Tuesday, October 1, 2019
October 1, 2019: Recent Reads: The Nickel Boys
[Busy with a bunch of book talks at the moment—on which more in a few weeks—so a series of brief posts highlighting great new books I’ve read this year. Add your own recent reads, whether new books or otherwise, for a crowd-sourced weekend reading list!]
Colson Whitehead has long been a favorite contemporary author of mine, and his The Underground Railroad remains one of the best and most unique historical novels I’ve ever read (and it taught very well too). To a degree his follow-up, The Nickel Boys (2019), is a more conventional novel than Underground, perhaps because the constantly genre-shifting Whitehead has settled this time on a more traditional genre (a bildungsroman, set at a boarding school no less). But conventional doesn’t necessarily mean less compelling (indeed, conventions endure in part because they continue to compel us), and Nickel is one of the most powerful novels I’ve read in years. So much so, in fact, that in many cases I had to stop between chapters, so potently were Whitehead’s words and images, characters and settings, events and reflections affecting me. This isn’t a book I’d feature on my annual Beach Reads list—but it’s also not a book any American can afford to miss.
Next recent read tomorrow,
PS. Thoughts on this book? Other recent reads you’d share?