A provocative and incisive exploration of the nature of identity, and a disturbing portrait of the desperation manufactured by America’s culture of inequality.
“My name is Abe Kunstler. I was a soldier and a POW. I can draw wire, and I was wounded in the war.”
Abe Kunstler is a man whose very existence is forbidden. His life as a factory worker and World War II veteran is a lie, an invention forged in the heat of a terrible crime. Even Kunstler himself isn’t sure how far he’ll go to keep his secret: that he was born a woman, and his identity belongs to the man he once loved – and killed.
“A stunning debut. Utterly brilliant.”
—Philipp Meyer, author of American Rust
“This is storytelling on steroids. Tadzio Koelb is a writer’s writer, and his densely packed and evocative novel is as thrilling as it is disturbing.”
—Jay Parini, author of The Last Station
“A novel uncompromisingly cut from the same startling bolt of literary cloth used by writers like Djuna Barnes, William Faulkner or James Baldwin. Abe Kunstler is as striking a key character — and Koelb’s depiction of him as challenging and rewarding in its execution — as Barnes’ Robin Vote, Faulkner’s Joe Christmas or Baldwin’s Sonny. This is writing that takes its reader most seriously.”
—Laird Hunt, author of The Evening Road
UK edition available August 2018 from Atlantic.