In Hell of a Book, an African-American author sets out on a cross-country book tour to promote his bestselling novel. That storyline drives Jason Mott’s novel and is the scaffolding of something much larger and more urgent: since his novel also tells the story of Soot, a young Black boy living in a rural town in the recent past, and The Kid, a possibly imaginary child who appears to the author on his tour.
Throughout, these characters’ stories build and build and as they converge, they astonish. For while this heartbreaking and magical book entertains and is at once about family, love of parents and children, art, and money, there always is the tragic story of a police shooting playing over and over on the news.
Who has been killed? Who is The Kid? Will the author finish his book tour, and what kind of world will he leave behind? Unforgettably powerful, an electrifying high-wire act, ideal for book clubs, and the book Mott says he has been writing in his head for ten years, Hell of a Book in its final twists truly becomes its title.
It took a while to put my feelings into words. This book flooded me with every single emotion. Hell of a Book is a story of self-reflection, self-identity, and trauma, but also a story of how society sees black people and as black people we look at others. It’s also a story of how we become numb to our traumas and as a society repeat the same patterns. There are gems in this book and lessons to take away. It was my favorite book that I read in 2022. If you’re ready to dive deep, this is the read for you.
About the Author:
Jason Mott lives in southeastern North Carolina. He has a BFA in Fiction and an MFA in Poetry, both from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His poetry and fiction has appeared in various journals such as Prick of the Spindle, The Thomas Wolfe Review, The Kakalak Anthology of Carolina Poets, Measure and Chautauqua. He was nominated for a 2009 Pushcart Prize award and Entertainment Weekly listed him as one of their 10 “New Hollywood: Next Wave” people to watch.
He is the author of two poetry collections: We Call This Thing Between Us Love and “…hide behind me…” The Returned is his first novel.
The Returned was inquired by Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, in association with Brillstein Entertainment and ABC. It aired in March 2014 on the ABC network under the title “Resurrection.”