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“A gripping, uncanny, and queer exploration of being a boy in America, told with detail that dazzles and disturbs.” ―Michelle Tea, author of Against Memoir
In this bewitching debut novel, a sensitive teen, newly arrived in Alabama, falls in love, questions his faith, and navigates a strange power. While his German parents don’t know what to make of a South pining for the past, shy Max thrives in the thick heat. Taken in by the football team, he learns how to catch a spiraling ball, how to point a gun, and how to hide his innermost secrets.
Max already expects some of the raucous behavior of his new, American friends―like their insatiable hunger for the fried and cheesy, and their locker room talk about girls. But he doesn’t expect the comradery―or how quickly he would be welcomed into their world of basement beer drinking. In his new canvas pants and thickening muscles, Max feels like he’s “playing dress-up.” That is until he meets Pan, the school “witch,” in Physics class: “Pan in his all black. Pan with his goth choker and the gel that made his hair go straight up.” Suddenly, Max feels seen, and the pair embarks on a consuming relationship: Max tells Pan about his supernatural powers, and Pan tells Max about the snake poison initiations of the local church. The boys, however, aren’t sure whose past is darker, and what is more frightening―their true selves, or staying true in Alabama.
Writing in verdant and visceral prose that builds to a shocking conclusion, Genevieve Hudson “brilliantly reinvents the Southern Gothic, mapping queer love in a land where God, guns, and football are king” (Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks). Boys of Alabama becomes a nuanced portrait of masculinity, religion, immigration, and the adolescent pressures that require total conformity.
About the Author
Genevieve Hudson is the author of the novel Boys of Alabama, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Their other books include the critical memoir A Little in Love with Everyone and Pretend We Live Here: Stories, which was a LAMBDA Literary Award finalist. Their work has appeared in ELLE, Oprah Daily, LA Review of Books, Electric Literature, Bomb, Bookforum, No Tokens, Bitch, Tin House, McSweeney’s, Catapult, and other places. They have received fellowships from the Fulbright Program, MacDowell, Caldera Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center. They live in Portland, Oregon.
Boys of Alabama brilliantly reinvents the Southern Gothic... An absolutely magical novel.--Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks
A gripping, uncanny, and queer exploration of being a boy in America, told with detail that dazzles and disturbs.--Michelle Tea, author of Against Memoir
Genevieve Hudson dismantles and spins a new category of fairy tale for us, one that's equal parts dirt and splendor. A glinting, dark beauty. An incantation.--T Kira Madden, author of Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girl
This novel is a love song to outsiders of all kinds, a queer love story about the ways we find to heal ourselves and each other, and proof that there can be magic amid the burdens of masculinity.--Melissa Febos, author of Whip Smart and Abandon Me
Genevieve Hudson creates a new American erotics of longing and belonging, flush with want and desire, hope and home, translation and transformation.--Matt Bell, author of Scrapper
Hudson goes right to a place where violence comes from--uncomfortably close to desire for magic, God, sex, whatever might actually heal us--and doesn't turn away.--Kristin Dombek, author of The Selfishness of Others
One of the finest--and weirdest!--first novels I've read in quite some long time.--Tom Bissell, author of Apostle and coauthor of The Disaster Artist
Boys of Alabama perfectly captures the magic and inevitable heartache of young lust.--Kimberly King Parsons, author of Black Light
[Depicts] a brand of Southern-fried masculinity that is immediately recognizable and startlingly fresh. This is an exquisite book.--Nick White, author of How to Survive a Summer
Reminds us that behind so many of America's most rigid beliefs lies the lonely human heart: twitchy, slippery, alive.--Mikkel Rosengaard, author of The Invention of Ana