“Cherry is a book for our times, a bit like if Jim Carroll, Denis Johnson, and Tim O’Brien had conspired to break your heart. Walker’s writing is bare and essential, direct and unforgiving. Whether or not the reader has any sense of war, PTSD, or addiction, they will have a clearer one by the end of this blistering debut. I can’t wait for an encore.”Mathew Clouser, BookPeople
A PEN/HEMINGWAY AWARD FINALIST
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: THE NEW YORKER • ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY • VULTURE • VOGUE • LIT HUB
Jesus' Son meets Reservoir Dogs in a breakneck-paced debut novel about love, war, bank robberies, and heroin.
“Nico Walker’s Cherry might be the first great novel of the opioid epidemic.” —Vulture
“A miracle of literary serendipity. . . . [Walker’s] language, relentlessly profane but never angry, simmers at the level of morose disappointment, something like Holden Caulfield Goes to War.” —The Washington Post
It's 2003, and as a college freshman in Cleveland, our narrator is adrift until he meets Emily. The two of them experience an instant, life-changing connection. But when he almost loses her, he chooses to make an indelible statement: he joins the Army.
The outcome will not be good for either of them.
As a medic in Iraq, he is unprepared for the realties that await him. He and his fellow soldiers huff computer duster, abuse painkillers, and watch porn. Many of them die. When he comes home, his PTSD is profound. As the opioid crisis sweeps through the Midwest, it drags both him and Emily along with it. As their addictions worsen, and with their money drying up, he stumbles onto what seems like the only possible solution—robbing banks.
Written by a singularly talented, wildly imaginative debut novelist, Cherry is a bracingly funny and unexpectedly tender work of fiction straight from the dark heart of America.
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