The Sarah Book by Scott McClanahan

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McClanahan again proves himself to be a skillful stylist — The Sarah Book is slim, and there are no wasted words in it. He's a musical writer, and the novel is full of passages that beg to be reread over and over again.
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Synopsis

The Sarah Book is master storyteller Scott McClanahan's portrait of love and loss in contemporary West Virginia. As much as this book takes place in Appalachia, it also takes place in the universe. McClanahan’s has written a love letter to divorce, in a language somewhere between Romantic poetry and a distilled mountain twang. The Sarah Book is an unforgettable tale told by one of today's finest writers.

"Scott McClanahan's The Sarah Book is a furious exhalation of love and hurt and hate and tenderness and anger. This is a chronicle of a couple coming together and breaking apart. There is courage in these pages because so much of what McClanahan details is ugly and desperate and raw―everything, food, drink, love, heartbreak, to excess. The writing is so intimate you want to reach into the book to save this man from himself but you can't. That impossibility is what makes this book so memorable, so powerful." ―Roxane Gay

"Scott McClanahan's writing is so pure, honest and immediately engaging, it felt like I wasn't just reading prose: it felt like I was reading the prose. THE SARAH BOOK is hilarious, unflinching and deeply sad. Its every chapter, every page, every observation an addictive delight. I read it in one sitting and days later am still stumbling around from its unexpected wallop." ―Maria Semple



"The romance and destruction of a marriage. I couldn't put it down. Written with all the punches left in. McClanahan shows us the dents and scrapes and breakdowns of a man trying to be to a husband and father while at the same time sabotaging the very things he loves. Unnerving but remarkable." ―Willy Vlautin

"Remarkably painful, funny, and grotesque, The Sarah Book offers a particularly American form of abjection. But what's remarkable is less the way McClanahan makes us gawk at this sodden car wreck of a life, but the way in which, despite all the messing up, he manages to touch on something tender and altogether human." ―Brian Evenson

"McClanahan is an Appalachian Bukowski." –Karl Taro Greenfeld



"McClanahan writes as if he might be the illegitimate literary offspring produced from an accidental coupling of Flannery O'Connor and Harry Crews after a long night of bourbon drinking and something going awry during the birth." ―3:AM

Scott McClanahan writes like Walt Whitman and Barry Hannah had a love child who grew up addicted to speed and porn and The History Channel. I've never read anything with so much wide-armed, grief-stricken love inside descriptions of strip clubs and drug deals and excrement and road kill and drunkenness and child neglect. “McClanahan's prose is miasmic, dizzying, repetitive. A rushing river of words that reflects the chaos and humanity of the place from which he hails. He writes in an elliptical fever dream so contagious that slowing down is not an option. It would be like putting a doorstop in front of a speeding train. This is not a book you savor. It is one you inhale.” –The New York Times

“Part memoir, part hillbilly history, part dream, McClanahan embraces humanity with all its grit, writing tenderly of criminals and outcasts, family and the blood ties that bind us.”
—Interview Magazine

“McClanahan's prose is miasmic, dizzying, repetitive. A rushing river of words that reflects the chaos and humanity of the place from which he hails. [McClanahan] aims to lasso the moon... He is not a writer of halfmeasures. The man has purpose. This is his symphony, every note designed to resonate, to linger.”—New York Times Book Review

 

About Scott McClanahan

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Published July 11, 2017 by Tyrant Books. 230 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Reviewed by Michael Schaub on Jun 21 2017

McClanahan again proves himself to be a skillful stylist — The Sarah Book is slim, and there are no wasted words in it. He's a musical writer, and the novel is full of passages that beg to be reread over and over again.

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