Imaginative, versatile, and daring, Allen (Jesus Boy, 2010) raids the realms of myth and fairy tale in this topsy-turvy speculative fable. Like every boy, Allen’s protagonist wants a man for a pet. Wait, what? Substitute dog for man, because in this out-of-whack world, the pets are people, called mans (short for humans), and their owners are oafs. The mans are smart, articulate, and artistic, yet many are eaten by oafs, who are failing miserably as stewards of the planet. So says a “sacred speaker,” who delivers a veritable sermon of the swamp in which he praises the “holy tabernacle of nature” found in the grand biodiversity of Eternal Grass (think Everglades). Red Locks, a brave and cunning female man, is this tale’s hero. Brutally separated from her mother, she survives forced labor, abuse, and war. With canny improvisations on “Jack and the Beanstalk,” Gilgamesh, and Alice in Wonderland, Allen sharpens our perceptions of class divides, racism, enslavement, and abrupt and devastating climate change to create a delectably adventurous, wily, funny, and wise cautionary parable. --Donna Seaman
"In Every Boy Should Have a Man, Allen takes genre bending into unexplored territory. He has crafted a highly imaginative, unsettling work of social satire that...utilizes a speculative fable as a way to muse on race, slavery, civil rights and even climate change...Every Boy Should Have a Man is James Baldwin meets Aldous Huxley, a twisted contortion of a weird fairy tale future gone wrong, all told from high atop the mountain in a sort of New Testament prose. As the mixologist of this mad and unpredictable genre tableau, Allen has navigated into wholly uncharted territory. He comments on everything from slave ownership to pet ownership to the way we treat our planet and ourselves. His novel is ambitious yet understated, cautionary while rarely politically preachy. Every Boy Should Have a Man is that rare novel that is derived from such a disparate scope of literary influences that it waxes entirely original."
"Every Boy Should Have a Man presents an eye-opening and beautifully rendered post-apocalyptic parable."
--Colorado Springs Independent
Where humans have dogs, oafs have mans. But in Allen's provocative parable, mans are far cleverer than dogs
Like all parables, there's a message here. We need to pay attention to our environment and to those Bangladeshi clothesmakers who do work for us."
--Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Preston L. Allen has written a poignant book about human suffering, a fantasy tale about what could happen when some people have more power over others, and how a dangerous combination of violence and a sense of superiority can destroy all that we have worked hard for and gained in our years on this planet. But it's also a tale about love and hope, adventure and redemption."
"Every Boy Should Have a Man (Akashic, 2013) is the most interesting book I’ve read this year. Since it’s still only May, let me rephrase that: it’s the most interesting book I’ve read in a long, long time."
--Writing with Celia
"The story’s blend of influences and themes make the book as a whole fascinating and thought-provoking."
"Every Boy Should Have a Man is a wild animal, a melancholy human, a hybrid with fangs and tears, a book that cannot be classified and should never be classified--it is a book that I read until late into the night, and then talked about with my daughters, my dog, my friends, and myself. I won't ever look at the daughters, or the dog, or the world, in quite the same way."
--Susan Straight, author of Between Heaven and Here
"In this new novel, Preston L. Allen writes with an elegance and honesty that make his observations on 'humanity' -- our common flaws, our insistent dishonesty, our daily failings -- a psalm, a love song to imperfection, and yet holds onto a firm and astute insight. Beautiful, elegiac, and optimistic."
--Chris Abani, author of Graceland