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Extended Audio Sample Rage Is Back: A Novel, by Adam Mansbach Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (159 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Adam Mansbach Narrator: Danny Hoch, Wyatt Cenac, Jza Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A fearless novel about the price of revenge from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Go the F*** to Sleep

Kilroy Dondi Vance is an eighteen-year-old mixed-race Brooklynite who deals pot and goes to prep school on scholarship, all while growing up in the shadow of his absentee father, Billy Rage, a legendary graffiti writer who disappeared from New York City in 1989 following a public feud with MTA police chief Anastacio Bracken.

Now it’s 2005. Bracken is running for mayor of New York City, and who should Dondi discover on a rooftop in Brooklyn but his father, newly returned to the city and ready to settle the score. The return of Rage and the mayoral race of Bracken prompt a reunion of every graffiti writer who mattered in the 1980s—in order to thwart Bracken with the greatest graffiti stunt New York City has ever seen.

Rage Is Back delivers a mind-bending journey through a subterranean world of epic heroes and villains. Moving through the city’s unseen communities, from the tunnel camps of the Mole People to the drug dens of Crown Heights, Rage Is Back is many things: a dramatic, hilarious thrill ride; a love letter to NYC that introduces the most powerful urban underdog narrator this side of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; and a literary tour de force from a writer on the brink of real stardom.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A muscular ode to New York City’s 1980s art underground…Combines a poet's touch with the wild sparks of a subway train speeding through a graffiti-splashed tunnel.”

    Elle

  • “Exuberant…Mansbach’s paean to graffiti art…has a wild-style collage form that also ties in plot points involving a hallucinogenic vision-quest, the so-called ‘mole people’ said to live in the city’s tunnels, and time travel.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Flashing bits of brilliance like a beautifully burned train…Mansbach can write with real talent, maybe crazy talent.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A hilarious revenge thriller..[that reads] something like watching a Quentin Tarantino film or listening to a Wu-Tang Clan album—perhaps simultaneously…Rage Is Back has humor and horror and humanity and is altogether fresh.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Mansbach’s wild ride will likely earn cult-classic status—and deservedly so…In Dondi, Mansbach has created an unforgettable narrator who combines elements of Holden Caulfield, Oscar Wao, and even a hint of Ignatius J. Reilly.”

    Boston Globe

  • “[Mansbach’s] fresh, witty novel is one that hip readers will relish…Laced with zaniness and cultural bling, it’s a nostalgic tribute to the glory days of street art…In the sweet and obscene voice of mixed-race Dondi, Mansbach has created a sharp commentator on the persistent nervousness of our integrated society.”

    Washington Post

  • “A sassy, snarky homage to ’80s-era graffiti artists and the city that was their canvas. Mansbach wields a jazzy, poetic voice (often in the second person, but it somehow works) in a druggy haze of a story full of heart and soul…Fresh, fast-paced, and funny, this is a story New Yorkers will love and others will appreciate for the rap-style dialogue and patois of the urban artist.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2013 for Fiction
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for January 2013

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Linnet | 2/9/2014

    " Dondi's dad, Billy Rage, is back in town after being gone some eighteen years. He's a famous graffiti artist whose come back to New York to stage the most outrageous graffiti stunt of all: writing on every subway in New York over night . . . with the help of friends. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Fred | 1/30/2014

    " The parts of it that work make all the parts of it that very much do not all the more disappointing. Some great characters, some very clever moments, a little -- though maybe too little -- NYC graffiti history -- but disappointing, if not just anticlimactic, as a novel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by John Luiz | 1/26/2014

    " This is a terrific book that offers a fascinating look inside the world of the graffiti artists. The author has an impressive breadth of knowledge of this world, along with hip-hop music, but unlike some authors (like Michael Chabon in Telegraph Avenue) that knowledge never seems to be show-offy, and always works in service of the story. I can't say I always fully understood all the urban slang, but I never felt too confused to follow the story and the funny, quick repartee that's exchanged between the characters. The novel has a great protagonist as narrator - the superbright teenaged Dondi, who was abandoned by his legendary graffiti artist father, Rage, and was raised by his tough-talking mother, Karen. After getting expelled from a private school for selling pot, Dondi is left with not much to do until his father arrives back on the scene, determined to protest the political rise of a Transit Authority cop who is now running for mayor. Back in the heyday of graffiti writing, that cop killed a member of Rage's crew, and after a prolonged effort to let all of NYC know through his art on trains, Rage went underground and spent time with shamans in South America - leaving Dondi without a father for most of his youth, a fact Dondi can't help but resent even while all the people he knows through the graffiti world worship his father as a legend. There is one crazy fantastical element to the story - a building staircase that lets you jump 24 hours into the future - but for the most part it's a straightforward and brilliantly clever tribute to a bygone era and an attempt by a global band of graffiti writers to resurrect the golden days in an effort to undermine the candidacy of that rogue cop. By the way, if you have the opportunity to see Mansbach for a reading, be sure to go. My wife and I had the good fortune to see him at Brookline Booksmith in MA. He puts on a funny and entertaining show, and has a great, sarcastic wit, while fully respecting his audience. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Nate Martin | 1/26/2014

    " I really enjoyed the book based on it's NYC setting and portrayal of Graf culture. I found it to be awkward at times when the narrator breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the reader. It's basically a diary account for a month long time period, with some historical asides. It definitely won't be for everyone, and is likely more 3.5, but I was a fan! "

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