The Nickel Boys

Colson Whitehead. Doubleday, $24.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-385-53707-0
“As it had ever been with Nickel, no one believed them until someone else said it,” Whitehead (The Underground Railroad) writes in the present-day prologue to this story, in which construction workers have dug up what appears to be a secret graveyard on the grounds of the juvenile reform school the Nickel Academy in Jackson County, Fla. Five decades prior, Elwood Curtis, a deeply principled, straight-A high school student from Tallahassee, Fla., who partakes in civil rights demonstrations against Jim Crow laws and was about to start taking classes at the local black college before being erroneously detained by police, has just arrived at Nickel. Elwood finds that, at odds with Nickel’s upstanding reputation in the community, the staff is callous and corrupt, and the boys—especially the black boys—suffer from near-constant physical, verbal, and sexual abuse. Elwood befriends the cynical Turner, whose adolescent experiences of violence have made him deeply skeptical of the objectivity of justice. Elwood and Turner’s struggles to survive and maintain their personhood are interspersed with chapters from Elwood’s adult life, showing how the physical and emotional toll of his time at Nickel still affects him. Inspired by horrific events that transpired at the real-life Dozier School for Boys, Whitehead’s brilliant examination of America’s history of violence is a stunning novel of impeccable language and startling insight. (July)
Reviewed on : 01/24/2019
Release date: 07/16/2019
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-0-385-69396-7
Paperback - 978-0-345-80434-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-984891-37-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-984891-39-6
Paperback - 333 pages - 978-1-984892-24-9
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