An astounding work of fiction from a New York Times bestselling author Jason Mott, always deeply honest, at times electrically funny, that goes to the heart of racism, police violence, and the hidden costs exacted upon Black Americans, and America as a whole
In Jason Mott's Hell of a Book, a Black author sets out on a cross-country publicity tour to promote his bestselling novel. That storyline drives Hell of a Book and is the scaffolding of something much larger and urgent: since Mott's novel also tells the story of Soot, a young Black boy living in a rural town in the recent past, and The Kid, a possibly imaginary child who appears to the author on his tour.
As these characters' stories build and build and converge, they astonish. For while this heartbreaking and magical book entertains and is at once about family, love of parents and children, art and money, it's also about the nation's reckoning with a tragic police shooting playing over and over again on the news. And with what it can mean to be Black in America.
Who has been killed? Who is The Kid? Will the author finish his book tour, and what kind of world will he leave behind? Unforgettably told, with characters who burn into your mind and an electrifying plot ideal for book club discussion, Hell of a Book is the novel Mott has been writing in his head for the last ten years. And in its final twists it truly becomes its title.
"Hell of a Book more than lives up to its title. Playful, searching, raw and necessary, this writing, this voice, this novel twisted me up and turned me inside out, dazzled me, surprised me and moved me." - Charles Yu, author of National Book Award winner Interior Chinatown
"What a powerful, timely, and provocative novel. Jason's ability to take on deeply important themes with both poignancy and humor makes for an extraordinary emotional roller coaster of a read, and I tore through this profoundly moving novel in a day but have been thinking about it ever since. Thank you, Jason Mott, for sharing this story with the world." - Abi Daré, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl with the Louding Voice
"Mott's unflinching meditation on racism, violence and navigating life as a Black man in America is a surreal and searing triumph." - Shelf Awareness for Readers
"Hell of a Book is a masterwork of balance, as Mott navigates the two narratives and their delicate tonal distinctions. A surrealist feast of imagination that's brimming with very real horrors, frustrations and sorrows, it can break your heart and make you laugh out loud at the same time, often on the same page. This is an achievement of American fiction that rises to meet this particular moment with charm, wisdom and truth." - BookPage
"Stunning...Mott's poetic, cinematic novel tackles what it means to live in a country where Black people perpetually 'live lives under the hanging sword of fear.'" - Publishers Weekly
"Maddening, disorienting, and illuminating." - Booklist
"A story that is at once a paean to familial love and friendship and a reckoning with racism and police violence. By turns playful and surprising and intimate, a moving meditation on being Black in America." - Kirkus
"A surrealistic tale about a famous author on a book tour becomes an exploration of police violence and the havoc it wreaks." - Entertainment Weekly
"In a genre-bending work of metafiction, Jason Mott weaves together a first-person narrative about a famous author out on a book tour with an alternate story line about a (maybe) imaginary boy caught in the societal fallout of police brutality. The result blends satire and quietly devastating prose that reflects a loudly devastating reality. With Hell of a Book, Mott resists the urge to drown in rage and instead showers the reader with necessary truths." - Entertainment Weekly
"In increasingly intertwining narratives, a Black novelist with a penchant for noir dialogue and a shaky grip on reality tours his debut novel; a boy, bullied for his dark skin, comes of age." - Vanity Fair