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Avery Colt is a Snake, a Thief, a Liar
Austin’s semi-autobiographical, linked story collection follows the misadventures of Avery Colt as he struggles to survive in North St. Louis alongside his family. Learning the best way to slaughter a goat, rebuilding his family’s corner market, and reckoning the weight of a revolver are a few of the challenges Avery faces. As he matures through each page, Avery takes cont ...more
Paperback, 172 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Southeast Missouri State Univ Press
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Forthcoming Books for 2019 by African-Americans
58 books — 68 voters
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The stories of Avery are as much a microcosmic look into North St. Louis, of the grieving, survival, and continued perseverance of the area. The book redefines tenderness and triumph, forces us to stay with Avery no matter how uncomfortable the experience, and we stick around because there’s an origin story of sorts happening. We end on a series of clicks and we won’t see what it comes to, but there’s a hopeful note in the continued action—knowing that the click is still echoing as something in ...more
Every story in this collection is equally strong. The prose is crisp, the narrative is compelling, the characters are well-defined. Austin’s writing is tinged with a dark humor that, though much of the book is from a young boy’s perspective, handles complicated and often grim realities with the perfect balance of honesty and sensitivity. No complaints.
First: amazing title and cover art. I guess you're not supposed to judge books by their covers, but that's what I did, and it worked. Avery Colt is an introspective, sort of nerdy kid trying to meet the conflicting expectations of the adults around him, a task that seems basically impossible. His stories are woven together with the stories of his family and neighbors to create a vibrant portrait of a St. Louis neighborhood. The author's writing style is rich in detail without feeling over-writte ...more
Any time anyone has asked me in the last two years for fiction recommendations, I've told them about this book. I loved everything about it: the setting/world, which felt like nothing I'd ever seen in fiction before; the incredibly engaging narrator; the drama and fear and humor and the cast of captivating characters. And the illustrations! I loved the illustrations. Reading this book felt like American fiction being expanded and changed right before my eyes. I highly recommend it. ...more
Great voice, makes me a believer in the novel-in-stories again. And what an ambiguous final story and chilling final paragraph—leaves the whole book open to readers so it can continue operating on our minds and hearts. I love how Austin often deploys a rigid syntactic parallelism, the simplicity of which is counterbalanced by the wildness of myth and hyperbole-infused imaginative flights. I'll be recommending this book to everyone. ...more