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A PEN/HEMINGWAY AWARD FINALIST
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: THE NEW YORKER • ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY • VULTURE • VOGUE • LIT HUB
“A miracle of literary serendipity, a triumph.” —The Washington Post
A young medic returns from deployment in Iraq to two things: the woman he loves, and the opioid crisis sweeping across the Midwest. Soon deep in the thrall of heroin addiction, he arrives at what seems like the only logical solution: robbing banks. Written by a singularly talented, wildly imaginative debut novelist, Cherry is a bracingly funny and unexpectedly tender work of fiction straight from the dark heart of America.
“The first great novel of the opioid epidemic.” —Vulture
“A buzzsaw of a novel. . . . Bracingly original.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Cherry is a profane, raw, and harrowingly timely account of the effects of war and the perils of addiction.” —Entertainment Weekly
“A raw coming-of-age story in reverse. . . . Cherry touches on some of the darkest chapters of recent American history.” —The New York Times
“Aptly compared to Jesus’ Son and Reservoir Dogs, [Cherry] is a devastating example of art imitating life.” —Esquire
About the Author
Nico Walker is originally from Cleveland. Cherry is his debut novel.
“[Walker’s] language, relentlessly profane but never angry, simmers at the level of morose disappointment, something like Holden Caulfield Goes to War. . . . His prose echoes Ernest Hemingway’s cadences to powerful effect. . . . Cherry is written without an ounce of self-pity by an author allergic to the meretricious poetry of despair. In these propulsive pages, Walker draws us right into the mind of an ordinary young man beset by his own and his country’s demons. In the end, his only weapon against disintegration is his own devastating candor.” —The Washington Post
“The rare work of literary fiction by a young American that carries with it nothing of the scent of an MFA program. . . . The voice Walker has fashioned has a lot in common with the one Denis Johnson conjured for his masterpiece Jesus’ Son. . . . A novel of searing beauty.” —Vulture
“A singular portrait of the opioid epidemic. . . . [Walker] writes dialogue so musical and realistic you’ll hear it in the air around you.” —The New York Times Book Review
“[An] unforgettable mix of doomed and dazzling. . . . There’s a vivid, repulsive truth in the way Walker renders his subjects—a sort of social truth, stripped of morality, which is rare and riveting when it comes to the subjects of opioid addiction, intimate everyday cruelty, and endless, meaningless war.” —The New Yorker
“Walker tells the story in a biting staccato, by turns shrewd, heartfelt, and repellent. . . . Cherry's descriptions of Army life are as acerbic and unsparing—and often darkly hilarious—as the boot-camp scenes from Full Metal Jacket.” —Mother Jones
“Heavily indebted to the profane blood, guts, bullets, and opiate-strewn absurdities dreamed up by Thomas McGuane, Larry Brown, and Barry Hannah, Cherry tells a story that feels infinitely more real, and undeniably tougher than the rest.” —The A.V. Club
"A funny, painful, and captivating work in which mundanity and horror (of war, of addiction, of depression) exist side by side." —LitHub
“With an unforgettable voice, the narrator relates his hellacious military service in Iraq, PTSD, and descent into addiction with desperation and propulsive intensity, sustained by a dark humor and associative structure evocative of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22.” —The National Book Review
“Unsparingly raw and utterly gripping. This is an astonishingly good novel, written by someone who clearly has a gift for storytelling. Walker’s characters, even minor players and walk-ons, are beautifully drawn. His dialogue rings achingly true. . . . A masterpiece.” —Booklist (starred review)