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A Novel

Mark Slouka (Author)


"Intense and elegiac…devastatingly agile." —New York Times Book Review

The year is 1968. The world is changing, and sixteen-year-old Jon Mosher is determined to change with it. Racked by guilt over his older brother’s childhood death and stuck in the dead-end town of Brewster, New York, he turns his rage into victories running track. Meanwhile, Ray Cappicciano, a rebel as gifted with his fists as Jon is with his feet, is trying to take care of his baby brother while staying out of the way of his abusive, ex-cop father. When Jon and Ray form a tight friendship, they find in each other everything they lack at home, but it’s not until Ray falls in love with beautiful, headstrong Karen Dorsey that the three friends begin to dream of breaking away from Brewster for good. Freedom, however, has its price. As forces beyond their control begin to bear down on them, Jon sets off on the race of his life—a race to redeem his past and save them all.

Mark Slouka's work has been called "relentlessly observant, miraculously expressive" (New York Times Book Review). Reverberating with compassion, heartache, and grace, Brewster is an unforgettable coming-of-age story from one of our most compelling novelists.

A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice
A Washington Post Notable Book of 2013
A Barron’s Favorite Book of the Year, selected by Daniel Woodrell
A Booklist Best Adult Books for Young Adults Editor’s Choice 2013

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • May 2014
  • ISBN 978-0-393-34883-5
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 288 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, Singapore and Malaysia, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverBrewster: A Novel


Endorsements & Reviews

“A masterpiece of winter sorrow…Slouka’s real triumph here is capturing the amber of grief, the way love and time have crystallized these memories into something just as gorgeous as it is devastating.” — Ron Charles, Washington Post

“[I]ntense and elegiac novel… Slouka’s storytelling is sure and patient, deceptively steady and devastatingly agile.” — New York Times Book Review

“Gorgeously written…[A novel about] human frailty, friendship, yearning, heart and love.” — John Barron, Chicago Tribune

“Readers familiar with Richard Russo’s Mohawk, N.Y., might find some similarities in Mark Slouka’s Brewster, N.Y.…Gorgeous and touching.” — Peter Geye, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Reading Brewster is like entering the very heart of a Bruce Springsteen song—all grace, all depth, all sinew. Slouka—one of the great unsung writers of our time—has written a magnificent novel that woke my tired heart.” — Colum McCann, National Book Award-winning author of Let the Great World Spin

“Terrific…. [W]here Slouka distinguishes himself as an author of particular sensitivity and significance is in how accurately and memorably he is able to conjure up a particular mood that has no doubt been felt in every era, not just the late '60s and early '70s. There is a timeless sense of yearning here.” — Adam Langer, Boston Globe

“Slouka’s laconic dialogue resonates with regional authenticity, his late-1960’s pop culture references ring true, and the stripped down prose style in his masterful coming-of-age novel recalls the likes of Tobias Wolff and Raymond Carver.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

Brewster is subtly wrought and wholly moving, capturing with beautiful desperation the sense of personal insecurity overshadowed by an era of unwieldy international concerns.” — The Rumpus

“What Slouka also draws, with unerring accuracy, is the primacy of friendship and loyalty among teens who feel they are powerless. Slouka gives them a voice here, one filled with equal parts humor and pain.” — Booklist, starred review

“Despite delving bravely into despairingly dark subject matter, [Brewster] is still somehow infused with hope and light, achieving a sort of literary chiaroscuro.… Brewster could become the latest addition to the American canon of coming-of-age stories, enchanting readers with its soulful story of love, loss and the vagaries of the teenage heart.” — Karen Ann Cullotta, BookPage

“The dark undertow of Slouka’s prose makes Brewster instantly mesmerizing, a novel that whirls the reader into small-town, late 1960s America with mastery, originality, and heart.” — Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad

“If ecstasy was Nabokov’s keynote, Slouka’s is passion. I can think of no one else who writes with such brazen fervor, with so much heart poured into every line. He is the perfect writer for a Passion Play about youth: youth’s ardor, youth’s anguish, youth’s nakedness. Brewster is that novel, and it blazes.” — Brian Hall, author of Fall of Frost

“This beautifully written coming-of-age story sings with wisdom and heart. Slouka’s characters struggle to survive against a backdrop of remembered pain, routine violence and the threat of being drafted to Vietnam, fighting to retain a friendship that may just be able to save them.” — Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of Once Upon a River

“One to devour… fans of Richard Russo novels or Chad Herbach’s The Art of Fielding should love this novel.” — The Columbus Dispatch

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