Early one morning in New York City, Will Heller, a sixteen-yearold paranoid schizophrenic, gets on an uptown B train alone. Like most people he knows, Will believes the world is being destroyed by climate change; unlike most people, hes convinced he can do something about it. Unknown to his doctors, unknown to the police - unknown even to Violet Heller, his devoted mother - Will alone holds the key to the planets salvation. To cool down the world, he has to cool down his own overheating body: to cool down his body, he has to find one willing girl. And he already has someone in mind.
Lowboy, John Wrays third novel, tells the story of Wills fantastic and terrifying odyssey through the citys tunnels, back alleys, and streets in search of Emily Wallace, his one great hope, and of Violet Hellers desperate attempts to locate her son before psychosis claims him completely. She is joined by Ali Lateef, a missing-persons specialist, who gradually comes to discover that more is at stake than the recovery of a runaway teen: Violet- beautiful, enigmatic, and as profoundly at odds with the world as her son - harbors a secret that Lateef will discover at his own peril.
Suspenseful and comic, devastating and hopeful by turns, Lowboy is a fearless exploration of youth, sex, and violence in contemporary America, seen through one boys haunting and extraordinary vision.
A dark and enlivening exploration of the mind of a teenager woefully afflicted by mental illness, the free-spirited and unaware companion that he seeks, the passion and mystery of a mother earnestly searching for him, and the stoic and pensive detective attempting to thwart him while understanding the mess of it all. You will find yourself getting pulled in deeper with every chapter, resonating with each of characters more and more until you realize that you’re at the end of line and you long for it to begin all over again. (Reviewed by Derek Brown).
The Los Angeles Times - Akiva Gottlieb
This poetic, stirringly strange novel offers an empathic reminder that, for many, the light at the end of the tunnel can be taken for a harbinger of doom.
The Boston Globe - Erin Carlson
After 10 years as a low-selling critical darling, Wray might finally have a breakout hit on his hands. His third novel, Lowboy, about a paranoid schizophrenic teenager, is winning rave reviews - no big surprise there - but also loads more buzz than ever...
The New York Times - Charles Bock
…uncompromising, often gripping and generally excellent.
Wray presents a powerful and vivid portrait of Will's mental state, believably entering into his apocalyptic vision of the world. Recommended for public libraries.
Though the denouement [is] sadly predictable, Wray is an obviously gifted writer, whose treatment of Will is a tour de force of empathy, style, and imagination.
Starred Review. The opening pages recall Salinger's Holden Caulfield, but the denouement and haunting aftertaste may make the stunned reader whisper 'Dostoevsky.' Yes, it really is that good.
Starred Review. In his previous works, Wray has shown that he's not a stranger to dark themes, and with this tightly wound novel, he reaches new heights.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Bonnie Brody Magnificent Portrayal of Schizophrenia Lowboy is one of the best books I have ever read. It is about Lowboy, so named because he likes to ride the subways of New York City and be underground. He has disappeared from his psychiatric hospital and both his mother and a police detective... Read More
About the Author
John Wray was born in Washington D.C in 1971 to an American father and Austrian mother. His first novel, The Right Hand of Sleep won him a Whiting Writer's Award at age 30, an honor bestowed upon such notables as David Foster Wallace and William Vollmann. His second novel, Canaan's Tongue, earned him a position on the list of Granta's best novelists under 35. In addition to his writing, John Wray was also the front man of Marmalade, a Brooklyn-based pop band that released an album, Beautiful Soup, in 2003. Wray wrote most of the first draft of Lowboy while riding back and forth on various NYC subway trains - about five days a week for six months, in his estimation.
A Precarious Publicist
The talented John Wray has proven that his creativity is not limited to the printed word. In lieu of a traditional bookstore reading, Wray boarded the Brooklyn-bound L-train with a megaphone and video...
U.S. ebook sales up in 2012, but rate of growth is slowing(May 16 2013) In 2012, trade book sales (i.e. non academic book sales) rose 6.9%, to $15.049 billion, and e-book sales continued to grow, although the rate of growth...