When we asked Sergio De La Pava about his aims as a writer, he said, "I want every novel I write to depart significantly into a new direction." With Personae, he's made good on that promise. Whereas De La Pava's debut, the critically acclaimed A Naked Singularity, was a shaggy, baggy monster of a book, Personae, nearly five hundred pages shorter, is lean and sharp. A Naked Singularity locked us into the unforgettable voice of its protagonist, Casi, while Personae shimmers and shifts - among different perspectives, locations, narrative techniques. Yet at the same time, the two novels are clearly the work of the same hand. The sheer energy of De La Pava's sentences, his eye for absurd humor, his commitment to the idea of justice - all will be familiar as they carry us from the tale of an obsessive, damaged psychic detective consumed by a murder case into a Sartrean drama that raises questions (and jokes) about responsibility, fate, death, and more. And when De La Pava eventually returns us to the investigation, this time seen from the other side, the lives and deaths bound up in it feel all the more real and moving, even as solid answers slip away into mist. A Naked Singularity was one of the most lauded debut novels in years. The Wall Street Journal named it one of the ten best novels of the year, and Shelf Awareness declared that it "heralded the arrival of a tremendous talent." In some ways, despite its brevity, Personae is even more surprising and challenging than A Naked Singularity - and, in its ambition and fierce intelligence, it's proof that Sergio De La Pava is here to stay. Despite extensive overtures from authors of trend pieces, Sergio De La Pava has not moved to Brooklyn.