Above was my reaction upon finishing this book, which worked its dark magics upon me until my emotions did exactly what it wanted me to do at all times. More on this later. This book also has, I think, the best last line in a novel I’ve read all year. Maybe several years.
This book is propulsive and hard to put down. I gave myself almost three days to read it and I read it in half a day. S.A. Cosby, of whom I shall be reading more, knows his shit.
This is one of those books that just feels like it was born whole. How could it not exist? It’s a great idea for a book that practically comes pre-formed. I love those reading experiences.
If you’re not aware, this book is about two fathers, one black and one white, whose sons were gay and married to each other, and who were murdered. The fathers were not great when their sons were alive, and a central conflict of the novel features both of them coming to terms with the uselessness and harm of their homophobia in the face of having a dead child. It’s this underlying tragedy that propels you through this book, even as the two men engage in desperate acts in a futile attempt to atone for their behavior when their sons were alive. The men, Ike and Buddy Lee, are both ex-cons as well, and both have violent pasts that were largely behind them, so there’s also an element here of that violence and anger being repurposed for a different cause. It’s impossible not to root for them as they try to find their sons’ killers, despite their flawed natures.
This book is so many things. It’s heart-wrenching, it’s violent, it’s full of vengeance and regret, but there are also sweet moments to temper the rest of it. As I said in a status update, this is absolutely begging to be a movie (starring Denzel Washington and Matthew McConaughey, in an ideal world). It explores themes of grief and bigotry, and is a pretty hard-hitting critique of toxic masculinity.
It’s one of the best books I’ve read all year, and I recommend it to everyone.
CBR BINGO: Landscape (Plus two more BINGO’s: Free! / Landscape / Fauna / Travel / Machinery & Home / Libations / They She He / People / Landscape)