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The Volunteer by Salvatore Scibona

The Volunteer

The Volunteer by Salvatore Scibona
Mar 05, 2019 | 432 Pages
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    Mar 05, 2019 | 432 Pages

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    Mar 05, 2019 | 432 Pages

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“Like the late Robert Stone, Scibona exhibits a command of language and demonstrates a knack for dramatizing the tidal pull of history on individual destiny.  The novel accrues real power as its vividly imagined characters try to make sense of an often senseless world. This is a bold, rewarding novel.”  Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Scibona’s lyrical yet muscular prose anchors this majestic work as he probes deep philosophical questions about family, identity, belonging, and sacrifice . . . Scibona’s greatest strength is his ability to inhabit each character with profound psychological depth to explore their guilt, doubt, and humanity. This novel rewards close reading and deserves wide readership.”— Booklist, starred review

“Scibona delivers an enigmatic story that hinges on secrecy and uncertainty. . . As with his first novel, with which it has thematic similarities, Scibona’s story takes in a broad sweep of time, looking into the future to foresee an end that may not be so terrible but that is just as certain . . .the narrative is marked by distinctive lyricism and striking images . . . original and memorable.”— Kirkus Reviews 

“Salvatore Scibona is gravely, terminally, a born writer—a high artist and exquisite craftsman. Yes his sentences are perfect but not merely; a surplus of dark and tender wisdom, who knows its source, makes his language—and the world—glow with meaning.”  —Rachel Kushner, author of The Mars Room

“Salvatore Scibona couldn’t write poorly if he tried. The Volunteer is a wonder right from page one, lovely in its language and aching in its insights. Denis Johnson’s Tree of Smoke is a blood relative but this novel is a triumph all Scibona’s own.” —Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling

“This magnificent and deeply moving novel by Salvatore Scibona, one of our most masterful writers, has at its heart the simple and compelling tale of a small boy abandoned in a foreign airport and a mysterious ‘volunteer’ who all his life, without knowing it, is trying to find him. In stunningly inventive prose, Scibona models the world through which these two beautifully drawn lost souls stumble—an infinitely-interconnected and repeating fractal of airplane routes and inscrutable tongues, of arbitrary hubs and meaningless destinations, of escapes and hideouts, of swarming megalopoli improbably wired to pitiful ghost towns such as only America can hide in its empty middle. All this under the crosshatched shadow of the military, for Scibona’s portrait of the way we live now is also, necessarily, a novel about war. The Volunteer is so brave, tough and admirable you are on his side before you recognize what you are looking at. He is the good soldier, the man who fights America’s wars.” —Jaimy Gordon, National Book Award-winning author of Lord of Misrule
“Salvatore Scibona is a virtuoso and The Volunteer is a majestic, magnificent, frankly epic work of art. Characters with the most modest, vulnerable lives transform from ‘nobodies’ into full, precious human souls, steeped in pathos, tragedy, and a seemingly unstoppable heritage of particularly American violence. What tenderness and love they manage to wrest from their lives becomes nothing less than heroic and starkly, luminously beautiful.” —Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Tinkers

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