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How Are You Going to Save Yourself by JM Holmes

How Are You Going to Save Yourself by JM Holmes

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Bound together by shared experience but pulled apart by their changing fortunes, four young friends growing up 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 grapple with the complexity of their family histories, the allure of sex and drugs, and the ferocity of their desires.

Gio proves himself an unforgettable narrator, beautifully flawed and unstintingly honest, as he recounts his friends’ triumphs and failures. Whether it’s a family cookout gone wrong, a raucous night in high-society Manhattan turned dark, or the troubled efforts of a hustler to go legit, JM Holmes brings the thump and 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 soundtrack to his characters’ lives, delivers an indelible fiction that has never been more vital and necessary.


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