"I cannot live without books." -- Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Our September Soup of the Month is Since I Laid My Burden Down by Brontez Purnell

Brontez Purnell is something of a secret for now, but not one you're likely to keep. Seriously, ask your artist friends. They probably know about him already. They may have even attended a show by his queer punk rock band, or a performance art piece.  They're possibly among the first to know the pleasure of his novel  Since I Laid My Burden Down, or its predecessor Johnny Would You Love Me If My Dick Were Bigger?  - Two novels that are not for the faint of heart, and too queer, too black, too frank about sex and sexuality for most publishers. So thank you to Feminist Press for making sure this voice doesn't get lost although Purnell strikes me as someone who is unbothered by such things and would write anyway, if ten people, or ten thousand read his words. That's where booksellers come in, and trust us on this one - you should read this novel!
Purnell's protagonist DeShawn is wickedly funny, unflinching, and honest, in that way that only people who have nothing else to lose can be. Having grown up in a small town, he kicked and scratched and crawled over the bodies of others to get out, making it all the way to a new life in San Francisco. It's that call home for a death in the family that reminds him and by extension, us, that we'll always be that kid from Alabama, Kansas, etc, and that while we can reinvent ourselves any number of ways, somebody, somewhere - maybe an aunt or a secret lover, will always know the truth.
This novel is truly a discovery and possibly outside of your own reading comfort zone, but in a volatile year like this one, perhaps it should be.

- Dan Graham, Assistant Promotional Director

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