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News & Features » June 2015 » Read an excerpt from Marvel and a Wonder by Joe Meno

Read an excerpt from Marvel and a Wonder by Joe Meno

To celebrate the forthcoming release of Marvel and a Wonder — the latest from best-selling author Joe Meno (Hairstyles of the DamnedThe Boy Detective Fails) — we’re very pleased to be offering a special preview of the book.

Click here to read an excerpt.

MarvelandaWonderMarvel and a Wonder is a darkly mesmerizing epic and literary page-turner set at the end of the twentieth century. In summer 1995, Jim Falls, a Korean War vet, struggles to raise his sixteen-year-old grandson, Quentin, on a farm in southern Indiana. In July, they receive a mysterious gift—a beautiful quarter horse—which upends the balance of their difficult lives. The horse’s appearance catches the attention of a pair of troubled, meth-dealing brothers and, after a violent altercation, the horse is stolen and sold. Grandfather and grandson must travel the landscape of the bleak heartland to reclaim the animal and to confront the ruthless party that has taken possession of it. Along the way, both will be forced to face the misperceptions and tragedies of their past.

Evoking the writing of William Faulkner and Denis Johnson, this brilliant, deeply moving work explores the harrowing, often beautiful marvels of a nation challenged by its own beliefs. Ambitious, expansive, and laden with suspense, Marvel and a Wonder presents an unforgettable pair of protagonists at the beginning of one America and the end of another.

Advance praise for Marvel and a Wonder:

“Faulkner-ian epic for the contemporary age . . . . The novel’s prose is marvelous in its spare, convincing grit while the story’s themes of family, redemption, sacrifice, and faith echo the plays of Sam Shepard at times. . . . A grandiose, atmospheric portrait of Middle America in all its damaged glory.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Winner of the Discover Great New Writers Award and the Nelson Algren Award, among other honors, Meno can be entertainingly outré. This story of a man and his grandfather hunting for their stolen horse is also affecting.”
Library Journal Prepub Alert

Marvel and a Wonder is such a tender love story. The love of an irascible grandfather for his baffling grandson; the love for a mysterious horse; the love for a country that no longer seems to love us back. Joe Meno writes with poise and wit and stunning amounts of empathy. What a beautiful story. What a lovely book.”
—Victor LaValle, author of The Devil in Silver

“Both sprawling and intimate, Marvel and a Wonder is a vivid portrait of Heartland America, and infuses its array of characters with humor, empathy, and insight. I’ve long been an admirer of Joe Meno’s work, and this is his most ambitious book yet.”
—Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply


Joe Meno

JOE MENO is a fiction writer and playwright who lives in Chicago. He is the winner of the Nelson Algren Literary Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Great Lakes Book Award, and a finalist for the Story Prize. He is the editor ofChicago Noir: The Classics and the author of two short story collections and multiple novels including the best sellers Hairstyles of the Damned and The Boy Detective Fails;Office Girl; and his latest novel, Marvel and a Wonder. He is a professor in the Department of Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago.

Posted: Jun 24, 2015

Category: Akashic Insider | Tags: , ,