The Nickel Boys (Winner 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction‪)‬

A Novel

    • 4.4 • 1.9K Ratings
    • $11.99
    • $11.99

Publisher Description

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • In this Pulitzer Prize-winning follow-up to The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys unjustly sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.
When Elwood Curtis, a black boy growing up in 1960s Tallahassee, is unfairly sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, he finds himself trapped in a grotesque chamber of horrors. Elwood’s only salvation is his friendship with fellow “delinquent” Turner, which deepens despite Turner’s conviction that Elwood is hopelessly naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. As life at the Academy becomes ever more perilous, the tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades.
Based on the real story of a reform school that operated for 111 years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers and “should further cement Whitehead as one of his generation's best" (Entertainment Weekly).

Look for Colson Whitehead’s bestselling new novel, Harlem Shuffle!

Fiction & Literature
July 16
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

GJ0321 ,

Cultural Story…….

Great book. I really enjoyed it.

brennansgranmom ,

The Nickel Boys scary and suspenseful

I have been interested in the tales of the big juvenile “school” that was here in Florida decades ago. The truth is tragic but the author conveyed the inhumanity which was inflicted on these boys for decades. I appreciate the references and links noted for additional information. I really do want to read of how the archeological dig progressed.

Richard Bakare ,

Forgotten Identities

The Nickel Boys is an enthralling and unsettling commentary on what justice means in a world so resistant to it. Where intention and skin color are both coupled together and kept apart for nefarious purpose. You can’t help but walk side by side with Elwood and endure his pain and growing disenchantment as his hopes are dumped down the trash bin like unwanted left overs. At the same time you see our collective promise destroyed by structural and systemic racism.

This book is a gripping analysis on our past but also a spotlight on how the present quest for justice will remain inadequate for some. Especially for the forgotten victims who retreated to the shadows or are lost to unmarked graves. Meanwhile the dealers of the crimes fade out gracefully or are recast as heroes over the unheard cries of their victims. It all begs you to ask, is a darker form of justice ever warranted when the facts are laid in front of you? Or is justice something you find in living through the flames and pain of the past?

The Nickel Boys is a swift, brutal, and moving story. This was the first Colson Whitehead book I read and it won’t be the last. From chapter one you can see that all of the praise he has earned is well deserved. He has an efficiency and intentionality in words and pacing that paints the clearest picture and stirs the deepest emotions in one stroke. I wanted to rage at the world and keep turning the pages at the same time. The structuring and character development is multidimensional while the scenes come alive with the clearest imagery in the imagination.

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