“To say that "Cherry" is gritty and raw is an understatement to the nth degree. When I began listening to it on Libro.fm I wasn't sure I could get past the use of the "f" word every other sentence, but this novel keeps you hooked into sticking with the sometimes depressing, sometimes funny and sometimes horrifying story for all 8 hours of listening time. Nico Walker's semi-autobiographical novel follows the main character from high school to Iraq and back home where he becomes a heroin addict and a bank robber. While listening to this book I felt that I was witnessing a slow motion car wreck and couldn't turn my head away and stop watching. I'm glad I didn't because the overall lessons from this book were too important to turn away from. How in society are we going to decide to deal with veterans coming back from the front that now have issues with PTSD? How are we as a nation going to deal with everyday Americans that are addicted to opioids and then slide into heroin addiction after their opioide prescriptions are stopped ? How do we as Americans deal with a prison population that is on average looked at as not worth dealing with on any level except avoidance but are capable of writing a brilliant novel? These are questions that one is forced to ask while reading or listening to this book. There are thousands and thousands of armed forces personnel that come back from their war experiences and do not have PTSD, drug problems or violent interactions with others. But after reading this book I think I have a better understanding of the average service member that DOES come back from war with issues that they find hard to deal with. I also feel like I better understand how someone can slip into a heroin addiction and perhaps wants to get out of it but can't overcome the physical withdrawal symptoms long enough to get clean of the drug. The fact that this book makes me understand even just a bit those two situations makes listening to all 8 hours of this book very worthwhile to me.”Suzie, Tattered Cover
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.