Also the 2016 winner of the Fiction Collective Two Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize, Year of the Rat is a poignant and riveting literary debut that Publishers Weekly called a “very promising start of the author’s career.”
In Year of the Rat an artist returns to the dystopian city of his birth to tend to his invalid mother only to find himself torn apart by memories and longings. Narrated by this nameless figure whose rants, reveries, and Rabelaisian escapades take him on a Dantesque descent into himself, the story follows him and his mother as they share a one-bedroom apartment over the course of a year.
Despite his mother’s precarious health, the lingering memories of a lost love, an incarcerated sibling, a repressed sexuality, and an anarchic inability to support himself, he pursues his dream of becoming an avant-garde artist. His prospects grow dim until a devastating death provides a painful and unforeseeable opportunity. With a voice that is poetic and profane, ethereal and irreverent, cyclical and succinct, he roams from vignette to vignette, creating a polyphonic patchwork quilt of a family portrait.
On being included with other American Book Award winners, Richardson said, “To win a writer’s award from award-winning writers is a chance to be in bed with as many human beings as humanly possible.”
The American Book Awards were created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community. The purpose of the awards is to recognize literary excellence without limitations or restrictions. The full list of 2017 winner can be viewed here.
Winners will be formally recognized on Sunday, October 22nd, from 12:00-2:30 p.m. at the SF Jazz Center, Joe Henderson Lab, 201 Franklin Street (at Fell), San Francisco, CA. This event is open to the public.