Deacon King Kong: A Novel (Large Print / Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


Awesome. Great read. Highly entertaining while also poignant. A view into first generation black northerners in NYC mid 20th century. Unforgettable characters. And a narrative thread that keeps interest up.

Chris Morrow

A memorable cast of characters with equally memorable names like Sportcoat, Sister Gee, Elephant, Four Pie Lady, and Sausage inhabit this Damon Runyonesque story of life in a Brooklyn housing project. A series of momentous events unfold after Sportcoat, in an alcoholic stupor, shoots the ear off a local drug dealer, a kid who used to be the star player on the baseball team he coached. McBride effortlessly spans the cavern between some of the most serious issues confronting urban America and humor that sometimes approaches a slapstick level. The new book by the author of The Good Lord Bird is infused with a zest for life that is exhilarating, suspenseful, and completely delightful.

Alden Graves

McBride's signature style in full flower: crackling dialogue; juking, jiving characters; streetwise humor and smarts, all grounded by an authentic affection and respect for people fighting the odds, fighting for each other, and fighting for life. — Mike Hare

March 2020 Indie Next List


Deacon King Kong is a quintessential New York story. Set in the Brooklyn projects in 1969, a perpetually inebriated deacon called Sportcoat aims a gun at the neighborhood’s main drug dealer in the public plaza and pulls the trigger. Incredibly well-constructed and hilarious at times, McBride’s story entwines a number of storylines that are kickstarted by this central event. The local Italian gangster, the veteran cop, the meddling churchgoers, and the drug pushers all have their own agendas, hopes, and dreams that are affected. And though Sportcoat doesn’t remember his actions and is always under the influence of gut-rot moonshine, I couldn’t help but root for him as I was reading this. His delightful ineptitude and absence of clarity made this book impossible for me to put down. If you’ve never read McBride before, this is a great introduction.”
— Stuart McCommon, Novel., Memphis, TN

About the Author


James McBride is an accomplished musician and author of the National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird, the #1 bestselling American classic The Color of Water, and the bestsellers Song Yet Sung and Miracle at St. Anna. He is also the author of Kill ’Em and Leave, a James Brown biography. A recipient of the National Humanities Medal in 2016, McBride is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University.


Product Details
ISBN: 9780593171837
ISBN-10: 0593171837
Large Print: Yes
Publisher: Random House Large Print
Publication Date: March 3rd, 2020
Pages: 528
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