Mark Slouka

Published: 6 March 2014
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 288 pages
ISBN: 9781846275005


As an infant, Jon Mosher tragically lost his older brother to a freak accident - something that could have happened to any family. There's nothing he could have done to prevent it, but there it is anyway, that loss echoing in every room and painted on the faces of his parents - German Jews who'd escaped the war - as if to say: you weren't, and aren't, enough. Saddled with this absence, Jon's life has been defined by what's missing and what he lacks; that is, until in high school he befriends wisecracking Ray, a reckless boy with a volatile father. Against the backdrop of the Summer of Love and the encroaching Vietnam War, Jon dreams of ultimately leaving his grey, blue-collar town, but is set on an irrevocable course as the escalating violence of Ray's home life threatens to shatter their bright-eyed plans to escape. Torn between obligation and desire, Jon's faced with the impossible decision of whether to help, or run.

In this magnificent, haunting novel, Slouka brilliantly captures the polarising forces of a working class, hardscrabble ethos and the hopeful vibrancy of the sixties and early seventies. With concise, wise prose, Slouka weaves together a tapestry of family, fate, friendship, and the impossibility of ever, really, leaving home.

About the author

Image of Mark Slouka

Mark Slouka's short fiction has featured in Best American Short Stories and has been awarded a National Magazine Award for Fiction. He is a Contributing Editor at Harper's, and the author of The Woodcarver's Tale and God's Fool (Knopf and Picador). He is Professor of English Literature at the University of Chicago. More about the author


‘As gorgeous as it is devastating’



‘Beautiful and redemptive’

‘If ecstasy was Nabokov's keynote, Slouka's is passion. I can think of no one else who writes with such brazen fervor, with so much heart poured into every line. He is the perfect writer for a Passion Play about youth: youth's ardor, youth's anguish, youth's nakedness. Brewster is that novel, and it blazes’ Brian Hall, author

‘Powerful... Its depth stays long after you have read the last page’

‘Reading Brewster is like entering the very heart of a Bruce Springsteen song - all grace, all depth, all sinew. Slouka - one of the great unsung writers of our time - has written a magnificent novel that woke my tired heart’ Colum McCann, author

‘Slouka distinguishes himself as an author of particular sensitivity and significance... Beautifully mournful’

‘Slouka's laconic dialogue resonates with regional authenticity, his late-1960s pop culture references ring true, and the stripped-down prose style in his masterful coming-of-age novel recalls the likes of Tobias Wolff and Raymond Carver’

‘Slouka's masterful new novel is as tough as the town it is set in... Brewster seizes the reader in just the same way - art pitiless and powerful, unflinching and authentic’ Christine Scutt, author

‘Slouka's talent is the ability to suggest the dark undertow of suburbia through immaculately chosen images and simple clarity of phrase... A gripping, gritty narrative’ Alfred Hickling

‘The dark undertow of Slouka's prose makes Brewster instantly mesmerizing, a novel that whirls the reader into small-town, late 1960s America with mastery, originality and heart’ Jennifer Egan, author

‘This beautifully written coming-of-age story sings with wisdom and heart. Slouka's characters struggle to survive against a backdrop of remembered pain, routine violence, and the threat of being drafted to Vietnam, fighting to retain a friendship that may just be able to save them’ Bonnie Jo Campbell, author

‘Told in minimalist prose, Brewster is a quietly potent coming-of-age novel’ Francesca Angelini

‘Told in minimalist prose, Brewster is a quietly potent coming-of-age novel’ Francesca Angelini

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