One Of The Boys
By Daniel Magariel
Scribner, March 14, 2017
A riveting and emotionally harrowing debut about two young brothers and their physically and psychologically abusive father—One of the Boys is 160 perfect, stunning pages by a major new talent.
The three of them—a twelve-year-old boy, his older brother, their father—have won the war: the father’s term for his bitter divorce and custody battle. They leave their Kansas home and drive through the night to Albuquerque, eager to begin again, united by the thrilling possibility of carving out a new life together. The boys go to school, join basketball teams, make friends. Meanwhile their father works from home, smoking cheap cigars to hide another smell. But soon the little missteps—the dead-eyed absentmindedness, the late night noises, the comings and goings of increasingly odd characters—become sinister, and the boys find themselves watching their father change, grow erratic, then violent.
"Brilliant, urgent, darkly funny, heartbreaking—a tour de force with startling new things to say about class, masculinity, addiction, and family. Daniel Magariel is an exciting new presence in American writing." (George Saunders, author of Tenth of December)
“With a charismatic, macho, drug-addicted dad, the young narrator pays an awful price to be One of the Boys in the riveting, debut novel by Daniel Magariel. Move over Great Santini, this patriarch is rendered with such artful love, you'll be haunted by his presence long after you close this graceful and heartbreaking book.” (Mary Karr, author of Lit and The Liar’s Club)
"A deeply affecting portrait of innocence lost. Like Emma Donoghue’s Room, One of the Boys is impossible to resist as we root for these young men to escape their brutal (yet charismatic) father. We feel the strength of the child through Magariel's precise, understated and unflinching prose, which builds in emotion and suspense by keeping us very close to how each moment leads to the next. A beautiful debut." (Dana Spiotta, author of Innocents and Others)
"Daniel Magariel's absolutely brilliant and beautiful novel is that rarest thing: an incredibly mature book about kids. Not since I read Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping have I felt so at once in the presence of the magic-logic terrors of childhood and the too real and consequential realms of adults. The children in this novel act like loving, terrified parents; the parents behave like the most destructive of children. Yet Magariel has managed to tell the story of this failing family with so much love and gentleness that the lasting impression of this novel--full of enraging scenes and calamitous decisions--is of the unknowing courage unique to youth.” (Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances)
About the Author
Daniel Magariel is a fiction writer from Kansas City. He has a BA from Columbia University, as well as an MFA from Syracuse University, where he was a Cornelia Carhart Fellow. He has lived in Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Florida, Colorado, and Hawaii. He currently lives in New York with his wife. One of the Boys is his first novel.