Say Nice Things About Detroit: A Novel

Say Nice Things About Detroit: A Novel

3.3 3
by Scott Lasser
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

“Ambitious and ultimately accomplished . . . a perfect encapsulation of Detroit’s present moment.”—Dean Bakopoulos, San Francisco ChronicleSee more details below

Overview

“Ambitious and ultimately accomplished . . . a perfect encapsulation of Detroit’s present moment.”—Dean Bakopoulos, San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial Reviews

Shelf Awareness
Lasser… knows which side of 8 Mile Road matters, and his intimate understanding of the city makes for a captivating novel rich with details of the local vernacular, weather, food, music, crime and, of course, cars. While the double murder and diverse characters drive the narrative, the city itself plays a central role. Detroit is not just the setting for Lasser’s story—it’s a place with a beating heart (weak pulse notwithstanding) and enough guts to have a future.— Bruce Jacobs
Booklist
Starred review. Lasser’s Detroit may be a troubled city, but it is one whose vibrant soul is writ large in the small actions of its loyal citizens. With a serene and steady hand, Lasser’s spare but intense tale is a smart, intimate homage to the power of second chances. Put this book in the hands of fans of Richard Ford and Richard Russo.— Carol Haggas
Bookpage
This appealing story may prompt some to hope (Detroit) will receive the chance at redemption that Scott Lasser so generously extends to his characters.— Harvey Freedenberg
CurledUp.com
“A mystery underlies Lasser’s thoughtful novel of a man returning to the city of his youth to assist elderly parents in distress, but only in a peripheral sense. The senseless murder of two people grows more meaningful and textured by the story’s end.”
Adam Langer - New York Times
“A tough but redemptive tale. . . . What ultimately resonates most profoundly in the novel is Mr. Lasser’s ode to the city where he was born.”
Colum McCann
“This is a sharp, clear portrait of who we are now. Scott Lasser continues to shape a very distinct literary map.”
Elmore Leonard
“You’ll love Scott Lasser’s style. His book spans a few years but keeps moving with dialogue that’s natural and alive: whites and blacks in Detroit, a setting you come to know and can feel what it’s about. I know; I’ve been here most of my life.”
Thomas McGuane
“Scott Lasser has written a moving story of people whose lives are stalled until they face events and places they’d rather avoid. His book suggests that for people and cities, life’s greatest rewards are only achieved through struggle. A moving tribute to second chances and the august, desolate, melancholy city of Detroit.”
Bruce Jacobs - Shelf Awareness
“Lasser… knows which side of 8 Mile Road matters, and his intimate understanding of the city makes for a captivating novel rich with details of the local vernacular, weather, food, music, crime and, of course, cars. While the double murder and diverse characters drive the narrative, the city itself plays a central role. Detroit is not just the setting for Lasser’s story—it’s a place with a beating heart (weak pulse notwithstanding) and enough guts to have a future.”
Carol Haggas - Booklist
“Starred review. Lasser’s Detroit may be a troubled city, but it is one whose vibrant soul is writ large in the small actions of its loyal citizens. With a serene and steady hand, Lasser’s spare but intense tale is a smart, intimate homage to the power of second chances. Put this book in the hands of fans of Richard Ford and Richard Russo.”
Harvey Freedenberg - Bookpage
“This appealing story may prompt some to hope (Detroit) will receive the chance at redemption that Scott Lasser so generously extends to his characters.”
Thomas Lynch
“In a city famous for ruin, a pilgrim’s tale of rebirth and renewal: Scott Lasser’s narrative gifts are abundant, his characters a compelling and convincing lot. Say Nice Things About Detroit, while true to life’s damages and sadnesses, is nonetheless a joyous, vital read.”
New York Times
A tough but redemptive tale. . . . What ultimately resonates most profoundly in the novel is Mr. Lasser’s ode to the city where he was born.— Adam Langer
BloombergBusinessweek
“Lasser is an economical writer who reveals character and class through details and dialogue. . . . For those who wonder why anyone still lives in the home of the Not-So-Big Three, he provides a rich and satisfying answer.”
Publishers Weekly
Detroit is autumnal in this quietly moving novel of place; the heyday, the riots, the collapse have already happened, and the city is sinking quietly. There is still tension, but behind it is a sense of emptiness and ending. David Halpert, returning to his native city in 2006 to care for his mother, who’s been diagnosed with dementia, is quickly reintroduced to this tension with the news that a white woman and a black man—David’s high school girlfriend Natalie and her half-brother Dirk, a retired FBI agent—possibly mistaken for an interracial couple, have been gunned down in Dirk’s Mercedes. Lasser shifts between 2006 and 1994 to explore how this happened, and to chronicle David’s return; his relationship with Natalie’s sister, Carolyn, and with his aging parents; the continuing impact on him of his son’s death years earlier; and to chart a growing connection between Dirk and a troubled young man named Marlon Booker. The complex divisions of Detroit are introduced obliquely and effectively through the characters—David most centrally, but also Dirk and Marlon, who Dirk feels responsible for saving. Lasser (The Year That Follows) composes his sympathetic cast into tableaux that are meaningful, even emblematic, but that, even when highly dramatic, aren’t forced. His restrained portrait of Detroit evokes real pathos. Agent: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, WME Entertainment. (July)
Library Journal
A native of Detroit, Lasser (The Year That Follows) guarantees readers a tour of the city with all its failings. David Halpert thought he'd left all that behind when he fled the city after high school for a brighter future. However, the death of a son, a divorce, an ill mother, and the strange murders of an old girlfriend, Natalie, and her black half-brother lure David home. To his surprise, he finds himself striking up new relationships with old friends, his father, and the city itself. VERDICT Second chances, though always welcome, are not necessarily delivered in recognizable packages. One can go home again, but it's a lot of work. Readers will savor this fast-paced tale of redemption in one sitting. Actor Steve Carell has optioned the book. [See Prepub Alert, 1/8/12.]—Russell Miller, Prescott P.L. AZ

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393345537
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
07/22/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
708,891
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

What People are saying about this

Thomas McGuane
Scott Lasser has written a moving story of people whose lives are stalled until they face events and places they’d rather avoid. His book suggests that for people and cities, life’s greatest rewards are only achieved through struggle. A moving tribute to second chances and the august, desolate, melancholy city of Detroit.
Elmore Leonard
You’ll love Scott Lasser’s style. His book spans a few years but keeps moving with dialogue that’s natural and alive: whites and blacks in Detroit, a setting you come to know and can feel what it’s about. I know; I’ve been here most of my life.
Colum McCann
This is a sharp, clear portrait of who we are now. Scott Lasser continues to shape a very distinct literary map.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >