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David Small’s long-awaited graphic novel is a savage portrayal of male adolescence gone awry like no other work of recent fiction or film.

Wildly kaleidoscopic and furiously cinematic, Home After Dark is a literary tour-de-force that renders the brutality of adolescence in the so-called nostalgic 1950s, evoking such classics as The Lord of the Flies. Thirteen-year-old Russell Pruitt, abandoned by his mother, follows his father to sun-splashed California in search of a dream. Suddenly forced to fend for himself, Russell struggles to survive in Marshfield, a dilapidated town haunted by a sadistic animal killer and a ring of malicious boys who bully Russell for being “queer.” Rescued from his booze-swilling father by Wen and Jian Mah, a Chinese immigrant couple who long for a child, Russell betrays their generosity by running away with their restaurant’s proceeds. Told almost entirely through thousands of spliced images, once again “employ[ing] angled shots and silent montages worthy of Alfred Hitchcock” (Washington Post, on Stitches), Home After Dark becomes a new form of literature in this shocking graphic interpretation of cinema verité.

 


Praise

“David Small's extraordinary new graphic novel, Home After Dark, is the story of Russell, a teenaged boy abandoned first by his mother and then by his father. It's about Russell's adolescence but also everyone's: learning who you can and can't trust, the complexities of relationships with your peers, and figuring out who you are and the kind of person you want to be. Russell's struggle to survive and not be crushed by the indifference or cruelty of the world drew me in. The drawings are gorgeous and expressive—Small's facial expressions alone filled me with awe. A wonderful book and a great follow-up to Stitches.” — Roz Chast, The New Yorker cartoonist

“As an adolescent, when I read Conroy’s Stop Time, or Weesner’s The Car Thief, or Wolff’s This Boy’s Life, the prose drew rich images of youth before my eyes, and defined me. David Small, in his sparsely written graphic novel, Home After Dark, has ingeniously created the reverse sensation. The silence of his masterful drawings has put words in my mouth—words that recapture the inchoate chaos of youth.” — Jack Gantos, winner of the Newbery Award and author of Hole in My Life

“I thought David Small’s Stitches was as good as a graphic novel could get, and I was right. Home After Dark is not a novel, whatever the publisher chooses to call it. It is a poem-in-pictures, evocative and heart breaking and simple and pure. And I am not sure I will ever recover from it. Think of Lord of the Flies and Catcher in the Rye joined as one, yet even more painfully honest. This a haunting work of unfolding surprise. Few words, cinematic pictures, dazzling art.” — Jules Feiffer, author of the best-selling Kill My Mother Trilogy

Home After Dark is incredibly moving. David Small is among the most masterful storytellers alive today.” — Gene Yang, author of Boxers and Saints

“A master graphic storyteller who has certainly captured male adolescence in 1950s America. Having to think about dodging high school bullies every day sure resonated with me! And Russell’s sexual predicament was handled in a very original way.”
— Robert Crumb, author of The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb


And Reviews …

Kirkus Review   … the story has the authenticity and ache of universal experience—filtered through the singular eye of a visionary …

Edelweiss   … a literary tour-de-force that renders the brutality of adolescence in the so-called nostalgic 1950s …

Publishers Weekly   … a hero’s-journey narrative punctuated by episodic adventures, Russell searches for a sense of “home,” …

Booklist   … spare and powerful, this is not to be missed …