Adam Ehrlich Sachs

Books Amelia Atlas, +1 212 556 5600 Email Amelia Atlas

Inherited Disorders

book | Fiction | Jun 2016
US & Canada → Regan Arts (Ed. Lucas Wittmann)

A son receives an inheritance from his father and tries to dispose of it before it destroys him. 

Inherited Disorders tells this elemental story in 117 variations: 117 well-meaning fathers and the 117 sons they inadvertently annihilate through their fatherly affections. A Czech pianist amputates his fingers one by one to thwart his father, who will not stop composing concertos for him. A 19th century Italian nobleman wills his ill-conceived flying contraption – incapable of actual flight – to his newborn son. In West Hollywood, an aspiring screenwriter must contend with the judgemental visage of his father, a respected public intellectual whose frozen head, clearly disappointed in him, he keeps in his freezer. Each of these surreal tales and parables aims to entertain on its own, but taken together, they are also thought experiments and investigations devised by a single son desperate to understand his ambivalent feelings toward his own beloved father: an inquiry in stories.
Steeped equally in the dark absurdism of Kafka and the precise quality of Lydia Davis, Inherited Disorders brings a contemporary sensibility to one of the oldest literary forms – as well as a warped comedic world view entirely its own.


Audio Rights


The audio rights are handled by Regan Arts.

Claire Nozieres manages the translation rights for Inherited Disorders

Translation Rights Sold

Czarna Owca

Adam Ehrlich Sachs's debut marks the arrival of a major humorist. If Kafka and Louis CK were to join forces, they might produce something like Inherited Disorders: absurd, wise, and extremely funny.

Simon Rich

Inherited Disorders makes a certain kind of anxiety so comically debilitating that the full extent of its uselessness is revealed. Beneath its surface, lurks the question: what might we be capable of accomplishing if we weren’t so worried about what we should be doing?

Miranda Popkey
The Awl

Sachs, who is thirty and has written for Hollywood, is a newcomer to fiction, but it’s hard to imagine a more assured debut: Each of its 117 father-and-son parables is saturated with the sort of sadness, cruelty, and humor you might find in Thomas Bernhard, one of Sachs’s confessed European-modernist influences.

Karan Mahajan
BookForum (Interview)

Sachs has a finely tuned sense of humor and an economical writing style that gives each story plenty of punch... He’s made sure that Inherited Disorders is crammed full of smart turns of phrase, clever twists of logic, and plenty of laughs.

Michael Patrick Brady
Boston Globe

Adam Sachs’ Motherless Son, Fathered by Kafka and Louis C.K. and Haunted by Delmore Schwartz

Darkly hilarious

Adam Kirsch
Full Review

With his humor, wit, and imagination, Sachs proves himself a perceptive observer of human nature and a distinctly promising talent. 

Publishers Weekly (starred)
Full Review

Endlessly sharp and engaging from start to finish. There is something almost rhythmically musical or mathematical about the form, like Monet’s water lilies...Unique, compulsively readable, and entirely modern.

Mary Vensel White
The Rumpus

Ingenious, structurally elegant inheritance puzzles...Much of the book’s comedy is in Sachs’s way of treating these fraught relationships as if they were systems with rule-governed outcomes to be modeled and graphed.

Max Nelson
New Republic

Sachs's stories...feel like Saturday Night Live

Matthew Zeitlin

Filial ties, in all their tangled perversity, are the subject of Mr. Sachs’s debut. His brief comic sketches—each a darkly glittering gem of compressed neuroses—illustrate the astounding range of resentments and misunderstandings that exist between fathers and sons.

Sam Sacks
Wall Street Journal
Full Review

Adam Ehrlich Sachs’s debut collection, Inherited Disorders, looks at the nature of relationships between fathers and sons in over a hundred wonderfully absurd vignettes. Hilarious and quirky yet poignant, Inherited Disorders is one of the most original — and entertaining — books of the season.

Jarry Lee

In Inherited Disorders, Sachs displays a rare kind of genius: storytelling that’s humorous and absurdist, but also slyly compassionate and layered. 

Jeff VanderMeer
Full Review

Amelia Atlas
+1 212 556 5600
Email Amelia Atlas
Karolina Sutton
+44 (0)20 7393 4428
Email Karolina Sutton
Translation Rights
Claire Nozieres
+44 (0)20 7393 4425
Email Claire Nozieres