Rage Is Back: A Novel

Rage Is Back: A Novel

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by Adam Mansbach
     
 

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Go the F*** to Sleep, “a rollicking, frenetic and hilarious jaunt” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Raised in the shadow of two graffiti legends from New York’s “golden era” of subway bombing, Dondi Vance is less than thrilled to learn his father, Billy Rage, is back after

Overview

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Go the F*** to Sleep, “a rollicking, frenetic and hilarious jaunt” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Raised in the shadow of two graffiti legends from New York’s “golden era” of subway bombing, Dondi Vance is less than thrilled to learn his father, Billy Rage, is back after sixteen years on the lam. But the transit cop who ruined Billy’s life and shattered his crew is running for mayor—and must be brought down. Welcome to the Great American Graffiti Novel.

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.)
From the Publisher
"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 . . . Laced with zaniness and cultural bling."
Ron Charles, Washington Post
 
“A rollicking, frenetic and hilarious jaunt through the (literal and figurative) New York City underworld . . . [that] does for graffiti what Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay did for comic books . . . [Rage is Back] mashes up disparate linguistic registers with an effortlessness that brings to mind Junot Diaz’s perennial narrator, Junior . . . Beneath all the weed and spray paint, it’s a warmhearted story about a son searching for his father and for himself, a trip through the past and present of an American art form.”
—David Lukas, San Francisco Chronicle
 
“Mansbach’s wild ride will likely earn cult-classic status — and deservedly so . . . In Dondi, Mansbach has created an unforgettable narrator who combines elements of Holden Caulfield, Oscar Wao, and even a hint of Ignatius J. Reilly.”
—Eric Liebetrau, Boston Globe
 
“Flashing bits of brilliance like a beautifully burned train . . . Mansbach can write with real talent, maybe crazy talent.”
—Kevin Baker, The New York Times Book Review
 
“A hilarious revenge thriller. . . [that reads] something like watching a Quentin Tarantino film or listening to a Wu-Tang Clan album—perhaps simultaneously. This is a great thing. … Rage Is Back has humor and horror and humanity and is altogether fresh.”
—Kevin Coval, Chicago Tribune
 
“Exuberant . . . Mansbach’s paean to graffiti art . . . has a wild-style collage form that also ties in plot points involving a hallucinogenic vision-quest, the so-called ‘mole people’ said to live in the city’s tunnels, and time travel.”
The Wall Street Journal
 
“A muscular ode to New York City’s 1980s art underground . . . Combines a poet's touch with the wild sparks of a subway train speeding through a graffiti-splashed tunnel.”
Elle Magazine
 
"Rage Is Back is a funny, macho-but-vulnerable coming-of-age-story. It’s seeped in New York nostalgia and narrated in bright and vulgar prose that succeeds in hinting at no small quantity of swagger and soul. As Dondi says, ‘it’s not easy to talk from your heart and out your ass at the same time.’ Delightfully, Rage Is Back manages to do both."
Daily Beast
 
“A bracingly funny book [that] rekindles the golden age of graffiti.”
—Connie Ogle, Miami Herald
 
"A cacophonous love letter to the old dirty, pre-gentrified New York."
New York Post
 
“A fierce and funny thrill ride through the train yards and back streets of the graffiti underground. Mansbach writes with splendid rhythm and intensity.”
San Jose Mercury News
 
“A wild and enjoyable ride.”
—Nicholas Mancusi, Newsday
 
“A rambunctious ride through graffiti culture, filled with magical moments and outlandish situations . . . Like Tarantino, Mansbach has an ear for hip-hop.”
—Charles Ealy, Austin American-Statesman  
 
“It’s the great American graffiti novel. The golden era of New York hip-hop and graffiti lives—on the shelves of bookstores.”
Brooklyn Paper
 
“Two years after a joke propelled him to the bestseller list, the Berkeley author proves he belongs there with his excellent new "Great American Graffiti Novel". Rage uses graffiti as less a setting than a central character in and of itself: Mansbach loves the form too deeply to grant it anything less, loves it so much his writing reads like graffiti looks — big, colorful, dense, often profane, occasionally impenetrable. But, like any great (or Great) novel — like Sleep, even — Rage is also vastly bigger and deeper and more valuable than the sum of its (many, moving) parts: not quite easy, but not quite meant to be.”
East Bay Express
 
“With its hyper-verbal view into the hip-hop culture near to the author's heart, Rage Is Back is masterfully verbose.”
Boston Phoenix
 
“It makes sense that Mansbach would write a novel that intertwines graffiti artists with a story about family. It makes sense because hip-hop culture, race, and family are three of the overarching themes in all of his work. What is evident as soon as you start reading Rage Is Back is that Mansbach is one of the few writers capable of taking those subjects and writing something that comes off as organic and fun to read. Like Lethem’s Fortress of Solitude, Mansbach’s latest has bright flourishes of urban magical realism. And also like Lethem’s book, you can clearly hear the characters’ voices as you read through Rage Is Back…. you find yourself finishing the book and realizing Rage Is Back is totally not what you expected, and that’s one of the things that make the book so wonderful to read.”
Flavorwire
 
“Gels in a most satisfying way as fractured relationships are mended and old friends hatch — and splendidly execute — a plan to exact careful revenge on the man who long ago split them apart. Read it on the B train.”
Daily Candy
 
“Unfolding like a fever dream of an impossible return to graffiti-era New York, Mansbach’s Rage Is Back delivers a mind-bending journey through a subterranean world of epic heroes and villains, and is already being called “the great American graffiti novel.”  A must-read for the literate hip-hop head.”
OkayPlayer
 
“Through gripping prose, Adam Mansbach puts the reader in the thick of the graffiti underground.”
AM New York

Praise for Go The F**k To Sleep:

“Total genius.”
Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn, father of two

“A children’s book for grown-ups! I really did laugh out loud—hilarious!”
David Byrne, musician, father of one

Praise for The End of the Jews:

“A beautiful, funny, heartbreaking book that manages to take on art, love, identity, class anxiety, being Jewish, and wishing you were black. Very few writers could have attempted all this without farcical results. Adam Mansbach succeeds, brilliantly. The End of the Jews is an intense, painful, poignant book.”
-The Boston Globe

“Smart and cynical.”
-The New York Times

“Mansbach has made something new of the multigenerational Jewish epic; this is far more tough-minded reading than we are used to on the subject. I don’t love Jews any less for it, and neither does Mansbach, but I do know us better for what we are. This is a heartfelt, truthful book.”
Keith Gessen, author of All the Sad Young Literary Men

Praise for Angry Black White Boy:

"The book's careening parable feels like a more multiculturally aware equivalent to the literary provocations of older cult author Chuck Palahniuk, with its wild plot hooks, credibly eccentric characters and trenchant apocalyptic comedy.... ingenious street-dance-slash-mime stylized movement [and] occasional recorded snippets mesh with the cast's rapping, human beatboxing, singing and keyboarding — all cleverly driving the narrative forward rather than overpowering it."
Variety

“Startling, subversive, and raucous, Angry Black White Boy is a novel about how we became who we are, and why that’s not good enough.”
Daniel Alarcón, author of War by Candlelight

“With this brutal, hilarious, and tragic novel, Adam Mansbach proves once again he is one of the most ambitious, insightful, and daring writers of our generation.”
Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation

Angry Black White Boy is full of hilariously twisted racial politics. Adam Mansbach is like a wigger Ishmael Reed running wild through the world of hip hop.”
Touré, author of Soul City

“An insanely smart novel that pulls no punches . . . wild, comic, and dark.”

Percival Everett, author of Erasure

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101606179
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/10/2013
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"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 . . . Laced with zaniness and cultural bling."
Ron Charles, Washington Post
 

“A rollicking, frenetic and hilarious jaunt through the (literal and figurative) New York City underworld . . . [that] does for graffiti what Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay did for comic books . . . [Rage is Back] mashes up disparate linguistic registers with an effortlessness that brings to mind Junot Diaz’s perennial narrator, Junior . . . Beneath all the weed and spray paint, it’s a warmhearted story about a son searching for his father and for himself, a trip through the past and present of an American art form.”
—David Lukas, San Francisco Chronicle
 

“Mansbach’s wild ride will likely earn cult-classic status — and deservedly so . . . In Dondi, Mansbach has created an unforgettable narrator who combines elements of Holden Caulfield, Oscar Wao, and even a hint of Ignatius J. Reilly.”
—Eric Liebetrau, Boston Globe
 

“Flashing bits of brilliance like a beautifully burned train . . . Mansbach can write with real talent, maybe crazy talent.”
—Kevin Baker, The New York Times Book Review
 

“A hilarious revenge thriller. . . [that reads] something like watching a Quentin Tarantino film or listening to a Wu-Tang Clan album—perhaps simultaneously. This is a great thing. … Rage Is Back has humor and horror and humanity and is altogether fresh.”
—Kevin Coval, Chicago Tribune
 

“Exuberant . . . Mansbach’s paean to graffiti art . . . has a wild-style collage form that also ties in plot points involving a hallucinogenic vision-quest, the so-called ‘mole people’ said to live in the city’s tunnels, and time travel.”
The Wall Street Journal
 

“A muscular ode to New York City’s 1980s art underground . . . Combines a poet's touch with the wild sparks of a subway train speeding through a graffiti-splashed tunnel.”
—Elle Magazine

Rage Is Back is a gutsy act of cultural nostalgia, full of longing for a vanished New York, a chaotic, colorful city full of graffiti and guerilla art. Adam Mansbach is a fearless, funny, and thoroughly engaging writer.”
Tom Perrotta,author of Little Children and The Leftovers 
 

“Adam Mansbach's new novel is a trip! A trip through dimensions, drugs, and even an ingenious time machine. Rage is Back is hilarious and insightful, tender and surprising, but best of all it's a tribute to the old heads, the bombers and taggers and the glory of writing in all its forms.”
Victor LaValle, author of The Devil in Silver and Big Machine
 

"Rage Is Back is a funny, macho-but-vulnerable coming-of-age-story. It’s seeped in New York nostalgia and narrated in bright and vulgar prose that succeeds in hinting at no small quantity of swagger and soul. As Dondi says, ‘it’s not easy to talk from your heart and out your ass at the same time.’ Delightfully, Rage Is Back manages to do both."
—Daily Beast
 

“A bracingly funny book [that] rekindles the golden age of graffiti.”
—Connie Ogle, Miami Herald
 

"A cacophonous love letter to the old dirty, pre-gentrified New York."
New York Post
 

“A fierce and funny thrill ride through the train yards and back streets of the graffiti underground. Mansbach writes with splendid rhythm and intensity.”
San Jose Mercury News
 

“A rambunctious ride through graffiti culture, filled with magical moments and outlandish situations . . . Like Tarantino, Mansbach has an ear for hip-hop.”
—Charles Ealy, Austin American-Statesman  
 

“Unfolding like a fever dream of an impossible return to graffiti-era New York, Mansbach’s Rage Is Back delivers a mind-bending journey through a subterranean world of epic heroes and villains, and is already being called “the great American graffiti novel.”  A must-read for the literate hip-hop head.”
OkayPlayer

Meet the Author

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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Rage Is Back: A Novel 1.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
nelski More than 1 year ago
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..
speckny More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.