Brewster, by Mark Slouka will be out in August 2013, and I just can't wait to hear everyone's reaction. This is a beautiful, sorrowful tribute to that too short window of time when friendships are the core of life and their brilliance is everything - survival, love, escape, and hope. Living in the late 60s in upstate NY, John and Ray are still in high school, and only 16, but their youths have been seriously short changed by innocence. Like the foreboding poetry in a favorite rock song, you know from the first compelling lines that this is going to bring you to your knees, and it does.
I hope Brewster escapes being categorized as a "coming of age story" - which would not be inaccurate, but a kind of travesty given its grander reach.
If I were a novel I would want to be Brewster.
A coming of age story, but so much more - an invitation to live in the hearts of four teens in a blue-collar town in the late 1960s. The writing is spare yet evocative, brimming with touchstones that evoke the common threads of experience running through us all. Highest recommendation. — Erik Barnum
Hands down the best novel I've read this year. Set in Vietman-era upstate New York, the story follows the friendship of two high school kids - a fighter and a runner - as they navigate the time, their dysfunctional families, and life in general. Billed as coming-of-age story, Brewster is a lot more than that; a rough story with a lot of sadness, a lot of hope and an uplifting overall message: even if you lose the race, run it anyway. — Sarah Walcott
A haunting confessional of a novel that is heartbreaking and authentic. In the late '60s a small band of high school friends struggle for their versions of freedom while they struggle to endure. — Stan Hynds
“This is such a well written and well thought out book you will be drawn in from the first page. It is Brewster, New York, 1968, the peak of the Vietnam War, and 16 year old Jon Mosher, son of Jewish immigrants that escaped Europe in WW2 is searching for escape from a dead-end town and his guilt from his older brother's death. He meets Ray Cappicciano and together they struggle to make sense of their quickly changing world. Jon discovers his strength running track with his high school team, and Ray finds his strength in the fighting arena. Raw and brutal at times this poignant story's well drawn characters stay with you well after the book is closed. This will be among my top books for 2013.”
— Helen Markus, HearthFire Books of Evergreen, Evergreen, CO
"Intense and elegiac…devastatingly agile." —New York Times Book Review
The year is 1968. The world is changing, and sixteen-year-old Jon Mosher is determined to change with it. Racked by guilt over his older brother’s childhood death and stuck in the dead-end town of Brewster, New York, he turns his rage into victories running track. Meanwhile, Ray Cappicciano, a rebel as gifted with his fists as Jon is with his feet, is trying to take care of his baby brother while staying out of the way of his abusive, ex-cop father. When Jon and Ray form a tight friendship, they find in each other everything they lack at home, but it’s not until Ray falls in love with beautiful, headstrong Karen Dorsey that the three friends begin to dream of breaking away from Brewster for good. Freedom, however, has its price. As forces beyond their control begin to bear down on them, Jon sets off on the race of his life—a race to redeem his past and save them all.
Mark Slouka's work has been called "relentlessly observant, miraculously expressive" (New York Times Book Review). Reverberating with compassion, heartache, and grace, Brewster is an unforgettable coming-of-age story from one of our most compelling novelists.
A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice
A Washington Post Notable Book of 2013
A Barron’s Favorite Book of the Year, selected by Daniel Woodrell
A Booklist Best Adult Books for Young Adults Editor’s Choice 2013