LOVING DAY by Mat Johnson
Spiegel & Grau, May 26, 2015
From the author of the critically beloved Pym (“Imagine Kurt Vonnegut having a beer with Ralph Ellison and Jules Verne.”—Vanity Fair) comes a ruthlessly comic and moving tale of a man discovering a lost daughter, confronting an elusive ghost, and stumbling onto the possibility of utopia.
“Incisive . . . razor-sharp . . . Loving Day is that rare mélange: cerebral comedy with pathos. The vitality of our narrator deserves much of the credit for that. He has the neurotic bawdiness of Philip Roth’s Alexander Portnoy; the keen, caustic eye of Bob Jones in Chester Himes’s If He Hollers Let Him Go; the existential insight of Ellison’s Invisible Man.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Writers who are as smart as Mat Johnson are rarely as funny, and those who are as funny are rarely as smart. He is unique, and simply must be read. Loving Day, a tender, ribald, fast-moving novel, is the perfect place to begin.”—Teju Cole, author of Open City
“Exceptional . . . To say that Loving Day is a book about race is like saying Moby-Dick is a book about whales. . . . [Mat Johnson’s] unrelenting examination of blackness, whiteness and everything in between is handled with ruthless candor and riotous humor. . . . Even when the novel’s family strife and racial politics are at peak intensity, Johnson’s comic timing is impeccable. . . . While it’s tempting to call Johnson’s novel timely or even prescient, he clearly longs for a time when it can be called historical. Sadly, we’re not even close. Until we are able to have the kind of frank and open conversations about race that are commonplace in Loving Day but rare in the real world, the myth of a post-racial society will remain a comic book fantasy.”—Los Angeles Times