Rage Is Back

Adam Mansbach, Author
Adam Mansbach. Viking, $25.95 (292p) ISBN 978-0-670-02612-8
Reviewed on: 10/01/2012
Release date: 01/10/2013
In this slick, outlandish novel by bestselling author Mansbach (Go the F**k to Sleep), 18-year-old biracial Kilroy Dondi Vance, a “lightskinned cat,” is expelled from a New York City private academy for peddling hydroponic marijuana. Sixteen years earlier, in 1989, Dondi’s white father, Billy Rage, a popular graffiti artist, had a violent encounter with NYPD’s Vandal Squad, led by Anastacio Bracken, who caught Billy and others spray-painting in the subway and, during the pursuit, gunned down his friend Amuse. After Bracken covered up Amuse’s murder, Billy went on “the sickest run,” spraying graffiti accusing Bracken of killing Amuse all over the city, with Dondi’s African-American mom Karen, herself a graffiti artist, hoping Billy would “stop and grieve.” After Bracken was appointed the MTA’s chief of security, he declared war on the “sociopath” Billy, who fled to Mexico. Now, in 2005, Dondi finds Billy back in town in bad shape after a suicide attempt and years spent in the Amazon becoming a shaman, with the help of numerous psychedelic drugs. Bracken is more powerful than ever, and a mayoral candidate, and Billy resolves to bring him down via a new graffiti campaign. Though Dondi’s voice, a combination of sophistication and raw urban slang, feels at time forced, Mansbach’s novel is a fun and exciting read. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Jan.)
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