From the Publisher
Hubert Selby Jr. author of Last Exit to Brooklyn It's a terrific book and De Grazia is a wonderful writer....Beautifully narrated....perfectly balanced.
Carolyn Chute author of The Beans of Egypt, Maine It is the American story American literature is not complete without. In fact, without Alex Verdi's story, American literature is a lie.
Jim Carroll author of The Basketball Diaries This book deals with a particularly American subject in a manner that has not been done before. The writing is fast, tough and beautiful.
Laurence O'Toole London Independent ("Independent Choice" top recommendation) At first sight De Grazia's novel seems inspired by gang movies like The Wild One to Rumblefish. Thoughts of Huckleberry Finn soon arise; also, far deeper links to the epics of Homer.
Maggie Estep author of Soft Maniacs Don De Grazia writes like a lyrical bulldozer, relentless and gorgeous at once.
Andrew Vachss author of Choice of Evil A powerful debut....Get your bets down now.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
De Grazia's powerful debut fearlessly explores racism, adolescent rage and terrifyingly violent youth movements; its adolescent hero is a skinhead, getting into trouble in Chicago's late '80s scene. Intense, unsparing and fueled by a desperate energy, this graphically violent novel will not be to every taste, but it rings true with poignant clarity. Alex Verdi, a daydreaming 17-year-old, leaves home--an Illinois farmhouse--when his parents are busted for selling marijuana, and hitches a ride to the Windy City. There, he lives at the Y and gets a job in an electroplating plant, where he earns the nickname "Degreaser." He's also mugged and beaten by hoods, so when he joins a group of multiracial "anti-Nazi" skinheads, it's partly for protection, partly for a sense of belonging. Strongman leader Timmy Penn quickly becomes Alex's surrogate big brother and role model, but Alex also falls under the spell of a "straightedge" skinhead girl, Marie. Donning the group's image, he manages to get along bruisingly, until a violent encounter with a rival, "white power" skinhead faction, followed by a fight in a nightclub, finds Alex and Tim facing serious police charges. After family intervention, the pair are sent to the army reserves in Fort Benning instead of prison. Once the two youths are discharged, their paths split: Tim goes off to become a drug dealer and Alex tries to clean up his act by moving to Evanstown, a tony suburb--but even there, his ugly past catches up with him. Rights sold in Canada and France; film rights to Frederick Levy Productions. (Apr.) FYI: Written as De Grazia's M.A. thesis, American Skin was rejected by numerous U.S. publishers. Alerted to the success of working-class fiction in England, De Grazia sent his manuscript to Jonathan Cape in London, which published the novel in 1998. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|