“One of 2012’s most enjoyable novels”
neil genzlinger, the new york times


Rick Salter expects to be hated; after all, he’s the mind behind the outrageous—and outrageously successful—reality TV show about torture, “The King of Pain.” What he finds much more worrisome than the ire of cultural critics is that when he wakes up one Saturday morning, he’s trapped underneath his gigantic home entertainment system with no idea how he got there. Rick has 48 long hours ahead of him until his housekeeper will come to his rescue and nothing to pass the time except pain, bad memories—and a strange book he finds lying beside him. Called “A History of Prisons,” it is written by one Seth Kaufman, and it seems mysteriously relevant to Rick’s predicament…

Welcome to the wild world of THE KING OF PAIN, Seth Kaufman’s riotous fiction debut that is part Jennifer Egan, part Italo Calvino, part “Entourage,” and 100% marvelous.

Kudos for the King

“One of 2012’s most enjoyable novels”
neil genzlinger, the new york times

a.o. scott, on twitter

The King of Pain is a book with messages, wrapped in stories and sprinkled with wit, bound together by the themes of imprisonment and human endurance…Kaufman has created a brilliant satire that entertains as it sends its message. It’s unique, original, and innovative, presenting commentary on modern culture while being wonderfully entertaining. I was so drawn into this book that I flew through it in less than two days, unable to put it down.”
zigzag timeline

A New York Post Required Reading Selection!

“This is a dark, sharp, very funny novel about imprisonment, torture and the dangerous pleasures of stories.”
zoë heller, author of notes on a scandal

“A biting satire of Hollywood showbiz, in the spirit of Get Shorty and Sunset Boulevard, and a metafictional romp across genres… It’s a book that wears its social critique lightly, but has a humane layer beneath Salter’s acidic tongue and the relentless dehumanizing element of the reality TV genre.”
karl wolff, chicago center for literature & photography

“Seth Kaufman’s hilarious novel is a multifaceted meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged society where the two are often interchangeable.”
the barnes & noble review

The King of Pain is fucking brilliant. I had that realization while reading it like I did when I first read the book Another Bullshit Night in Suck City.”

“Both comic and tragic, both a series of stories within stories and a long, treacherous journey toward redemption, Kaufman’s novel is a gruesome yet sharply funny portrayal of numerous types of torture and the bliss of release. .”
a portrait of the artist as young woman

“This book is full of dry humor that really hits home…I loved this book for its dark yet entertaining humor and highly recommend it to like-minded readers.”

“Kaufman’s novel is a hoot and a boot, a zany, unsettling, satisfying, post post-modern, tragic-comic tour of prisons around the world and pain in the human heart. Start it and you won’t stop. If you’re a claustrophobe, read it out-of-doors.”
john darnton, author of neanderthal

“You can laugh one moment at the book and be horrified the next, but it is all within the realms of reality…This is an original and witty work that I have no problem in recommending. .”
best book review

“Required reading for any reality-TV junkie.”
n.y. daily news

“Evokes memories of another transformation story, Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.”
jewish book world

Get The King of Pain on Amazon

If you give an architect a contract
Also by Seth Kaufman, the
ultimate “house warning” present,
available at Amazon.