“A classic whodunit ripe with spare, snappy prose and riddled with period language, this is one show-stopper that deserves a standing ovation”—Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
“Pay attention to Narozny. He is an emerging talent likely become more widely known in short order.”—Booklist
“An original and promising literary debut.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Jonah Man is a vivid and unsettling portrait of naked American ambition, and Chris Narozny is a nimble and unflinching writer.”—Patrick deWitt, author of The Sisters Brothers and Ablutions: Notes for a Novel
“A sort of charismatic bastard child of No Country for Old Men and The Grifters, Jonah Man is a riveting, suspenseful look at the grittier side of early 20th-century vaudeville. Beautifully and tautly written, this is an extraordinarily successful first novel.”—Brian Evenson, author of Last Days and The Open Curtain
“As compelling as it is atmospheric, Jonah Man is above all mercilessly readable. This is the kind of storytelling that keeps you flipping pages against your will deep into the wee hours. Narozny writes like an insider. His prose is lean, mean and razor sharp.”—Jonathan Evison, author of Lulu and West of Here
“Chris Narozny has dipped his 21st-century pen into early 20th-century ink and come up with a wonder even a carney couldn’t oversell. Full of backflips, hook hands, bad drugs, busted acts and rag-tag beauties burning out before uncaring audiences under the glare of calcium lights, Jonah Man sings its story from deep in the throat, tells it from the gut, casts it into hard-won, hytone prose, tosses it growling and sparking onto the sticky asphalt, lets it bandy twist and barrel turn in the sizzling rain, the jaw-dropped sun.”—Laird Hunt, author of Ray of the Star and The Impossibly
“If William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy got together to write a novel about vaudeville, it would probably be something like Chris Narozny’s Jonah Man.”
—Michael Kimball, author of Dear Everybody and Us
“What can we learn from exceptionally talented orphans, one-handed, moonlighting jugglers, and inspectors who proceed by the light of accidents? A great deal indeed. In the enigmatic language of vaudeville, Jonah Man posits readers at the crossroads with an invitation to consider the gaps between who we have been and who we might, still, become. A remarkable achievement, this book is a dream. And like all powerful dreams, it has the power to wake you.”—Selah Saterstrom, author of The Meat and Spirit Plan and The Pink Institution
Narrated by a one-handed juggler who moonlights as a drug trafficker, a talented young boy who longs to escape the shadow of his abusive father, and a police inspector whose overzealous efforts to solve a murder result in a series of calamitous missteps, Jonah Man explores the dark side of life behind the curtain, where artists resort to the most extreme measures—including drug dealing, self-mutilation, even murder—to prolong their time in the limelight. Resurrecting the lost language of vaudeville—a “Jonah Man” was a performer who, despite his best efforts, had stalled in his career—Jonah Man is a gripping portrait of people torn between their greatest hopes and fears, while trying to keep reality at bay.
Chris Narozny earned an M.F.A in fiction from Syracuse University and a PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Denver. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in American Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, Marginalia, elimae, and Hobart. While at Syracuse, he won the Peter Neagoe Prize for Fiction, and at the University of Denver, he was awarded the Frankel Dissertation Fellowship for an earlier draft of Jonah Man. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.