A young man is just a college freshman when he meets Emily. But soon Emily has to move home to Elba, New York, and he flunks out of school and joins the army. 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.
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.
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.
"A remarkable accomplishment... [Cherry] will shake your soul." -- Atticus Lish Harper's Magazine "[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." New Yorker "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 "The first great novel of the opioid epidemic." New York 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 "Exceptional... This is a book that feels casually hilarious if you read a couple of pages; if you read a chapter it becomes impressive; and by the time you've finished, it's devastating." -- Sandra Newman Guardian "One of the year's most talked-about books... Cherry has been compared with Hemingway, Denis Johnson and Salinger's Holden Caulfield, and to that you could add Jack Kerouac ... This rough, raw and poetic novel gives an unforgettable voice to a hollowed-out America in the grip of the opioid crisis." -- Claire Allfree Metro "Nico Walker's first book has been compared to The Catcher in the Rye... A mix of deadpan funny, gently mournful and, at times, absolutely harrowing, Cherry is... the kind of literary debut authors dream about. Minus the being in prison part." -- Alex Nurnberg Sunday Times "[Cherry] presents a searing indictment of both war and the indifference of the society in whose name war is fought... In this troubling and powerful book, Walker has surely created one of the most distinctive and memorable novels of the year." -- James Moran Tablet, Novel of the Week
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