- Paperback: 364 pages
- Published: 4/1/10
- IBSN: 9781936070046
- e-IBSN: 9781936070589
- Genre: Fiction
A majestic novel that will launch Allen into the ranks of Junot Díaz and Toni Morrison.
“Generations of illicit sex run through this clever and wide-ranging book [about religious addiction] in which the flesh always triumphs . . . Surely no one does church sexy like Allen . . . Allen’s writing by turns is solemn and funny . . . It would be easy for Jesus Boy to become fluffy satire but Allen keeps his characters real.”
—New York Times
“Allen has created a consummate tragicomedy of African-American family secrets and sorrows, and of faith under duress and wide open to interpretation. Perfect timing and crackling dialogue, as well as heartrending pain balanced by uproarious predicaments, make for a shout-hallelujah tale of transgression and grace, a gospel of lusty and everlasting love.”
—Donna Seaman, Booklist
“Heartfelt and occasionally hilarious, Jesus Boy is a tender masterpiece.”
—Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River and The Given Day
“Jesus Boy is one of those books that makes you sit up and go . . . WHAT? No novel should be this enthralling. With a mesmerizing style, Preston L. Allen offers sentences that you reread because of their sheer enchantment and sense of wonder they invoke . . . in magical prose that lights up the pages. This is a novel unlike any I’ve ever read and among the very best of the decade. What a joy to read a book you can truly call a contemporary classic.”
—Ken Bruen, author of Sanctuary and The Guards
“A riveting story of star-crossed love, Jesus Boy plumbs the hypocrisies and impossible stringencies of evangelical America with humor and no small amount of pathos. This novel is definitely a guilty pleasure.”
—Cristina Garcia, author of Dreaming in Cuban
Into an austere community of Christian believers at the Church of Our Blessed Redeemer Who Walked Upon the Waters come the star-crossed Romeo and Juliet. In the world of Jesus Boy, Romeo is sixteen-year-old Elwyn Parker, a devout and sincere piano prodigy, who learns too late that the saintly girl he has had a crush on all his life is inexplicably pregnant and soon to be wed to another. Juliet is the beautiful widow, Sister Morrisohn, age forty-two, who, in the pain and confused emotions of her grieving, ends up in Elwyn’s arms.
Despite the problems posed by their age difference and the strict prohibitions of their strong religious beliefs, Elwyn and Sister Morrisohn’s love is true. As it grows among the ascetics, abstainers, and Holy Ghost rollers of their church, it exposes with wit, poignancy, and insight the dark secrets and ancient crimes of the pious. In Jesus Boy, Allen demonstrates through tragedy and epiphany that the holy are no different from the rest of us.
PRESTON L. ALLEN, a recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship, is the author of Jesus Boy, the critically-acclaimed novel All or Nothing (Akashic), and the award-winning collection Churchboys and Other Sinners (Carolina Wren Press). His stories have appeared in numerous magazines and journals and have been anthologized in Brown Sugar (Penguin), Miami Noir (Akashic), and Las Vegas Noir (Akashic). He lives in South Florida. Every Boy Should Have a Man is his latest novel.