With potent immediacy and bracing candor, this powerful and provocative debut follows a decade in the lives of Dub, Rolls, Rye, and Gio, four young friends coming of age in the postindustrial enclave of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and struggling to liberate themselves from the legacies left to them as black men in America. As Gio recounts their grappling with the complexity of their family histories, with the newfound power of sex and drugs, and with the occasional violence of their desires, he proves himself an unforgettable narrator—beautifully flawed and unstintingly honest.
In the tradition of Junot Díaz’s Drown and Sherman Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, J. M. Holmes’s 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, and sometimes disturbing, these stories fearlessly address issues of race, sex, drugs, class, and family. J. M. Holmes is an explosive and timely new voice whose fiction has never been more vital and necessary.
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“As up-to-the-minute as a Kendrick Lamar track and as ruefully steeped in eternal truths as a Gogol tale, these stories mark the debut of an assured young talent.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)