Skip to Main Content (Press Enter)
Godwin by Joseph O'Neill
Add Godwin to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf


Best Seller
Godwin by Joseph O'Neill
Hardcover $28.00
Jun 04, 2024 | ISBN 9780593701324

Buy from Other Retailers:

See All Formats (2) +
  • $28.00

    Jun 04, 2024 | ISBN 9780593701324

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Jun 04, 2024 | ISBN 9780593701331

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Jun 04, 2024 | ISBN 9780593868560

    752 Minutes

    Buy from Other Retailers:

Buy the Audiobook Download:

Listen to a sample from Godwin

Product Details


Named a Most Anticipated Book by The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Vogue, Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, Esquire, New York Post, Los Angeles Times, LitHub, Publishers Weekly, and Publishers Lunch

“Exuberant. . . . A medieval Grail quest reimagined for the 21st century, grounded in race, capitalism, and the scorched-earth legacy of colonialism. . . . O’Neill has produced a dense yet rollicking tale that rises above the literary competition, slapstick and funny but deadly serious, an indictment of how we live now.” —Hamilton Cain, The Boston Globe
“Nobody else’s fiction tears up the ground quite like O’Neill’s profoundly introspective novels. . . . In their careful braiding of anxiety and aspiration, his stories are marvels of narrative magic and stylistic panache. . . . Like Godwin, this novelist is a player whose charges and feints will leave you amazed.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post

“What is most satisfying about Godwin is the range of its interests and themes. Mr. O’Neill is a capable satirist but is also good at quick, affecting secondary character sketches. He reaches for big geopolitical subjects like globalism and immigration but seamlessly shrinks down to dwell on Lakesha’s office conflict and Mark’s disrupted family life. Questions of exploitation and opportunity, greed and collective benefit, play across every scene, acquiring different shadings and ambiguities and, ultimately, affording the reader the same complicated enjoyment as the world’s most popular sport.” The Wall Street Journal
“O’Neill braids . . .  two narratives together with surprising finesse, telling a powerful story about how we treat our fellow man, both within the global macrocosm of commercial sports and within the intimate microcosm of the workplace. Thorny and nuanced, Godwin reminds us that O’Neill is a master of the social novel.” Esquire

“Bouncing from office politics to families, from global capitalism to colonialism, the novel delivers storytelling with wit and depth.” Christian Science Monitor
“Enthralling. . . . O’Neill animates football as a grand metaphor for togetherness.” —Robert Collins, The Times
“Crystalline prose and keen observations on family and postcolonialism as seen through the seedier side of the global soccer industry make this a winner.” —Lauren LeBlanc, The Boston Globe
“Exceptional. . . . O’Neill’s storytelling here has an enthralling fireside quality, ushering us with deceptive simplicity into a labyrinth of motive and desire, breathtaking betrayals and artfully twined threads. A book to sink into, in other words, and one not to be missed.” The Guardian
“Populous, lively and intellectually challenging. . . . Like Netherland, O’Neill’s sprawling tale of cricket and exile in post-9/11 New York, Godwin uses sports as a window on global realities that might otherwise be too vast or too abstract to perceive. This time, the sport is soccer, which draws Mark into a shadowy, transactional world of late-capitalist, post-colonial intrigue.” — A.O. Scott, The New York Times Book Review (cover review)
“Absorbing . . . picaresque.” Vogue
“An exercise in realism by one of its finer contemporary disciples.” Vulture
“Excellent. . . . While the search for a soccer player is the engine of Godwin’s plot, the book is really about power: those who have it, those who don’t and those who scheme to get it.” Bookpage

“‘The next Pelé’ or ‘the next Messi’ are words sure to ignite the fantasies of soccer fans anywhere. When tech writer Mark is contacted by his sports agent, half-brother Geoff, Mark leaves Pittsburgh to join him on a madcap adventure to find such a phenom: an African teenager known only as Godwin. O’Neill combines the brothers’ exploits with sharp observations about international business and issues like greenwashing and corruption that have tarnished the world’s game.” Los Angeles Times

“How to describe Godwin? At once a minute, hilariously observed, and poignant workplace novel about Pittsburgh, and a sweeping postcolonial picaresque novel about the grim fringes of the global soccer industry, replete with laugh-out-loud observations, gorgeously turned phrases, and exhilarating dialogue, pervaded by a winning sense of exasperated humanism. The whole time I was reading, I was thinking ‘I wish there were more books like this.’” —Elif Batuman, author of Either/Or

“No one will exit this pinwheeling novel unmoved by its tender and terrible surprises. Reading Godwin, I laughed out loud many times, I felt sick with grief and outrage, and I was shaken by ‘an intensification of reality so strong that I had a touch of vertigo.’ Every sentence is suffused with O’Neill’s capacious intelligence, humor, and care.” —Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!
“This novel is so much frickin’ fun to read that I didn’t want it to end. What chops! What voices! And what an entertainingly dark vision. Do you need to know football (aka ‘soccer’)? No! But if you know a little football, you absolutely have to read this. What’s it like? Nothing except maybe Heart of Darkness and Marlow and Joseph Conrad at his best. What an achievement. Among the best novels I’ve read in a long time.” —Bill Buford, author of Among the Thugs

Godwin is a miracle: a gripping novel refracting in clear and poetic language the seemingly incompatible elements of today’s world: Africa, Pittsburgh, workplace intrigues, colonialism, writing, racism, dogs, sibling rivalry, capitalism, modalities of love, all under the splendorous umbrella of soccer as an exploitative business, passion, philosophy, and history. The reader is compelled to keep reading Godwin not only to see what happens next, but to find out how O’Neill is going to pull it all off—only to find out that he succeeds spectacularly. Godwin is a champion book.” —Aleksandar Hemon, author of The World and All That It Holds

“Exciting and incisive . . . As O’Neill artfully pairs the thrill of the hunt for Godwin with the complex politics of cooperative work, the driving force that connects the twinned narratives is the corruptive power of capitalism. This has all the velocity and swerve of an unstoppable free kick.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“O’Neill has a gift for finding humor in emotional stress, and it shines . . . The [characters] go through twists and turns, culminating in an African odyssey . . . An astonishing marathon of storytelling . . . that highlights the avarice of sports recruitment and the legacy of colonialism . . . Another exceptional entry in the O’Neill corpus.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A wondrous novel, full of insights, one that leaves the reader questioning why there isn’t more fiction about the world’s most popular sport.” Booklist (starred review)

Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Back to Top