Hell of a Book

By Jason Mott,

Book cover of Hell of a Book

Book description



Winner of the 2021 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction, Joyce Carol Oates Literary Prize Finalist, 2022 Chautauqua Prize Finalist, Willie Morris Award for Southern Writing Shortlist, and the 2021 Aspen Words Literary Prize shortlist

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Hell of a Book as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This National Book Award-winning novel is the story of an unnamed writer negotiating life in a Black skin that pre-empts most people from seeing him as an individual human being. And it has one of the funniest (pee-in-your-pants) first chapters I’ve ever read.

I not only laughed, but I so identified with the writer (and I think most readers will, no matter what your race—that is the genius of this writing), that I lived every moment of this crazy quest to be seen in a world that absolutely refuses to drop its projections.

But ultimately, the person who needs to…

Mott surely earned his National Book Award for this! It discusses police brutality of Black people with a main character who is incapable of even acknowledging the latest shooting, and brings in questions like what art is, and what’s an artist’s responsibility to weigh in on these national conversations. The writing is stellar, the character is a little wonky in the best possible way, and the book itself is a page-turner. And if you go to my website, I have a link to where I had the honor of interviewing Mott for this book about a month before it won…

From Jeni's list on secrecy and denial.

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