Hell of a book Or the altogether factual, Wholly Bona Fide story of a big dreams, hard luck, American-Made Mad Kid

Jason Mott

Book - 2021

In Jason Mott's Hell of a Book, a Black author sets out on a cross-country publicity tour to promote his bestselling novel. That storyline drives Hell of a Book and is the scaffolding of something much larger and urgent: since Mott's novel also tells the story of Soot, a young Black boy living in a rural town in the recent past, and The Kid, a possibly imaginary child who appears to the author on his tour. As these characters' stories build and build and converge, they astonish. ...For while this heartbreaking and magical book entertains and is at once about family, love of parents and children, art and money, it's also about the nation's reckoning with a tragic police shooting playing over and over again on the news. And with what it can mean to be Black in America. Who has been killed? Who is The Kid? Will the author finish his book tour, and what kind of world will he leave behind? Unforgettably told, with characters who burn into your mind and an electrifying plot ideal for book club discussion, Hell of a Book is the novel Mott has been writing in his head for the last ten years. And in its final twists it truly becomes its title.

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FICTION/Mott, Jason
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Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor FICTION/Mott, Jason Due Aug 31, 2022
1st Floor FICTION/Mott, Jason Due Aug 17, 2022
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1st Floor FICTION/Mott Jason Due Aug 18, 2022
Subjects
Genres
Novels
Published
[New York] : Dutton [2021]
Language
English
Physical Description
319 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780593330968
059333096X
Main Author
Jason Mott (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

A Black writer (the Writer) with a tenuous grip on reality endures a Dantean book tour. A boy named Soot (the Kid) learns that in a white world, Black safety depends on invisibility. The Writer is instructed by his publicist, "The last thing people really want to hear about is being Black. Being Black's a curse—no offense—and nobody wants to feel cursed when they read something they just finished paying $24.95 for." Soot's father laments the hard racial truths he must impart to his son, knowing that "[w]ith each word, his son would be capable of a little less love, capable of a little less imagination, capable of a little less life." As their stories collide, the Kid begins to haunt the Writer, appearing unexpectedly to share his traumatic anxieties and pose impossible questions. In his fourth novel, which veers from skewering satire to unspeakable sorrow, Mott (The Crossing, 2018) dangles his readers over a precipice of uncertainty. Is the Writer's book meant only to absolve white readers of their complicity? Maddening, disorienting, and illuminating. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In Adams's debut, teenage library worker Aleisha shares The Reading List she's found (all scrunched up) with a widower trying to relate to his book-obsessed granddaughter (75,000-copy first printing). Alderson's Sisters in Arms tells the story of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, the only all-Black battalion of the Women's Army Corps during World War II (150,000-copy first printing). Buxton's Feral Creatures reintroduces us to S.T., the fabulously cheeky crow who starred in the multi-best-booked Hollow Kingdom. Ferguson, the Duchess of York, tells the Victorian-era story of Lady Margaret Montagu Scott in Her Heart for a Compass (150,000-copy first printing). Second in a spin-off from Hearne's New York Times best-selling "Iron Druid Chronicles" series, Paper & Blood features wily Scottish detective Al MacBharrais. In Jio's latest, Seattle-based librarian Valentina Baker receives news sent With Love from London that she's inherited an apartment and bookshop from the mother who abandoned her. Wealthy newcomers wreak havoc to the point of horror in a lakeside rural town in Bram Stoker Award winner Jones's My Heart Is a Chainsaw (100,000-copy first printing). New York Times best-selling Kadrey wraps up his iconic "Sandman Slim" series with the Shoggot gang, led by King Bullet, overrunning a virus-undone Los Angeles (75,000-copy first printing). Debuter Lange's We Are the Brennans features almost-30 Sunday Brennan returning from Los Angeles to New York to explain to both family and ex-fiancé why she left them five years ago (100,000-copy first printing). Author of the LJ best-booked Mexican Gothic, Moreno-Garcia returns with Velvet Was the Night, featuring a romance magazine-reading secretary in 1970s Mexico City obsessed with the disappearance of her beautiful next-door neighbor. Switching from big-hit dystopias, Mott sends his Black protagonist on one Hell of a Book tour in which he confronts police violence. In Pearce's Yours Cheerfully, first in a new series, advice columnist Emmeline Lake helps keep World War II London safe A(150,000-copy first printing). "Bridgerton" series author Quinn joins forces with her illustrator sister to create a graphic novel telling the story of Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron, first hinted at in the seventh book in the series (50,000-copy first printing). After a four-year renovation, Paris's glamorous Hotel Louis XVI reopens, with Steel allowing Complications to erupt. Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In Adams's debut, teenage library worker Aleisha shares The Reading List she's found (all scrunched up) with a widower trying to relate to his book-obsessed granddaughter (75,000-copy first printing). Alderson's Sisters in Arms tells the story of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, the only all-Black battalion of the Women's Army Corps during World War II (150,000-copy first printing). Buxton's Feral Creatures reintroduces us to S.T., the fabulously cheeky crow who starred in the multi-best-booked Hollow Kingdom. Ferguson, the Duchess of York, tells the Victorian-era story of Lady Margaret Montagu Scott in Her Heart for a Compass (150,000-copy first printing). Second in a spin-off from Hearne's New York Times best-selling "Iron Druid Chronicles" series, Paper & Blood features wily Scottish detective Al MacBharrais. In Jio's latest, Seattle-based librarian Valentina Baker receives news sent With Love from London that she's inherited an apartment and bookshop from the mother who abandoned her. Wealthy newcomers wreak havoc to the point of horror in a lakeside rural town in Bram Stoker Award winner Jones's My Heart Is a Chainsaw (100,000-copy first printing). New York Times best-selling Kadrey wraps up his iconic "Sandman Slim" series with the Shoggot gang, led by King Bullet, overrunning a virus-undone Los Angeles (75,000-copy first printing). Debuter Lange's We Are the Brennans features almost-30 Sunday Brennan returning from Los Angeles to New York to explain to both family and ex-fiancé why she left them five years ago (100,000-copy first printing). Author of the LJ best-booked Mexican Gothic, Moreno-Garcia returns with Velvet Was the Night, featuring a romance magazine-reading secretary in 1970s Mexico City obsessed with the disappearance of her beautiful next-door neighbor. Switching from big-hit dystopias, Mott sends his Black protagonist on one Hell of a Book tour in which he confronts police violence. In Pearce's Yours Cheerfully, first in a new series, advice columnist Emmeline Lake helps keep World War II London safe A(150,000-copy first printing). "Bridgerton" series author Quinn joins forces with her illustrator sister to create a graphic novel telling the story of Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron, first hinted at in the seventh book in the series (50,000-copy first printing). After a four-year renovation, Paris's glamorous Hotel Louis XVI reopens, with Steel allowing Complications to erupt. Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Mott's stunning fourth novel (after The Crossing) delves into the complex and fraught African American experience. The protagonist, a nameless Black author on his first book tour, is reeling from his newfound fame and the success of his book, Hell of a Book. As he flies to promotional events, often in a drunken stupor, the author reveals that his vivid imagination makes it difficult for him to distinguish reality from fiction. So when he encounters "The Kid," a 10-year-old boy with impossibly ebony skin, the author doubts the boy is real. The Kid, who uncannily resembles a recent victim of police violence, first appears at a hotel and continues to pop up during the book tour, leading the author to recall his own repressed trauma as a bullied Black boy in North Carolina. The author's sobering recollections of his youth are punctuated with humorous and insightful encounters that include a discussion on national sociopolitical identity with Nicolas Cage and an improbable first date with a funeral director. Mott's poetic, cinematic novel tackles what it means to live in a country where Black people perpetually "live lives under the hanging sword of fear." Absurdist metafiction doesn't get much better. (June) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A work of fiction goes to the heart of racism, police violence, and the hidden costs exacted upon Black Americans, and America as a whole.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

***2021 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER******THE NATIONAL BESTSELLER***Winner of the 2021 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction, Joyce Carol Oates Literary Prize Finalist, 2022 Chautauqua Prize Finalist, Willie Morris Award for Southern Writing Shortlist, and the 2021 Aspen Words Literary Prize shortlistA Read With Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick! An Ebony Magazine Publishing Book Club Pick!  One of Washington Post's 50 Notable Works of Fiction | One of Philadelphia Inquirer's Best Books of 2021 | One of Shelf Awareness's Top Ten Fiction Titles of the Year | One of TIME Magazine’s 100 Must-Read Books | One of NPR.org's "Books We Love" | EW’s "Guide to the Biggest and Buzziest Books of 2021" | One of the New York Public Library's Best Books for Adults | San Diego Union Tribune—My Favorite Things from 2021 | Writer's Bone's Best Books of 2021 | Atlanta Journal Constitution—Top 10 Southern Books of the Year | One of the Guardian's (UK) Best Ten 21st Century Comic Novels | One of Entertainment Weekly's 15 Books You Need to Read This June | On Entertainment Weekly's "Must List" | One of the New York Post's Best Summer Reading books | One of GMA's 27 Books for June | One of USA Today's 5 Books Not to Miss | One of Fortune's 21 Most Anticipated Books Coming Out in the Second Half of 2021 | One of The Root's PageTurners: It’s Getting Hot in Here | One of Real Simple's Best New Books to Read in 2021 An astounding work of fiction from New York Times bestselling author Jason Mott, always deeply honest, at times electrically funny, that goes to the heart of racism, police violence, and the hidden costs exacted upon Black Americans and America as a whole In Jason Mott’s Hell of a Book, a Black author sets out on a cross-country publicity tour to promote his bestselling novel. That storyline drives Hell of a Book and is the scaffolding of something much larger and more urgent: Mott’s novel also tells the story of Soot, a young Black boy living in a rural town in the recent past, and The Kid, a possibly imaginary child who appears to the author on his tour. As these characters’ stories build and converge, they astonish. For while this heartbreaking and magical book entertains and is at once about family, love of parents and children, art and money, it’s also about the nation’s reckoning with a tragic police shooting playing over and over again on the news. And with what it can mean to be Black in America. Who has been killed? Who is The Kid? Will the author finish his book tour, and what kind of world will he leave behind?  Unforgettably told, with characters who burn into your mind and an electrifying plot ideal for book club discussion, Hell of a Book is the novel Mott has been writing in his head for the last ten years. And in its final twists, it truly becomes its title.