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Boarded Windows Paperback – April 24, 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"[N]uanced with fluid prose and a pensive, melancholy undercurrent..."Publishers Weekly

"This novel calls into question the notion of truth and asks to whom one's story really belongs . . . it is rife with humans desperate for connection, for finding their place in this enigmatic world."ForeWord

"Boarded Windows is a contemporary orphan story singing the music and mood of America's counterculture."Twin Cities Metro Magazine

"Boarded Windows is a shrewd and soulful novel. References (high and low, familiar and obscure) abound in this eloquent and unusual story of not-quite innocence lost. Hicks uses his intimate knowledge of American music to give us a precise portrait of Wade Salem, a self-taught, fast-talking half-genius." —Dana Spiotta, author of Stone Arabia and Eat the Document

“Do yourself a favor and read this smart, tender book. The characters will haunt you with their longing, and inspire you with their sweet, caustic wit. Dylan Hicks knows his music and his prose is a song in itself. He's given light to the shuttered and boarded parts of life.” —Sam Lipsyte

“As a novel, Dylan Hicks’s Boarded Windows takes a sly, questioning, sidelong glance that keeps both the narrator and his listeners—because this novel is whispered, confided, mused, as much as it is written—continually off balance. As a work of American iconography, it’s a continually hilarious, hopes-dashed account of an indelible American character: the con man.” —Greil Marcus

Boarded Windows is a luminous novel about love and loss. Written with wit, profundity, and compassion, Dylan Hicks’s debut delights in language and music and the joys of being alive. This is a deeply moving book that announces a major talent in American fiction.” —Samantha Gillison

"[Boarded Windows is] a rock'n'roll story couched in Proustian delicacy, a Beat reconfiguring of the family that moves towards pomo deconstruction of any reliable relationship—and withal, a hybrid of highly pleasing shape." —Bookforum

"[H]ick's narrator . . . has a charm and appeal all his own. With each scene and sentence, he is forever trying to capture the truth of the moment. [T]his constant searching and second guessing . . . makes the narrator all at once alluring, lonely, and naïve, which is perhaps what makes this novel such an apt portrait of the early 1990s." —City Pages

"Dylan Hicks, author, freelance writer, and musician, has crafted a novel rich with multi-faceted characters and layer upon layer of the characters' personal histories." —Hazel and Wren

"Hicks is a terrific writer who can craft a simile with the best of them."Kirkus

"It's own thing to find your own voice, it's another to create your own language, and I think that's what Dylan does." —Greil Marcus

"[T]his book is not merely a postmodern exercise in notions of truth, nor is it merely funny and intelligent; it is fundamentally a sincere and heartbreaking tale of loneliness, a man who comes to realize that the windows in his life, home, and family are inherently boarded up." Brooklyn Rail

“Pop-music references pepper the pages of Hicks’ ambitious debut about the prickly relationship between a father and son. . . . with polished prose that is witty and smart.” Booklist

“Evident in Hicks’ writing is a sense of inevitability that would’ve garnered a thumbs-up from Flannery O’Connor. The sirens of unavoidable heartbreak sound throughout this book, not quite drowned out by all the music and erudite chatter, and you can’t help but want to stick around to watch the storm roll in.” —MPR's 89.3 The Current Local Blog

"The novel is a carnival ride of amusing, sad narratives—people telling people the stories of their lives. The problem lies in deciding which of these many stories to believe, determining how and where the source material has been polluted, corrupted, and distorted through time." —MNartists.org

"The joy in Hicks' debut arises less from plot than from the writing itself: nuanced, ingenious, perceptive, funny. Music plays a role, but doesn't dominate. A heartfelt sadness settles over the last 50 pages like a classic alt-country tune." The Minneapolis Star Tribune

"This was a pretty amazing novel—an unapologetically intelligent and cringe-inducingly intimate take on Midwestern hipster culture, armed with a dizzying array of references to art, literature, criticism, and of course music." —Bookslut

"Reading Hicks' debut novel is not so much like reading a novel as it is like peering into someone else's soul. . . . It's more an exploration of memory than it is of relationship—with dizzying forays into country music, jazz, erotica and Plato. Try to keep up, will you? You will be rewarded."—The Examiner

"Boarded Windows is a stellar work of fiction, not to mention a stellar work on." -Los Angeles Review of Books

"Dylan's writing contains gems; you'll want to read slowly so you don't miss them. . . . Read the words, listen to the music; you have good things waiting for you."—NewPages

"The story of a con man and a know-it-all, set in all your favorite Minneapolis haunts."—Star Tribune, "Holiday Books Roundup"

About the Author

Dylan Hicks is a songwriter, musician, and writer. His work has appeared in the Village Voice, New York Times, Star Tribune, City Pages, and Rain Taxi, and he has released three albums under his own name. A fourth, Sings Bolling Greene, is a companion album to this novel and will be released in May 2012. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Nina Hale, and his son, Jackson. This is his first novel.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Coffee House Press (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156689297X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566892971
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,853,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By E. Linder on July 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
I really loved this novel so much. Dylan had written some great prose throughout the book. He jetts you in the time and place of when this novel had taken place, the 90's. I really loved the soul searching story of a man trying to find his identity. I guess I could relate to the author story, not his specific journey but on how all kids (now adults) with broken families deal with learning about your past so you can move forward. The other reason why I enjoyed this book it's set in Minneapolis. The city I have chosen to live my life. I have been to many of the places that Dylan has written in the book at the time most of the novel takes place and it was nice to revisit those places that no longer exist. Nicely done Mr. Hicks.
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Dylan Hicks has some ability as a writer, but he seems much more interested in impressing the reader with his vocabulary, his knowledge of obscure music and film, and his ability to turn a cute phrase. He also seems unable to avoid detouring to include unnecessary minutia in his meandering run-on sentences. And he includes lists and lists and lists of stuff that I just don't care about. He manages to make even the subject of erotic art tedious and boring. This guy needs to be locked in a room with a crate of Hemingway's fiction. Only after reading all of it should he be allowed to once again take pen to paper. By then he might better understand that authorial intrusions into the narrative are self-defeating distractions to be avoided and that good writing need only include the essential details required to develop characters and advance the plot. I recommend you purchase "High Fidelity" by Nick Hornby as a much more satisfying realization of what this book could have been.
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I've recommended Boarded Windows to so many people that I've stopped counting. The prose is deliciously meaty yet fluid—with a Nabokovian vocabulary Hicks integrates without beating you over the head with it—and the characters are so flushed out and alive that I felt like I knew them personally. This was one of those novels I was sad to finish, but luckily the c.d. (the book comes with a free download of an album written to accompany the novel) is just as good as the book, and has kept Wade and Bolling Greene alive for me months after I finished reading. Six stars.
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