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Moving Kings: A Novel Hardcover – July 11, 2017
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“A Jewish Sopranos . . . utterly engrossing, full of passionate sympathy . . . Joshua Cohen is an extraordinary prose stylist, surely one of the most prodigious at work in American fiction today.”—James Wood, The New Yorker
“Brilliant . . . It feels master-planned to slowly unsettle your convictions, as the best novels do. . . . Cohen has a brain-on-fire intellect and a Balzac-grade enthusiasm for understanding varieties of experience.”—Los Angeles Times
“Moving Kings is a lit fuse, a force let loose, a creeping flame heading for demolition, and Cohen himself is a master of argot and wit.”—Cynthia Ozick
“A dazzling and poignant book.”—Rachel Kushner
“Cohen’s writing is filled with sharp turns of phrase and elegant rhythms. . . . The denouement is as vengeful as any Old Testament plot twist. . . . Cohen has become one of America’s top young novelists.”—Time
“A svelte comic triumph that concentrates [Cohen’s] genius.”—The Washington Post
“Another strong case for Cohen’s admission into the ranks of the Great American Novelists.”—Esquire
“An astute and often penetrating look at a divided world, lightened with sympathy for all its flawed protagonists.”—The Guardian
“Moving Kings is a swift, darkly funny, surprising—and brilliant—novel. . . . [Cohen] manages to bring together a treatment of fifty years of the Palestinian occupation with a story about American gentrification.”—Vice
“Cohen stuns, he dazzles, he defies. . . . His talent . . . is a youthful one, bursting with ambition.”—Bomb
“Snappy, heartfelt, vivid, and often note-perfect in its depiction of displacement, aging, and the compromises of being part of an occupying force.”—Karan Mahajan
“A swift-moving highbrow comic adventure.”—Vulture
About the Author
Joshua Cohen was born in 1980 in Atlantic City. He has written novels (Book of Numbers), short fiction (Four New Messages), and nonfiction for The New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, London Review of Books, The Forward, n+1, and others. In 2017 he was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists. He lives in New York City.
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Cohen definitely has the gift of language. He wields his extensive vocabulary like a sword. There is a lot of fancy thrusting and parrying which can be overwhelming at times. So many obscure, four syllable words. So many run on sentences. And yet, there's something undeniably hypnotic about it. Something dense and substantive. Cohen's style reminds me of Donna Tartt's "Goldfinch" except with 1/4 of the words.
This is a literary book for literary readers. It's not a page turner. It's a prolonged character study. The plot moves extremely slowly—even by page 130 (the book is only 240 pages), I still felt as if the story hadn't really started. I had to quell my annoyance and keep pushing through. There were moments when I felt Cohen was showing off his writing prowess rather than telling a good story. Which is to say, I don't know many readers who happily stick with an author through 130 pages of description.
Still, it is a book worth reading which is why I gave it 4 stars. There are so few eloquently written, truly literary novels being published these days that 'Moving Kings' moves far ahead of the rest. Just don't mistake it for a light, beach read.