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Jonah Man Paperback – April 17, 2012
Deliver Her: A Novel
The mother of a grieving teenager makes a decision that may shatter their family forever. Learn More
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A classic whodunit ripe with spare, snappy prose and riddled with period language, this is one show-stopper that deserves a standing ovation.”Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
Pay attention to Narozny. He is an emerging talent likely to become more widely known in short order.”Booklist
An original and promising literary debut.”Kirkus Reviews
Jonah Man is a vivid and unsettling portrait of naked American ambition, and Chris Narozny is a nimble and unflinching writer.”Patrick deWitt, author of The Sisters Brothers and Ablutions: Notes for a Novel
A sort of charismatic bastard child of No Country for Old Men and The Grifters, Jonah Man is a riveting, suspenseful look at the grittier side of early 20th-century vaudeville. Beautifully and tautly written, this is an extraordinarily successful first novel.”Brian Evenson, author of Last Days and The Open Curtain
As compelling as it is atmospheric, Jonah Man is above all mercilessly readable. This is the kind of storytelling that keeps you flipping pages against your will deep into the wee hours. Narozny writes like an insider. His prose is lean, mean and razor sharp.”Jonathan Evison, author of Lulu and West of Here
Chris Narozny has dipped his 21st-century pen into early 20th-century ink and come up with a wonder even a carney couldn’t oversell. Full of backflips, hook hands, bad drugs, busted acts and rag-tag beauties burning out before uncaring audiences under the glare of calcium lights, Jonah Man sings its story from deep in the throat, tells it from the gut, casts it into hard-won, hytone prose, tosses it growling and sparking onto the sticky asphalt, lets it bandy twist and barrel turn in the sizzling rain, the jaw-dropped sun.”Laird Hunt, author of Ray of the Star and The Impossibly
If William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy got together to write a novel about vaudeville, it would probably be something like Chris Narozny’s Jonah Man.”
Michael Kimball, author of Dear Everybody and Us
What can we learn from exceptionally talented orphans, one-handed, moonlighting jugglers, and inspectors who proceed by the light of accidents? A great deal indeed. In the enigmatic language of vaudeville, Jonah Man posits readers at the crossroads with an invitation to consider the gaps between who we have been and who we might, still, become. A remarkable achievement, this book is a dream. And like all powerful dreams, it has the power to wake you.”Selah Saterstrom, author of The Meat and Spirit Plan and The Pink Institution
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Top Customer Reviews
But you know there's something you have to figure out. The story is saturated with suspense, and that keeps you reading. There's a detective, but he is not actually the detective character. That role is left to you. He doesn't even enter the picture until late in the book.
The transitions between point of view characters never disturb the pacing. The path of the story is never interrupted. The activities of the characters are displayed in close quarters: the juggler skimming dope from the vials he's commissioned to deliver, the fellow vaudevillian hammering him with rude questions, the boy discovering the crime scene. We see close up and then are roused to the larger picture, like peeking through a doorway. For example, in the chapter that begins, "I take a bus to a smaller town, then hitch a ride on a milk wagon miles out into country thick with pine," unfolds into a drama that lurks beneath the conversation. Swain, the protagonist, has come metaphorically to confront one of his demons, in the person of his former "mentor" (I use the term advisedly). Here is part of their interchange, beneath the banality of which lurks the lethal coarseness at the bottom of human existence...
My dog died, he says. How'd you find me?
I wouldn't mind some coffee.Read more ›