A quite gobsmacking, incredibly raw debut about a man who chose to go to war as an army medic, and returned with PTSD and a drug addiction he robbed banks for.
An incredibly raw, at times difficult to read, quite gobsmacking debut. Cherry made me flinch, both physically and mentally, at times I had to look away and think of something else, yet the words continued to call to me. The author Nico Walker, as of 2019, is still in prison in the USA, he served as an army medic in Iraq, and returning home with severe PTSD started to rob banks to pay for his drug addiction. This story centres on a narrator who serves as an army medic in Iraq, and returning home with severe PTSD starts to rob banks to pay for his drug addiction (yes the same tale as the author). Let me be clear, this is a novel, yet the voice of the author is clearly heard, this is his story and he stamps his words, his very being on every single page. Hammer hard, quick firing sentences (with some choice language attached) shoot off of the page. There were times when I really didn’t like the narator, some of his life choices are difficult to understand, yet that is the whole point. The story turns full circle from the prologue, creating what feels like a never ending loop. This book made me ache, it often physically hurt to soak up the words, yet I would read it all again tomorrow, and so Cherry has to be one of my picks of the month.
Cleveland, Ohio, 2003. A young man is just a college freshman when he meets Emily. They share a passion for Edward Albee and ecstasy and fall hard and fast in love. But soon Emily has to move home to Elba, New York, and he flunks out of school and joins the army. Desperate to keep their relationship alive, they marry before he ships out to Iraq. But as an army medic, he is unprepared for the grisly reality that awaits him. His fellow soldiers smoke; they huff computer duster; they take painkillers; they watch porn. And many of them die. He and Emily try to make their long-distance marriage work, but when he returns from Iraq, his PTSD is profound, and the drugs on the street have changed. The opioid crisis is beginning to swallow up the Midwest. Soon he is hooked on heroin, and so is Emily. They attempt a normal life, but with their money drying up, he turns to the one thing he thinks he could be really good at - robbing banks. Hammered out on a prison typewriter, Cherry marks the arrival of a raw, bleakly hilarious, and surprisingly poignant voice straight from the dark heart of America.
|Publication date:||28th February 2019|
|Publisher:||Jonathan Cape Ltd an imprint of Vintage Publishing|
|Primary Genre||Crime and Mystery|
Closing date: 31/07/2022
A remarkable accomplishment... [Cherry] will shake your soul. -- Atticus Lish - Harper's Magazine
It is full of slapstick comedy, despite gut-wrenching depictions of dope sickness, the futility of war and PTSD... [Walker] writes dialogue so musical and realistic you'll hear it in the air around you. - New York Times Book Review
After page one, only the faint-hearted will manage to put down this brilliant screech from a life of war, crime and addiction, a powerful book that declares the arrival of a real writer who has made art out of anguish. -- Thomas McGuane, author of Cloudbursts and Ninety-two in the Shade The first great novel of the opioid epidemic. - New York Magazine
Someone once said there are only two things worth writing about, love and death. Nico Walker may know more about these two subjects than 99.9% of fiction writers working today. Read Cherry instead of the latest piece of fluff - it might be the only time when you truly feel a writer is actually baring their soul to you. -- Donald Ray Pollock, author of The Heavenly Table A buzzsaw of a novel... Bracingly original. - Wall Street Journal
Cherry is a miracle of literary serendipity, a triumph... 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. - Washington Post
Harrowing, heartbreaking, and sadly funny. Cherry is a terrific book, a cool book, and Walker's voice is keen and vigilant and uniquely his own. -- Joe Ide, author of IQ and Righteous A raw coming-of-age story in reverse... Cherry touches on some of the darkest chapters of recent American history. - New York Times
I'm so jealous about the writing in Cherry that it makes me sick. Nico Walker has written one of those perfect books in the most outrageous voice that I've come across in years... Nico Walker is one of the best writers alive. -- Scott McClanahan, author of The Sarah Book and Hill William -
Nico Walker is originally from Cleveland. He served as a medic on more than 250 missions in Iraq. Currently he has two more years to serve of an eleven-year sentence for bank robbery. Cherry is his debut novel.More About Nico Walker