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God Bless You, Otis Spunkmeyer

God Bless You, Otis Spunkmeyer

A Novel

by Joseph Earl Thomas


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“This is an astonishingly accomplished novel…Just stunning.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Magnificent” – Publisher’s Weekly, starred review 
A stirring, unsparing novel about Black life in Philadelphia and the struggle to build intimate connections through the eyes of a struggling ex-Army grad student that “reads like a direct communication from the soul,” (Justin Torres) from the virtuoso author of Sink

After a deployment in the Iraq War dually defined by threat and interminable mundanity, Joseph Thomas is fighting to find his footing. Now a doctoral student at The University, and an EMS worker at the hospital in North Philly, he encounters round the clock friends and family from his past life and would-be future at his job, including contemporaries of his estranged father, a man he knows little about, serving time at Holmesburg prison for the statutory rape of his then-teenage mother. Meanwhile, he and his best friend Ray, a fellow vet, are alternatingly bonding over and struggling with their shared experience and return to civilian life, locked in their own rhythms of lust, heartbreak, and responsibility.

Balancing the joys and frustrations of single fatherhood, his studies, and ceaseless shifts at the hospital as he becomes closer than he ever imagined to his father, Joseph tries to articulate vernacular understandings of the sociopolitical struggles he recounts as participant-observer at home, against the assumptions of his friends and colleagues. GOD BLESS YOU, OTIS SPUNKMEYER is a powerful examination of every day black life—of health and sex, race and punishment, and the gaps between our desires and our politics.


ISBN-13: 9781538740989
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: June 18, 2024
Pages: 240
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