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After a deployment in the Iraq War dually defined by threat and interminable mundanity, Joseph Thomas is fighting to find his footing. Now a doctoral student at The University, and an EMS worker at the hospital in North Philly, he encounters round the clock friends and family from his past life and would-be future at his job, including contemporaries of his estranged father, a man he knows little about, serving time at Holmesburg prison for the statutory rape of his then-teenage mother. Meanwhile, he and his best friend Ray, a fellow vet, are alternatingly bonding over and struggling with their shared experience and return to civilian life, locked in their own rhythms of lust, heartbreak, and responsibility.
Balancing the joys and frustrations of single fatherhood, his studies, and ceaseless shifts at the hospital as he becomes closer than he ever imagined to his father, Joseph tries to articulate vernacular understandings of the sociopolitical struggles he recounts as participant-observer at home, against the assumptions of his friends and colleagues. GOD BLESS YOU, OTIS SPUNKMEYER is a powerful examination of every day black life—of health and sex, race and punishment, and the gaps between our desires and our politics.
PRAISE FOR SINKNew York Times Book Review
“Thomas really does accomplish the extraordinary…[He] has constructed a sort of alchemy on the page, but one born of experience, from skill and from a trust about what will end up on the other side…perhaps one of the biggest boons of Sink is its insistence that care is, above all, shared. It is everyone’s prerogative. In this way, Thomas has earned a deep bow.”
"For the reader, third-person narration creates a buffer to a brutal coming of age, and perhaps allows Thomas enough distance from his trauma to bravely expose the vulnerability and resilience of his youth."Washington Post
“Thomas is a skilled prose stylist, and Sink is loaded with arresting imagery and insights into the eerie space between claustrophobia and freedom unique to childhood.”Vulture
"Joseph Earl Thomas has created a narrative that reads like a request and loving demand. Sink is a new kind of memoir, remixing the best parts of the genre. Though cohesive, the chapters in Sink are brilliant and brilliantly different. Thomas uses the act and politics of oration to move us within the silences of desire. It’s the way Thomas narrativizes encounters that make this book different than any memoir I’ve read, but also, so more propellant than any memoir in recent years. It is criminal and absolutely delicious that Sink is a literary debut. It is stunning in its audacious goodness."Kiese Laymon, award-winning author of Heavy
“Sink is a singular memoir; all blood and nerve and near-unbearable beauty. A brilliant and fucking fearless debut.”Carmen Maria Machado, award-winning author of In the Dream House
"Joseph Earl Thomas’s Sink is a powerful, moving, and artful testament to the sustaining powers of the imagination. This compelling coming-of-age memoir is often brutal but also loving; it’s at turns critical, empathic, funny; it’s searching and revelatory the whole way through. Joey is a narrator for the ages, a boy whose unforgettable story dares expanding the possibilities of Black male identity."Mitchell S. Jackson, award-winning author of Survival Math
- On Sale
- Jun 18, 2024
- Page Count
- 224 pages
- Grand Central Publishing