Weekly, Time Out New York, The Wall Street Journal, and The Village Voice. He has served as a member of the board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle and as the chair of the Fiction Awards Panel.
In writing for Time, he has also covered the consumer electronics industry, reporting on video games, blogs, viral videos and Web comics like Penny Arcade and Achewood. In 2006, he traveled to Japan to cover the unveiling of the Wii console. He has interviewed Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman, Joan Didion, Jonathan Franzen, J.K. Rowling, and Johnny Cash. He wrote one of the earliest pieces on Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. A piece written by Grossman on the game Halo 3 was criticized for casting gamers in an "unfavorable light." Grossman was also the author of the Time Person of the Year 2010 feature article on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Grossman did some freelancing and wrote for other magazines. Some of the works he wrote at this time include "The Death of a Civil Servant," "Good Novels Don't Have to be Hard," "Catalog This," "The Gay Nabokov," "When Words Fail," and "Get Smart." He freelanced at The Believer, the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Salon, Lingua Franca, and Time Digital. It was soon after this that his novel, Warp, was published.
Lev Grossman's first novel, Warp, was published in 1997 after he moved to New York City.Warp was about "the lyrical misadventures of an aimless 20-something in Boston who has trouble distinguishing between reality and Star Trek." It received largely negative customer reviews on Amazon.com, and in response, Grossman submitted fake reviews to Amazon using false names. He then recounted these actions in an essay titled "Terrors of the Amazon". His second novel, Codex, was published in 2004 and became an international bestseller. After Codex, Grossman published the book that he is most well known for, The Magicians.
In an article for The New York Times Grossman wrote: "I wrote fiction for 17 years before I found out I was a fantasy novelist. Up till then I always thought I was going to write literary fiction, like Jonathan Franzen or Zadie Smith or Jhumpa Lahiri. But I thought wrong. ... Fantasy is sometimes dismissed as childish, or escapist, but I take what I am doing very, very seriously.
Grossman's New York Times bestseller The Magicians was published in hardcover in August 2009. The trade paperback edition was made available on May 25, 2010. The Washington Post called it "Exuberant and inventive...Fresh and compelling...a great fairy tale." The book is a dark contemporary fantasy about Quentin Coldwater, an unusually gifted young man who obsesses over Fillory, the magical land of his favorite childhood books. Unexpectedly admitted to Brakebills, a secret, exclusive college of magic in upstate New York (an amalgam of Bannerman's Castle and Olana), Quentin receives an education in the craft of modern sorcery. After graduation, he and his friends discover that Fillory is real.
Michael Agger of The New York Times said the book "could crudely be labeled a Harry Potter for adults," injecting mature themes into fantasy literature.The Magicians won the 2010 Alex Award, given to ten adult books that are appealing to young adults, and the 2011 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
In August 2011, The Magician King, the sequel to The Magicians, was published, which returns readers to the magical land of Fillory, where Quentin and his friends are now kings and queens. The Chicago Tribune said The Magician King was "The Catcher in the Rye for devotees of alternative universes" and that "Grossman has created a rare, strange and scintillating novel." It was an Editor's Choice pick of The New York Times, who called it "[A] serious, heartfelt novel [that] turns the machinery of fantasy inside out."The Boston Globe said "The Magician King is a rare achievement, a book that simultaneously criticizes and celebrates our deep desire for fantasy."
A television adaptation of the Magicians trilogy premiered on December 16, 2015, although Grossman said in 2011 that he did not believe the source material would be conducive to a film adaptation.
In September 2016, Grossman announced that he was working on a King Arthur novel called The Bright Sword.
In July 2019, Grossman, with co-writer Lilah Sturges and illustrator Pius Bak, released The Magicians: Alice's Story, a graphic novel told from the perspective of Alice, a secondary character from the book series.
Grossman lives in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn with his second wife, Sophie Gee, whom he married in early 2010, and his daughter Lily from a previous marriage. On June 10, 2010, his daughter Halcyon Harriet Graham was born. In September 2012, his third child, Benedict, was born. Though Grossman's background is Jewish, and he includes religion in his work, he is a self-professed atheist.