How Are You Going to Save Yourself Summary and Reviews

How Are You Going to Save Yourself

by JM Holmes

How Are You Going to Save Yourself by JM Holmes X
How Are You Going to Save Yourself by JM Holmes
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2018
    256 pages
    Genre: Short Stories/Essays

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Book Summary

In an assured debut, four young men struggle to liberate themselves from the burden of being black and male in America.

Bound together by shared experience but pulled apart by their changing fortunes, four young friends coming of age in the postindustrial enclave of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, struggle to liberate themselves from the legacies left to them as black men in America. With potent immediacy and bracing candor, this provocative debut follows a decade in the lives of Dub, Rolls, Rye, and Gio as they each grapple with the complexity of their family histories, the newfound power of sex and drugs, and the ferocity of their desires.

Gio proves himself an unforgettable narrator, beautifully flawed and unstintingly honest, as he recounts both the friends' conflicts and their triumphs. Whether it's a fraught family cookout, a charged altercation on the block, a raucous night in high-society Manhattan gone wrong, or the troubled efforts of a drug hustler to go clean, JM Holmes brings the thump and the heat of his scenes to life with the kind of ease that makes us not just eavesdroppers but participants.

How Are You Going to Save Yourself illuminates in breathtaking detail an entire world-one that has been underrepresented in American fiction. At times funny, often uncomfortable, occasionally disturbing, these stories fearlessly engage with issues of race, sex, drugs, class, and family. Holmes's blistering and timely new voice, richly infused with the unmistakable rhythms of hip-hop that form the sound track to his characters' lives, delivers an indelible fiction that has never been more vital and necessary.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This collection makes you thirst for whatever's coming next." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. These stories are as powerful and tough-minded as the realities of race, class, and identity the characters confront. Holmes depicts troubled lives with candor and compassion. A notable debut." - Library Journal

"A crackling debut...Holmes proves his ability to navigate vulnerability, as well as his fearlessness in tackling tense situations head-on, all of which combines for a collection of superb stories." - Publishers Weekly

"Holmes's writing is fresh, and his dialogue rings true. He doesn't shy away from difficult subject matter or from showing his characters' flaws, which makes for some incredibly tough scenes to read, but also highlights the everyday travails of black men in America. Readers looking for timely, nuanced fiction about race and masculinity should definitely pick this up." - Booklist

"Holmes's searing study of masculinity is offset by irresistible heart and biting humor." - Entertainment Weekly

"Holmes directly tackles issues of race, class and sex...this wholly original book is a gripping examination of what it is to be a man in America." - Esquire

"Buckle up! JM Holmes's debut grabs you with the first sentence and doesn't let go till it drops you gasping after the last period. This collection offers a tough and heartbreaking vision of masculinity, as powerful as it is uncomfortable. But boy is it worth the ride." - Ayana Mathis, New York Times bestselling author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

"JM Holmes writes like someone told him Denis Johnson and Mat Johnson were brothers. These stories are as ferocious and fearless as those of his heroes." - James Hannaham, PEN/Faulkner Award winner for Delicious Foods

"JM Holmes is not just a new voice but a new force: honest, urgent, compelling, often hilarious, and more often gut-wrenching...Comparisons to Junot Diaz and Denis Johnson are perhaps inevitable, but I imagine they'll prove short-lived; in a few years we'll be comparing writers to JM Holmes." - Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers

"It is a rare gift to us all when a writer's talents and subject command equal attention, but that is just what we have here in JM Holmes's superb debut, How Are You Going to Save Yourself...these powerful stories herald the rise of an important and timely new voice among us, and I will now look for anything by JM Holmes." - Andre Dubus III, New York Times bestselling author of House of Sand and Fog and The Garden of Last Days

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Author Information

JM Holmes

JM Holmes was born in Denver and raised in Rhode Island. He won the Burnett Howe Prize for fiction at Amherst College, and received fellowships to the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the Napa Valley Writers' Conference. He has worked in educational outreach in Iowa, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. He lives in Milwaukee and is currently at work on a novel.

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