How Are You Going to Save Yourself (Little Brown & Company)
Four young men struggle to liberate themselves from the burden of being black and male in America in an assured debut "as up-to the-minute as a Kendrick Lamar track and as ruefully steeped in eternal truths as a Gogol tale" ( Kirkus, starred review).
Bound together by shared experience but pulled apart by their changing fortunes, four young friends coming of age in the postindustrial enclave of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, struggle to liberate themselves from the legacies left to them as black men in America. With potent immediacy and bracing candor, this provocative debut follows a decade in the lives of Dub, Rolls, Rye, and Gio as they each grapple with the complexity of their family histories, the newfound power of sex and drugs, and the ferocity of their desires.
Gio proves himself an unforgettable narrator, beautifully flawed and unstintingly honest, as he recounts both the friends' conflicts and their triumphs. Whether it's a fraught family cookout, a charged altercation on the block, a raucous night in high-society Manhattan gone wrong, or the troubled efforts of a drug hustler to go clean, JM Holmes brings the thump and the heat of his scenes to life with the kind of ease that makes us not just eavesdroppers but participants.
How Are You Going to Save Yourself illuminates in breathtaking detail an entire world-one that has been underrepresented in American fiction. At times funny, often uncomfortable, occasionally disturbing, these stories fearlessly engage with issues of race, sex, drugs, class, and family. Holmes's blistering and timely new voice, richly infused with the unmistakable rhythms of hip-hop that form the sound track to his characters' lives, delivers an indelible fiction that has never been more vital and necessary.
JM Holmes was born in Denver and raised in Rhode Island. He won the Burnett Howe Prize for fiction at Amherst College, and received fellowships to the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the Napa Valley Writers' Conference. He has worked in educational outreach in Iowa, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. He lives in Milwaukee and is currently at work on a novel.
Natashia Deón is a 2018-2019 LA Times Book Award Prize Judge for Fiction and Debut Fiction, a 2017 NAACP Image Award Nominee for her critically-acclaimed novel, Grace, and was the 2017 American Library Association’s Black Caucus Award Winner for Best Debut Fiction. Grace was named a New York Times Top Book 2016 and Kirkus Review Best Book of 2016 and has appeared in TIME Magazine, People Magazine and other places. A practicing criminal attorney, law professor, and UCLA Creative Writing Professor, Deón is the mother of two and is the creator of the popular L.A.-based reading series Dirty Laundry Lit and literary mentorship project, The Table.
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