"Thrilling… Scibona has built a masterpiece." – The New York Times Book Review
"All of it — all of it — is just so ridiculously beautiful." – Jason Sheehan, NPR.org
"The rewards are enormous. This is a spectacular work of fiction." – San Francisco Chronicle
A long-awaited new novel from a National Book Award Finalist, the epic story of a restless young man who is captured during the Vietnam War and pressed into service for a clandestine branch of the United States government
A small boy speaking an unknown language is abandoned by his father at an international airport, with only the clothes on his back and a handful of money jammed in the pocket of his coat. So begins The Volunteer. But in order to understand this heartbreaking and indefensible decision, the story must return to the moment, decades earlier, when a young man named Vollie Frade, almost on a whim, enlists in the United States Marine Corps to fight in Vietnam. Breaking definitively from his rural Iowan parents, Vollie puts in motion an unimaginable chain of events, which sees him go to work for insidious people with intentions he cannot yet grasp. From the Cambodian jungle, to a flophouse in Queens, to a commune in New Mexico, Vollie's path traces a secret history of life on the margins of America, culminating with an inevitable and terrible reckoning.
With intense feeling, uncommon erudition, and bracing style, Scibona offers at once a pensive exploration of how we are capable of both inventing and discovering our true families and a lacerating interrogation of institutional power at its most commanding and terrifying. An odyssey of loss and salvation ranging across four generations of fathers and sons, The Volunteer is a triumph in the grandest traditions of American storytelling.
Salvatore Scibona’s first book, The End, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and winner of the Young Lions Fiction Award from the New York Public Library and the Norman Mailer Cape Cod Award for Exceptional Writing. He was awarded a 2009 Whiting Writers’ Award. In 2010 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and was included in the New Yorker's "20 Under 40" list of writers to watch. The End is published or forthcoming in seven languages. Scibona's short fiction has won a Pushcart Prize and an O. Henry Award. His work has appeared in The Pushcart Book of Short Stories: The Best Stories from a Quarter-Century of the Pushcart Prize, Best New American Voices, The Threepenny Review, A Public Space, Divisione di la Repubblica, Satisfiction, the New York Times, and the New Yorker. A graduate of St. John’s College in Santa Fe and of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he administers the writing fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
Edoardo Ballerini has been nominated for several Audie awards and is the recipient of multiple Earphones awards from AudioFile magazine. His screen credits include the feature films Dinner Rush and Romeo Must Die, as well as the television series The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, and 24. To learn more, visit edoardoballerini.com.