Nikola Tesla was a man forever misunderstood.
From his boyhood in present-day Croatia, where his father, a Serbian Orthodox priest, dismissed his talents, to his tumultuous years in New York City, where his heated rivalry with Thomas Edison yielded triumphs and failures, Tesla was both demonized and lionized. Tesla captures the whirlwind years of the dawn of the electrical age, when his flair for showmanship kept him in the public eye. For every successful invention-the alternating current electrical system and wireless communication among them-there were hundreds of others. But what of the man behind the image?
Vladimir Pištalo reveals the inner life of a man haunted by his older brother's death, who struggled with flashes of madness and brilliance, and whose mistrust of institutional support led him to financial ruin. Tesla: A Portrait with Masks is an impassioned account of a visionary whose influence is still felt today.
"Vladimir Pistalo's new novel abounds with energy. His sentences crackle with fantastical images. He hustles from one short chapter to the next. He's an unabashed champion of the exclamation point. It's as though he can barely tame his many high-voltage ideas . . . Tesla is a dynamo of a novel, and Pistalo writes as though he's fueled by a power plant of his own devising."—Kevin Canfield, The Star Tribune
"Much has been written about Nikola Tesla, but Vladimir Pištalo's extraordinary and profoundly original novel manages to tell us something entirely new-not only about the brilliant 'mad-genius' inventor but also about the ways in which literature and the imagination can transform biography into great art."—Francine Prose
"Nikola Tesla, by inventing the AC motor and wireless electrical technology, helped usher America into the modern world. Through extraordinarily rich imagery and metaphor, Vladimir Pištalo imagines Tesla's inner life, and in so doing, probes the cultural and spiritual consequences of modernity."—W. Bernard Carlson, Author of Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age
"Tesla is a profoundly absorbing meditation on the early, defining years of the modern age. Vladimir Pištalo has drawn a lightning-etched portrait of a genius as powerful, as transformative and as mysterious as electricity itself."—Ken Kalfus
"Beautifully written, immensely entertaining, and astonishingly original in the way it tells the story of a man who they used to say 'invented the twentieth century,' but whose life is still an enigma, Tesla: A Portrait with Masks has the richness, the high jinks, and the originality of such modern classics as Günter Grass's The Tin Drum and Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude."—Charles Simic
"A compelling fictionalized account of inventor Nikola Tesla's inscrutable and solitary life . . . Pištalo's thorough account of a great man's personality and habits is done to fine effect."—Publishers Weekly