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The Standard Grand

3.07  ·  Rating details ·  117 ratings  ·  44 reviews
"Nicorvo is a bracingly original writer and a joy to read." ―Dennis Lehane

"It seems possible that Nicorvo has ingested all the darkness of this life and now breathes fire.” ―Nick Flynn, author ofAnother Bullshit Night in Suck City

"Nicorvo’s muscular and energetic prose will stun readers with its poignancy, while providing a punch to the solar plexus." ―Booklist (Starred Re
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published April 25th 2017 by St. Martin's Press
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Average rating 3.07  · 
Rating details
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Louise Wilson
Apr 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
An Army trucker goes AWOL before her third deployment and ends up sleeping in Central Park. She meets a Vietnam Vet and widower who has inherited a tumbledown Borscht Belt resort that's been converted into a halfway house for homeless veterans.

The strong characters in this book deal with war, love and loss. The difficulty returning soldiers have to go through. The book does have a slow start that might put some readers off. Not usually my type of book but I did quite enjoy it.

I would like to tha
Jay Nicorvo
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
No Love in the Writer, No Love in the Reader

My former sister-in-law deployed to Iraq in 2008 as part of the surge. Her MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) was 88M, motor transport operator. She drove trucks, one of the most dangerous jobs in the Army. About halfway through her difficult deployment, my brother got word she was having an affair with another soldier.

After fifteen months, her tour ended, and she returned stateside. Stationed a couple thousand miles from my brother, she cut of
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
A more complete review is available on my blog:

This book just didn't hit the spot for me. Most of the story dragged. I didn't find it humorous and the mystery wasn't enough to keep my attention. I actually had to leave this book several times and come back to it while reading other books in order to finish it. There were some questions that I had throughout the book but the book ended without ever answering those questions, ruining any chance of any myster
Michael Ferro
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"To me, the most beautiful thing about Jay Baron Nicorvo's THE STANDARD GRAND was its unwillingness to cast away the dark skies gathering over America. Instead, Nicorvo gives us a beacon of hope in these increasingly troubled times. With the language of a poet, Nicorvo brings a vivid imagery and relentless beauty to his narrative, creating an entirely lyrical world for the reader.

Much like DeLillo, Nicorvo has also mastered the art of witty, realistic dialogue like few others I've read. His char
Donna Davis
“A loaded gun wants to go off.”

Critics have compared Nicorvo’s brilliant debut novel to the work of Heller, and indeed, it seems destined to become the go-to story of those that have served in the unwinnable morass created by the US government against the people of the Middle East: “a drawdown war forever flaring up”. It’s created a tremendous amount of buzz already. I was lucky enough to read it free and in advance for the purpose of a review, thanks to Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press, but to
Mindy Gough
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book wanted to be so macho. The phrasing, the descriptions, the plot were all male-centered and jarring. I kept reading, thinking it might get better, but it didn't. ...more
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this new authors novel. A ragtag group of vets have holes up in the Catskills in a defunk resort. Also chasing their own pts demons. Soon to join them is a female deserter with PTSD after two tours running from a 3rd deployment and an abusive husband. Add in a land manager scouting for a company with a lot of shady dealings great read
Si Braybrooke
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
A Vietnam vet, vets from recent theatres of war, a deserter, civil rights, Alzheimer's, a run down holiday village in the Catskills, big business corruption and intimidation - sounds a lot to cram into one book. But it manages to also squeeze in a big cat mauling and death, a fair amount. This is a hard book to get into, you are literally thrown around from page to page for the first quarter or so, trying to keep track of characters and plots - although it does have a helpful index of the charac ...more
Geoff Greene
Jun 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
**Note** I received this book as part of a Goodreads promotional giveaway.

While I don't lend a lot of credence to the summaries on the back of dust jackets, the one that appears on "The Standard Grand" did a poor job of gearing me for the story I was about to read. From the description, I thought I was going to read something similar to Carl Hiaasen or Elmore Leonard with larger than life characters and hijinks. That is not the case and the book offers an interesting story if you ignore the pers
Cathy Geha
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Standard Grand by Jay Baron Nicorvo

This is not my usual reading fare. When I was finished I was ready for something lighter with a happily ever after ending. In one novel everything but the kitchen sink seemed to end up being discussed: big business, war(s), PTSD, atrocities, abuse, love, marriage, divorce, AWOL, war veterans, murder, religion, do-gooders, abortion, adoption, the right to die, infidelity, intercultural relationships, anger, spying, homelessness, evil…goodness…the list goes o
Mar 29, 2018 rated it did not like it

I really, really wanted to like this book. It promised a female veteran and a Mesoamerican lesbian as characters, along with an intriguing plot.

But the prose was just so, SO plodding. I usually give a book at least 50 pages before I drop it, but I stopped at page 36. I just couldn't get past the writing style.
Oct 21, 2018 rated it did not like it
I gave it a try because I thought the book sounded interesting and I look forward to reading about topics I don’t know much about. With that said - I just couldn’t get into the dialogue and found myself dreading picking up the book. So I’m out. Letting this book go.
Jan 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
Dragged on. Couldn't finish. Did not interest me much at all. It just was not captivating. I'll try again another day... ...more
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to NetGalley, Jay Baron Nicorvo, and St. Martin's Press for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

I read as a means to gain empathy, and when I saw the description of this book, I knew that I needed to read it.

The book is real -- unflinchingly real. I didn't connect with the first few pages because it was so unsparing and I realized I needed to be in the right headspace to really dive in. Once I did though, I didn't stop until I finished.

I saw my friends in this book -- w
Stephanie Pieck
Apr 22, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-fiction
The Standard Grand follows characters with competing motives as they navigate the aftermath of returning home from combat. The title refers to a shelter for homeless vets housed in a defunct resort in the Catskills. The director is dying of cancer and deeply in debt, but he takes in one more person, Antebellum Smith, an Army trucker gone AWOL, seeing in her a potential successor to run the shelter.
But a corporation wants the land that the resort is on, and they send another woman to ferret out i
Maureen Tumenas
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks to NetGalley and to St. Martin's Press for the preview copy of this book.

First- this is a 4.5* book. It's hard to believe that this is a debut novel. The basic storyline is of the AWOL homeless female vet and the ragtag group of veterans who come to live together up in the Catskills to try to relearn how to live with the rest of the world. The cast of characters comes to life slowly and kind of like a patchwork quilt- a glimpse here, then another glimpse there. For me this was not just a
Laura Newsholme
Apr 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is such an intricate novel about trying to recover from war, veterans, cougars, motorbikes, big company conspiracies and Sammy Davis Jr. It follows Antebellum Smith as she tries to deal with life after war after going AWOL from both the army and her life with her husband. For me, it was so interesting to focus on female war veterans and their own personal challenges when dealing with their war experiences. The writing is clean and efficient and the characters are just wonderful. The book ta ...more
Apr 01, 2018 marked it as to-read
****Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for an honest review****

When an Army trucker goes AWOL before her third deployment, she ends up sleeping in Central Park. There, she meets a Vietnam vet and widower who inherited a tumbledown Borscht Belt resort. Converted into a halfway house for homeless veterans, the Standard—and its two thousand acres over the Marcellus Shale Formation—is coveted by a Houston-based multinational company. Toward what end, only a corporate executive knows."

This book w
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Spanning just a year in the lives of several people, this book encompasses a whole spectrum of emotions and actions.

The book deals with current issues and those that have still not been resolved. War veterans returning to an empty life, no direction, no care. The book is very heavy and at times it did seem to drag but it is good reading and shows how great the impact of American interference in the Middle East has created. The havoc played on the minds, families and hearts of the American peopl
Oct 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I chose this because it offers a very realistic perspective of vets with PTSD in the modern era. It's also quite literary. The intensive, sweeping, and constant changes in POV are engaging. The plot is not predictable, the setting is unique. So, lots of good stuff. But buckle up b/c all this good packaging is filled with tense, harsh, graphic, ugly, heart wrenching, difficult people, places and poignant events. ...more
Blaine Morrow
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Nicorvo is tough, hitting you whether you're up or down and not pulling any punches. This story isn't as funny as Catch 22, but it's full of the irony and macabre humor that Heller used so successfully for another war. The fact that the central figure - Ant, Antebellum, Bellum, Smith - is female adds grit to the story and certainly places it in the Iraq/Afghanistan era. ...more
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good book. Stirs your every emotion.
Katie Dayton
Apr 08, 2021 rated it did not like it
I only got through about 50 pages before I moved on to something else. I usually try to finish any book I start, but reading this just felt like a chore. This book uses so much military jargon it was hard to understand half of what was going on. If you’re someone like me, very unfamiliar with military life, this book is not for you. The writing style came off as pretentious to me. I found this book at the dollar store, and I think that is an appropriate place for it.
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Amazing! Fast moving, intricate, and explosive plot with fascinating characters. Incredible first work from this author!
Jan 01, 2018 rated it liked it
It took me several chapters to get into this book. It seems to be a fairly realistic account of soldiers stuffing from PTSD. A Vietnam vet is offering shelter and help to a woman AWOL from her third tour in Afghanistan. It’s refreshing to see a woman as part of the story. There is also a story line of corporate greed in the mix. How these solders cope with their past is interesting.
Dec 01, 2016 rated it liked it
My review for this book was published in the 2/1/17 edition of Library Journal:

Four characters converge on an abandoned Catskills resort in this ambitious novel set in 2012. Vietnam veteran Milton Wright, whose wife's family owned the property in its Borscht Belt heyday, has converted it into the Standard Grand, a halfway house for homeless vets. Antebellum Smith, an army specialist sleeping in Central Park rather than face a third deployment (or her husband), becomes Wright's last hope to inher
Julie Failla Earhart
Oct 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
I was excited when I obtained a copy of Nicorvo’s debut novel. Set in 2012, it’s the story of a halfway house for homeless veterans suffering from PTSD and located in an abandoned Catskills (NY) resort.

One of the vets, Antebellum Smith, is actually AWOL from her post in Fort Leonard Wood. She can’t face a third deployment to Iraq and is sick and tired of her deadbeat civilian husband. She makes the trek from the Missouri Ozarks to Manhattan. She’d rather sleep in the park than go back.

She meets
Feb 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Standard Grand is a title for readers who want their characters in staccato bursts. These characters are seeking to run away from their past and somehow embrace it so they can move on….sounds confusing but it somehow makes sense. Strongest character for me was Antebellum Smith a great name for a vet of the Mid East conflict. Nicorvo’s sentences and descriptions are unique and startling….had to dwell on some of them before moving on. But…somewhere along the way I lost the rhythm of the story. So ...more
Rachel Stansel
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
An interesting premise with unique and well developed characters. Unfortunately, it just didnt do anything for me. The story was slow moving and at times seemed forced. I was disappointed that the writing seemed to almost in the way of the story, like the author was trying too hard. I gave up at the halfway point.

Full disclosure - I received a copy of the book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Mar 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: finished
Interesting premise, characters were well developed. Not my usual type of read, so I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy it. I found it hard to read in some areas, but that was probably more me than the actual book. Good writing. I don't want to give away much for those who haven't read it. The book doesn't come out until the end of April. I may update the review at a later date. ...more
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What Booksellers Are Saying About TSG 1 8 Jul 24, 2016 07:22PM  
What Writers Are Saying About TSG 1 6 Jul 24, 2016 07:08PM  
JAY BARON NICORVO is the author of a novel, The Standard Grand (St. Martin's Press), picked for IndieBound's Indie Next List, Library Journal's Spring 2017 Debut Novels Great First Acts, and named "New and Noteworthy" by Poets & Writers. He's published a poetry collection, Deadbeat (Four Way Books, 2012). His essays have appeared in Salon, Poets & Writers, The Iowa Review, and The Believer. He's b ...more

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