Jesus Boy by Preston L. Allen

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"Allen has created a consummate tragicomedy of African Americanfamily secrets and sorrows, and of faith under duress and wide open to interpretation. Perfect timing andcrackling dialogue, as well as heartrending pain balanced by uproarious predicaments, make for a shout-hallelujah tale of transgression and grace, a gospel of lusty and everlasting love."

“Like Dostoyevsky, Allen colorfully evokes the gambling milieu—the chained (mis)fortunes of the players, their vanities and grotesqueries, their quasi-philosophical ruminations on chance. Like Burroughs, he is a dispassionate chronicler of the addict’s daily ritual, neither glorifying nor vilifying the matter at hand.”
--The New York Times Book Review, on All or Nothing

Into an austere community of Christian believers at the Church of Our Blessed Redeemer Who Walked Upon the Waters come the star-crossed African American Romeo and Juliet. In the world of Jesus Boy, Romeo is sixteen-year-old Elwyn Parker, a devout and sincere piano prodigy who learns too late that the saintly girl he has had a crush on all his life is inexplicably pregnant and soon to be wed. Juliet is the beautiful widow, Sister Morrisohn, age forty-two, who, in the pain and confused emotions of her grieving, ends up in Elwyn’s arms.

Despite the problems posed by their age difference and the strict prohibitions of their strong religious beliefs, Elwyn and Sister Morrisohn’s love is true, and as it grows among the ascetics, abstainers, and holy ghost rollers of their church, it exposes with wit, poignancy, and insight the dark secrets and ancient crimes of the pious. In Jesus Boy, Elwyn learns through tragedy and epiphany that the holy are no different from the rest of us.


About Preston L. Allen

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Preston L. Allen: Preston L. Allen is a recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship and a winner of the Sonja H. Stone Prize in Fiction for his collection of stories Churchboys and Other Sinners. His work has appeared in various literary anthologies and journals including Las Vegas Noir, Miami Noir, the Seattle Review, 1111, Drum Voices, and Black Renaissance Noire. His novels All or Nothing and Jesus Boy have received rave reviews from O, the Oprah Magazine, Library Journal, Feminist Review, and the New York Times. He teaches writing in South Florida.
Published April 1, 2010 by Akashic Books. 369 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Religion & Spirituality, Romance. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Jesus Boy

Publishers Weekly

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Though well plotted, this tale of a May-December romance in a religious black community in 1970s Florida fails to become anything more than a passing crush. Elwyn Parker is a smart 16-year-old equa

Dec 14 2009 | Read Full Review of Jesus Boy

The New York Times

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In this novel, a 16-year-old churchgoer is introduced to furtive fornication and an all-powerful God.

May 14 2010 | Read Full Review of Jesus Boy

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