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Sugar Street

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781472151964

Price: £16.99

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‘Part of the power of Sugar Street lies in its style . . . in the prose you can feel the adrenaline of [the protagonist’s] initial flight wearing off , his life shrinking down to a couple of city blocks . It’s brilliantly done’ Guardian

‘A deft punch of a novel from Jonathan Dee . . . [he] creates a true page-turner out of simple materials and the result is a troubling and stimulating look at real American life – at the fix that materialism plus the information state has got us into. It’s also very funny’ George Sanders

In Jonathan Dee’s elegant and explosive new novel, Sugar Street, an unnamed male narrator has hit the road with a large sum of cash stashed in an envelope under his car seat. Vigilantly avoiding security cameras, he drives until he meets a city where his past is unlikely to track him down. Renting a room from a less-than-stable landlady whose need for money outweighs her desire to ask questions, he seems to have escaped his former self. But can he?

In a story that moves with swift dark humour and insight, Dee takes us through his narrator’s attempt to disavow his former life of privilege and enter a blameless new existence. Having opted out of his material possessions and human connections, the pillars of his new self – simplicity, kindness, above all invisibility – grow shakier as he butts up against the daily lives of his neighbours in their politically divided working-class city. With the suspense of a crime thriller and the grace of our best literary fiction, Dee unspools the details of our unlikely hero’s former life and his developing new one in a drumbeat roll up to a shocking final act.

Sugar Street is a leaner, more personal, but still uncannily timely look at the volatile America of today. A risky, engrossing and surprisingly visceral story about a white man trying to escape his own troubling footprint and start his life over.

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Reviews

The politics of the story become explicit, terrifyingly so, in its final pages... Sugar Street ends by packing a punch that the reader won't see coming
Prisma
[A] compelling, original novel
Independent
Pacy and disturbing
Mail on Sunday
Sugar Street is expertly done, with a good balance of provocative thinking and surprising developments
The Times
A propulsive thriller
Observer
Part of the power of Sugar Street lies in its style . . . in the prose you can feel the adrenaline of [the protagonist's] initial flight wearing off , his life shrinking down to a couple of city blocks . It's brilliantly done
Guardian
This is an elegant, spare and thoroughly engaging novel, with a narrator who goes from potential bad guy to potential victim... and a genuinely affecting questioning of whether it's possible to do the "right thing" without incurring judgment
Claire Looby, Irish Times
I don't know when I've been as jolted and delighted by the ending of a novel as I recently was by the ending of Sugar Street, a deft punch of a novel by Jonathan Dee, that had the phrase "an American Dostoyevsky" running around in my head. Dee creates a true page-turner out of simple materials and the result is a troubling and stimulating look at real American life - at the fix that materialism plus the information state has got us into. It's also very funny
George Sanders
This one will keep you guessing . . . An original and fascinating concept that'll keep you hooked and turning the pages
The Sunday Post
Dee's subtle skill lies in how seductive he makes all this strenuous rationalising on the narrator's part . . . Sugar Street's symbolism does just as much to keep you on edge, bringing us queasily close to a self-cancelling antihero who is simultaneously sent up and - you suspect - just a little bit admired
Observer
Dee's style is clean, raw, terse [and] perfectly paced. The voice conveys a yearning for something better against a bone-deep cynicism... You sure won't see the ending coming
Financial Times
Possessing the pace and plot surprises of a thriller, Dee's novel also manages to be a searing portrait of contemporary America
Choice