“An extraordinary emotional roller coaster of a read – I tore through this profoundly moving novel in a day but have been thinking about it ever since.”


Just finished Hell of a Book by Jason Mott. Audio version. This book recently won the National Book Award for fiction.
The story is narrated by a black author who is on a book publicity tour. The author is enjoying his tour, but he is already being pressured by his publisher and editor for written pages of his next novel, one that he has already received and spent a nice advance.

The writer is consumed in his mind with two characters. The first one seems to be a ghost of a black boy who was recently shot and killed by a police officer. This boy appears to be very dark in color, and doesn’t seem to realize that he is dead. Then their is another young boy called Soot because of his very dark skin color. This boy watched as his father was shot and killed by a police officer. The two boys seem to be very similar in many ways.
As the authors publisher continues to urge the author to get involved with this issue, the author seems very reluctant to get involved, and doesn’t even like to refer to his blackness at all. The novel in a sense becomes in a way a psychological drama about the massive issue of blacks and the police in America.

The book is humorous at times and heart wrenching at other times, but it is a book about this large issue that has to be dealt with by all of us.
In a way this book is a must read. It’s very strong in content. The point of pushing those that may be in a good position to speak out not only with the police issue, but the issue of massive violence in so many of our inner cities, is a strong one and one that needs to be addressed.
Highly recommended.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 14th January 2022

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Richard Franco