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Mule: A Novel of Moving Weight Paperback – September 27, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"An acutely detailed page-turner..."
Entertainment Weekly

"[D'Souza's] authorial voice is sharp and crisp, eschewing flowery prose for a hard-hitting narrative style that perfectly suits the page-turning, drugfueled tale. Fans of Toby Young and Max Barry and those who follow D’Souza’s magazine work will greatly enjoy the timely, witty, fast-paced Mule."

"A smart and bracing ground-level exploration of the drug trade."

"Mule is the sort of novel I love: it solves nothing but explains everything. It also, thanks to its wicked style and pacing, lets me forget I’m reading serious literature while I follow its terrifying story into the land of the all-American damned."
—Walter Kirn, author of Up in the Air

"Mule is swift, taut, and relentless, both a rip-roaring drug tale and a fascinating portrait of a decent human being whose morals slowly disintegrate under unbearable financial strain. Tony D'Souza proves, yet again, that he is an immensely clever storyteller with plenty of talent to spare."
—Lauren Groff, author of The Monsters of Templeton

"With adrenaline-infused sentences and a seat-gripping storyline, Tony D’Souza has written one of the first great novels to emerge from our perplexing, endless recession. A heartfelt tale of one family’s freefall, Mule is a novel that illuminates contemporary American desperation, both its dangerous precipices and its thrilling, overwhelming freedom."
—Dean Bakopoulos, author of My American Unhappiness

About the Author

Tony D’Souza is the author of three novels, including the award-winning Whiteman. He has contributed to The New Yorker, Playboy, Esquire, Outside, Salon, Granta, McSweeney’s, O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Fantasy, and elsewhere. A recipient of the Sue Kaufman Prize, Florida Gold and Silver Medals for fiction, and fellowships from the Guggenheim and the NEA, Tony was nominated for a National Magazine Award for coverage of Nicaragua’s Eric Volz murder trial and spent three years in Africa with the Peace Corps.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 Original edition (September 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547576714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547576718
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,430,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Harkius VINE VOICE on August 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This was a really strange book. For all the world, despite the clear label on the front of "Novel", it didn't feel like one. It felt like a novelization of real-life events. For any number of reasons.

That said, I am a bit ambivalent about it. For example, the beginning of the book is incredibly rushed, especially as compared to the rest of the book. Life is good, everything is going well, economic crisis, and in fifteen pages, suddenly they have no money and no jobs.

A little more setup would have been nice, if only to give us some insight into the characters. Myself, I found the wife truly obnoxious, largely due to the portrayal, and the husband a grievous, useless lout. Generally, the characters are thoroughly unlikable. Fortunately, many bad things happen to them. That kind of makes up for some of the aforementioned negativism.

The plot was a bit predictable, although it wrapped up a bit nicely for a novelization. If it is based on a real story, I'd suspect that the mule flipped, and is in WitSec somewhere in rural Pennsylvania or something. Again, I am ambivalent about it. It ended concisely and completely, with all of the loose ends tied up, albeit a bit deus ex machinacally.

I can't, in good conscience, tell everyone (or really almost anyone) that they should read this book. That said, I can't tell them that they shouldn't, either. It's a quick read, I polished it off in about six hours, but it isn't something I will probably ever read again. I wasn't very impressed, since the author won an O. Henry award.

Grade: C-

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rick Mitchell VINE VOICE on October 6, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The economy turns south and James and Kate, young up and comers are both laid off. They head west with no money. soon James gains work as a drug mule driving west to east and later north to south. The account is told from his perspective.

The novel reads like a memoir or a fictionalization of a real life. This is both good and bad. It makes the account tremendously realistic, but it also makes it a bit dry. James recounts the building of his business and the seductiveness of the money. Soon it is apparent that all is about greed - his and Kate's. As he puts forward the facade of a family man, his drug business is stressing him to the point of causinng his beard to fall out. He knows he wants to get out some day, but he knows he loves the money and knows you can never leave this business alive.

The book marches onward as James gets deeper into the drug world while gaining profitability. The ending is a surprise and picks up the pace to a page turner.

This is a very good story that takes a look at the effects of greed on the "normal" people next door. James is haunting with his detached view of his life; the life of one seemingly in control but with knowledge that nothing is in his control. Recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
James Lasseter and his soon-to-be-wife Kate are living the good life in Austin when Kate, newly pregnant, is fired from her job. The economy has gone south and James, a freelance writer, can't get an assignment. James and Kate move to a mountain in Northern California where they can stretch their meager savings while deciding what to do next. As Kate shares a joint with a friend from Austin who raves about its quality, James soon realizes that he can earn serious cash by selling NoCal weed in Austin and elsewhere. Thus begins James' career as a mule: a runner of drugs between California and Florida.

For a bright guy, James does some remarkably stupid things, like continually booking one way flights from Florida to California and renting cars for the return trip. He might as well have stamped DRUG MULE on his forehead. He also does a deal that screams "trouble." I suppose the moral is "Greed will make you do stupid things." True enough, but that tale has been told many times before, often more convincingly than D'Souza tells it here.

Had this been a true story, a memoir of a life of crime, I would probably have found it more interesting. As a work of fiction, it lacks pizzazz. Tony D'Souza's writing style is bland and part one of the story he tells is surprisingly dull. James speaks of feeling both nervous and elated while driving drugs cross-country, but D'Souza failed to make me feel James' emotions (to his credit, that changed in part two). When a fairly predictable moment of drama finally arrives (about midway through the novel, toward the end of part one), the dramatic boost it gives to the story is too little, too late.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dylan Baker on November 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
I noticed that this book received five star ratings. Question: What is wrong with you people? Are your expectations that low. The main characters go from being broke for the first 25 pages or so, to transferring their lives, via one cheap paragraph, to having over twenty thousand dollars in the bank. This author is attempting to write about activities and life styles that he has never experienced. And as the cliched slogan goes: "write about what you know." This book reads like a student in high school turned it in as an essay. And received a B. I have dealt drugs for years, and ended up spending two years in the joint for doing so. Therefore I figured this book would be right up my alley. However, it turns out that the quality of this book is on the level of Snooki's A Shore Thing. I can only assume that the five star ratings were given by the author, his agent, or atleast someone that has ties to the book.
For an example of terrible writing, here is the last paragraph. You know, the one that defines the book as well as the author.
"All there was now was the road. My life was ruined and my life might always be ruined and maybe always had been ruined. And I did not want to go to prison and I did not want to lose my family; I did not care if I went to prison and I did not care if I lost my family. And I did not care if I lived and I did not care if I died; I did not care if I did not live and I did not care if I did not die. But there was the road. I got myself on the road and the stripes of the roadway flashed in the headlights. And I felt hunted and I did not feel hunted. And there was the money. And I was a rich man and I was a poor man and I was a good man and I was a bad man; I was a not rich man and I was a not poor man and I was a not good man and I was a not bad man.
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