Rage Is Back: A Novel

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Welcome to the Great American Graffiti Novel

Number one New York Times bestselling author Adam Mansbach returns with a blockbuster tale of revenge, redemption, and the world?s most beautiful crime. Dondi Vance is the son of two famous graffiti artists from New York City?s ?golden era? of subway bombing. Recently kicked out of his prestigious prep school for selling weed?and his mother?s Brooklyn apartment for losing his scholarship? he?s couch-surfing his way through life, ...

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Rage Is Back: A Novel

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Welcome to the Great American Graffiti Novel

Number one New York Times bestselling author Adam Mansbach returns with a blockbuster tale of revenge, redemption, and the world’s most beautiful crime. Dondi Vance is the son of two famous graffiti artists from New York City’s “golden era” of subway bombing. Recently kicked out of his prestigious prep school for selling weed—and his mother’s Brooklyn apartment for losing his scholarship— he’s couch-surfing his way through life, compulsively immune to rumors that his long-lost father, Billy Rage, has returned after sixteen years on the lam.
But Dondi’s old man really is back—what’s left of him, that is. A wizened shell of his former self, Billy is still reeling from a psychic attack by an angry sha-man in the Amazon basin when Dondi finds him at the top of a pseudo-magical staircase in DUMBO. The uneasy reunion comes just in time: Anastacio Bracken, the transit cop who ruined Billy’s life and shattered his crew back in 1987, is running for mayor. Only by rallying the forgotten writers of the eighties for an epic, game-changing mission can Billy and Dondi bring Bracken down.
In this mind-bending journey through a subterranean world of epic heroes, villains, and eccentrics, Adam Mansbach balances an intricately plot­ted, high-stakes caper with a wildly inventive tale of time travel and shamanism, prodigal fathers and sons, and the hilariously intertwined realms of art, crime, and spirituality. Moving throughout New York City’s unseen com­munities, from the tunnel camps of the Mole People to the drug dens of Crown Heights, Rage Is Back is a kaleidoscopic tour de force from a writer at the top of his game.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Ron Charles
…Mansbach has clearly had a play date with Michael Chabon and Junot Diaz, and his fresh, witty novel is one that hip readers will relish once the kids have finally, mercifully, nodded off. Laced with zaniness and cultural bling, it's a nostalgic tribute to the glory days of street art, back when New York City had character, when those bubbly letters shouted from rambling subway cars and people loved to spot their favorite artists…What's more, it's invigorating to find a white writer willing to crash the color barrier…In the sweet and obscene voice of mixed-race Dondi, Mansbach has created a sharp commentator on the persistent nervousness of our integrated society.
Publishers Weekly
In this slick, outlandish novel by bestselling author Mansbach (Go the F**k to Sleep), 18-year-old biracial Kilroy Dondi Vance, a “lightskinned cat,” is expelled from a New York City private academy for peddling hydroponic marijuana. Sixteen years earlier, in 1989, Dondi’s white father, Billy Rage, a popular graffiti artist, had a violent encounter with NYPD’s Vandal Squad, led by Anastacio Bracken, who caught Billy and others spray-painting in the subway and, during the pursuit, gunned down his friend Amuse. After Bracken covered up Amuse’s murder, Billy went on “the sickest run,” spraying graffiti accusing Bracken of killing Amuse all over the city, with Dondi’s African-American mom Karen, herself a graffiti artist, hoping Billy would “stop and grieve.” After Bracken was appointed the MTA’s chief of security, he declared war on the “sociopath” Billy, who fled to Mexico. Now, in 2005, Dondi finds Billy back in town in bad shape after a suicide attempt and years spent in the Amazon becoming a shaman, with the help of numerous psychedelic drugs. Bracken is more powerful than ever, and a mayoral candidate, and Billy resolves to bring him down via a new graffiti campaign. Though Dondi’s voice, a combination of sophistication and raw urban slang, feels at time forced, Mansbach’s novel is a fun and exciting read. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Biracial Brooklynite Kilroy Dondi Vance, a prep-school scholarship student who deals pot, is the son of renowned graffiti writer Billy Rage. Now Rage is back, having vanished for decades after clashing with Metropolitan Transit Authority chief Anastacio Bracken, who's running for mayor. From the author of the hugely best-selling Go the F**k To Sleep.
Kirkus Reviews
In a postmodernist world of NYC graffiti artists driven underground, war is an act of art. Mansbach (Seriously, Just Go To Sleep, 2012, etc.) returns to fictionalizing the untidy corners of the New York City culture wars. Our admittedly unreliable narrator is Dondi Vance, a biracial scholarship student and part-time hydro dealer. He's just been dumped by Kirsten, aka "The Uptown Girl," who is furious that Dondi's been expelled from "Whoopty Whoo Ivy League We's A Comin' Academy." He's also the product of mad genes, having been raised by his mother, Karen, after his papa, Billy Rage, the city's most infamous graffiti artist, vanished in 1989 after his best friend's murder. Now everyone on the scene is clashing with Billy's nemesis, corrupt transit authority bureaucrat Anastacio Bracken. As a narrator, Dondi wields a fantastic but implausible voice that is electric with rhythm, riddled with bullshit and wise beyond its years. One second, he has a professorial understanding of street culture; the next, he's discovering a time warp in a tenement building. We get a good example of Dondi's attitude when Billy returns from psychotropic exile in Mexico. "When you're responsible for somebody with whom you've got so much unresolved shit, you've either gotta find the inner strength to make each act a tiny gesture of forgiveness, or else spend every stagnant, housebound hour pulsing with resentment." Dondi's story proves thrilling: The book is peppered with grandfatherly revolutionaries, slang-slinging young bloods and an army of paint-wielding ninjas who unite with military precision on an ambitious plan to graffiti-bomb every single train car on the MTA. A love letter dripping with 1980s nostalgia that talks and talks and talks the talk.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101605257
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA), Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/18/2013
  • Format: MP3
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Ships to U.S.and APO/FPO addresses only.

Meet the Author

Adam Mansbach

Adam Mansbach ’s books include the number one international bestseller Go the Fuck to Sleep, the California Book Award–winning novel The End of the Jews, and the cult classic Angry Black White Boy. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, Esquire, and The Believer, and on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 1.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 15, 2013

    I would like to help you save your Money. This is the worst book

    I would like to help you save your Money. This is the worst book ever and would advice you to get it at the library.. I only read 1 chapter and
    put it down. I thought  I was going to go back in time. Since I too was a graffiti writer but nothing of what I expected..

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2013


    If you are looking for a different read from your normal choices, this is the book. Written from the voice of a "tagger", it is at times difficult to read. The story also occasionally dips its toe into the supernatural. A departure from my regular genre.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2013

    Not sure what the author was trying to do with this one. At firs

    Not sure what the author was trying to do with this one. At first it seemed like several short stories but as the book went on the short stories vanished. There was also some delving into the supernatural which seemed unnecessary and inconsistent. Language is crass and point of view switches from 1st to 2nd. I don't recommend this one.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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