cover image Ramadan Ramsey

Ramadan Ramsey

Louis Edwards. Amistad, $27.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-0630-1203-5

New Orleans music industry veteran and Whiting Award winner Edwards (Oscar Wilde Discovers America) returns after almost two decades with an ambitious globe-trotting epic as luscious and musical as the city he calls home. The tale takes readers from the Crescent City to Istanbul and finally to the war-torn city of Aleppo, as the eponymous hero searches for his father with an old letter found in a convenience store as his only clue. In between, Ramadan bonds with his grandmother, basks in the beauty of the Mississippi River, survives Hurricane Katrina, and makes countless friends in the Middle East by bonding over basketball, hip-hop, and other bits of Americana that appeal to young men across the world. Ramadan’s resilience, quick wit, and steadfast spirit render him something of a 21st-century update on the characters of Dickens and Twain. Edwards, meanwhile, is a rare writer of deep, paternal wisdom, who can find the deeply, upliftingly spiritual element of nearly everything. (Even a potato chip can be as ecstatically powerful as those “symbolic bodies of Christ” that are offered at communion.) This will have readers enthralled with the beauty of life, despite all its tragedies and sorrows. Agent: Joy Harris, the Joy Harris Literary Agency. (Aug.)