CHRIS MCCORMICK reads from his novel DESERT BOYS
Desert Boys (Picador)
A luminous debut, Desert Boys traces the development of towns into cities, of boys into men, and the haunting effects produced when these transformations overlap. Both a bildungsroman and a portrait of a changing place, the book mines the terrain between the desire to escape and the hunger to belong. This series of powerful, intertwining stories illuminates Daley “Kush” Kushner's world—the family, friends, and community that have both formed and constrained him, and his new life in San Francisco. Back home, the desert preys on those who cannot conform: an alfalfa farmer on the outskirts of town; two young girls whose curiosity leads to danger; a black politician who once served as his school’s Confederate mascot; Kush’s mother, an immigrant from Armenia; and Kush himself, introspective and queer.
Praise for Desert Boys
"Desert Boys is a book that takes some familiar coming-of- age tropes — sensitive kid grows up a square peg in a round-hole town, breaks away for college and leaves his childhood pals behind — and refreshes them with precise observation and love of storytelling.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Tender, heartfelt, fully realized stories about family, friendship, and love.… When we leave Antelope Valley we immediately want to go back, so achingly good are these beautifully conceived stories.”—Kirkus Reviews *Starred Review*
“With sound storytelling and a new and clever voice, Desert Boys is a loss-informed picture of a place and people that are discordant, yet endearing.”—The Rumpus
“While the world already has myriad coming-of- age novels about men, Desert Boys is a welcome narrative within an already-full canon. Told through a series of intertwining stories, the novel explores the tension between wanting to escape the past while still belonging to the community that brought you up. It's a beautiful, and sometimes rending, debut with a certain ineffable quality that will haunt you well past the end. It may also make you consider your own place in the universe, as well as all the competing forces that fix you there.”—Refinery29
“Utterly poignant and breathtakingly heartfelt, Chris McCormick’s Desert Boys is a stunning debut from a promising voice in contemporary fiction.”—Lambda Literary Review
Chris McCormick was raised in the Antelope Valley. He earned his B.A. at the University of California, Berkeley, and his M.F.A. at the University of Michigan, where he was the recipient of two Hopwood awards.