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Black Sheep Boy: A Novel in Stories

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  85 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Meet a wild-hearted boy from the bayou land of Louisiana. Misfit, outcast, loner. Call him anything but a victim. Sissy, fairy, Jenny Woman. Son of a mixed-race Holy Ghost mother and a Cajun French phantom father. In a series of tender and tough stories, he encounters gender outlaws, drag queen renegades, and a rogues gallery of sex-starved priests, perverted teachers, and ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published May 10th 2016 by Rare Bird Books, A Barnacle Book
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Book Riot Community
I was lucky enough to interview Martin Pousson a few months ago and we became fast friends, but I’d only had a chance to read a few of the stories in this book at the time, and so I finally sat down with it properly. A novel in stories about a Cajun queer boy growing up in Louisiana, this book is a gorgeous piece of literature. I loved the writing, which swoops melodically around while also being totally coherent (hard to do), and the flavor of Louisiana and Creole and Cajun traditions and their ...more
Richard Read
Aug 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: I've known Martin Pousson for a long, long time. Decades, in fact. It can be a little awkward having artists as friends: will I like their new work? What will I say if I don't? Thankfully, that's never been a problem with Martin. He's a master of language and a magnificent storyteller.

In some ways, Martin and I had similar upbringings. Our parents came from humble, country backgrounds. Our mothers strove to give us the best of everything: clothes, toys, an education, far more
Candi Sary
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My daughter and I saw Martin Pousson speak at the LA Festival of books and we loved his vibe. We were so pulled into his authenticity we had to buy the book. It’s a fantastic read! It’s poetic and honest, painful yet beautiful. So many breathtaking sentences just made me stop, and I had to read them over and over. “Some secrets held such power they had to remain hidden, not in a closet or at the bottom of a chest, but out in the open, where no one would notice." As a novel in stories—some ...more
May 05, 2017 rated it liked it
I had the great fortune to see Martin Pousson speak at a panel of LGBTQIA+ writers at the LA Festival of Books. His voice stood out in particular because he championed both an aesthetic and political queerness to me; some of the other writers seemed perfectly content writing without plan or purpose and some remained contentedly tone-deaf to the urgency of liberation in the current political climate. Martin stood true. I had a feeling he was doing something right when an audience member asked ...more
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The writing is so sensual that it's almost fantastical. Absolutely heartbreaking with no pity, either given or requested.
A.M. Leibowitz
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
**4.5 stars**

This is a highly literary work, rather than the more common gay romance. It's a dense and somewhat difficult read, on the level of a college literature course. Readers need to bring their thinking game for this one.

After finishing it, I'm still not sure how I feel. It's extraordinarily well-written, and I definitely enjoyed reading something minus the usual tropes and plot devices. However, I'm not sure I can say I liked it, exactly.

What I loved: the beautiful prose, the Louisiana
Jun 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Colorful writing and a cleverly assembled book. Imagery abounds; the story is conveyed less through words than it is through pictures. Imagine standing before a massive oil painting that contains a whole story on its canvas or a floor-to-ceiling fresco that covers all four walls of a room. That’s how Black Sheep Boy is reads: word pictures.

We follow the life of the narrator from when he’s a toddler through early adulthood. The perspective is first person but I felt weirdly disconnected from
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This really is an extraordinarily good piece of writing. Queer lit-fic, so not "MM" romance. I don't have enough superlatives for the writing and the story. There's 24 status updates attached here to give you an idea of the writing, if you're interested.

I'll add something more here later but a full review is on the blog. I can't spoil the book because it's too fluid yet complex to write a spoiler review.

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Travis Copeland
What started off as promising devolved into a nonsensical, self-indulgent mess. I had high hopes for this book based upon critical reviews, but was so disappointed. Rebellious *and* self-loathing is pathetic, not revelatory. Polluted with not even gay stereotypes, but homophobic caricatures that made me cringe. Lots of self flagellation with zero joy - would not recommend this book to anyone.
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Tbh. Idk how I feel. The book was hard to follow. Tons of stories that I can’t tell if they were real or analogies. Everything was so flowery and over discussed. I think I enjoyed the book, but then again I can’t be certain. Also I don’t think I would have understood the message of the book had I not read the back description.
Tex Reader
3.0 of 5 stars – Beautifully Prosaic, But Slow, Hard to Follow Story.

This story was beautifully written, but sometimes because of that and because of its structure, it ended up also being a slow and hard to follow story.

This was what I call high lit; and as is sometimes the case for me, the prosaic style at times got in the way or was too much, almost as if it was written that way just to impress. Sometimes I lost the meaning of descriptions that were so obscure that I couldn’t grasp the analogy
Heather McAlister
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book. Surreal, engaging, imaginative, provocative. Weaves words like a tapestry and mesmerizes you like a spell.

Full disclosure, I was a student of Martin Pousson's at Cal State Northridge for two semesters. He is very kind, and very well-read; infinitely intelligent and compassionate. He's also a master word-smith, able to bend and stretch the meaning of every word every way it can go for as far as it can go while still having technically the correct meaning. And he is SOOO well-read.
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good candidate for my best-ever fictionish shelf this "novel in stories" absolutely stunned me. I highlighted entire chapters because the writing is just that good and Pousson makes words come together into unforgettable images... written with a level of vulnerability that reminds me of Justin Torres, these stories transport the reader deep into a world where real and unreal, true and untrue lose all sense of meaning.
Sara Khayat
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Black Sheep Boy by Martin Pousson is a novel in the form of a short story collection. This vivid story, rich with imagery & magic, creates a dreamlike narrative for the reader. This coming-of-age story seamlessly tackles topics of home, sexuality, abuse, and the city of New Orleans. One of my favorite books of all time.

I purchased this book through L.A.'s fabulous book mobile, twenty stories. You can find them on Instagram @twentystoriesla.
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Disappointing. So many people have raved about this book; unfortunately it didn't work for me. It could have been such a powerful read, but it was so detached that I found it really difficult to engage with despite my best efforts. Everything felt far away and clinical. The writing had moments of beauty but was strangely incoherent in places. I wouldn't personally recommend this book but if you think you'd enjoy it, don't let me put you off. I wish I'd enjoyed it more.
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: queer-books
Kyle Fitzpatrick
May 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Eh. Moody, atmospheric queer fiction that does an excellent job of elevating familiar storylines in queer (gay male) lives. A pretty echo.
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn’t so much about story, more about the language of feelings, language of place. It’s beautiful.
Joyfully Jay
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: camille
A Joyfully Jay review.

4.25 stars

Full disclosure: I am probably not smart enough to have read this book, let alone provide a worthy review, but a promise is a promise…

Pulp fiction this book is not. It’s firmly in the literary vein PLUS it’s not a romance novel, so the structure is far removed from the Bob-and-Larry-wind-up-falling-in-love-and-here’s-how-it-happened form. What it lacks in familiar tropes, it makes up for with the stunningly rich backdrop of Louisiana bayou starring a hodge podge
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Black Sheep Boy was a prosaic and personal story about one boy’s experiences in the Cajun culture of southern Louisiana.

Martin Pousson had a literary style, following in the steps of more famous Southern story tellers. Those are big shoes to fill, and this does at least a decent job of emulating them with its prosaic images of people, places and culture. Although the prose seemed forced at times, not natural to the story, it would still appeal to those who, like me, are willing at times to set
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sometimes the setting and atmosphere takes on a most wonderful revelation into another world. Pousson exposes the world of the Acadiana in the bayou of Louisiana. This story of family (dysfunctional) and growing up in this world is illuminating. Told in short story format, one learns about Cajun life, customs, superstition. It bounces into dream world at times.
Oct 15, 2016 rated it liked it
I received this book as a First Read. It's a nice collection of stories. The pace is slow. The book is strange and well suited for those who like oddball or quirky stories. It provides a nice glimpse into Cajun culture. It also makes readers ponder the loss and preservation of culture as different cultures mix.
Terri Farris
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Deeply emotional. Disjointed and disturbing. Growing up knowing who you are and living in the only world open to you. I was moved.
Received as a Goodreads giveaway
Phil Devereux
May 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Phil by: Jake Shears
Stories of very unique childhood told in an entirely unique and charming way.
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