Author: Matt Sumell
Wary, insolent, messianic, diabolic, full of sex, self destruction, and beer, grotesque and raw, brutal and tender, and the best thing I have read in twenty years …. Making Nice is a tear of a novel on its own rampage against one man and his dysfunctional family’s transcendence of the loss of mother and wife. Take your Raymond Carver and Alice Munro off the shelf of your bookcase. Replace it with Making Nice. Sumell’s Alby shines like a beacon on the debris of life’s loss.
Making Nice catapults Matt Sumell into orbit, as he thrusts his protagonist, 30 something Alby, into a novel so original and unique that your fingers will thrum as you turn each page. Visceral, LMAO, CMEO, Sumell’s debut tragiocomedy cuts your heart in two as his short stories/novel capture a young man as he grieves the death of his mother, the loss of his father’s desire to live, and his own art for self destruction. Don’t read this if you are a superficial reader who might get lost at the bitter taste of sex, alcohol, and small acts of violence. If you are a good reader, take this book in your mouth like a Godiva chocolate, taste it on your tongue, savor it, appreciate its succulence both tart and sweet and perfect…and, well marvelous.
Alby’s mother dies a long 5 month death by cancer. Her death catapults Alby into life on the wild side, as he and Jackie, his sister, AJ, his brother, and his tortured father try to non deal with the loss.
As he steals his mother’s pain pills, socks his sister in the left breast, rants at his brother AJ and runs to California from New York to elude the pain, Alby finds he cannot. The pain becomes him, lives in him, and finally Alby returns to try and help his father come out of his fugue and deal with still being alive. In a series of short stories, each one so brilliant, so sanguine, so honest that I had to put the book down after each perfect story, Alby stumbles along creating chaos and authenticity. Each short story is a masterpiece. I cannot possibly do a tell on this series of absolutely taut, controlled short story. I put the novel down, cry, laugh, hyperventilate and bring it back up to read the next one. I have never encountered genius in a writer this big, this blasting, and this good. This book must become a classic, an icon for any set of literature on any college agenda. It’s just that good. Better. Best.
I am in awe.
Don’t miss this event, readers. And buy a hard copy. You will experience one man, one family’s universality through tears and laughter. Magnifico!
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Overall: 10 out of 5
Review by Broad “A”
We received a copy of this title for our book review. All opinions are our own
Making Nice is available on Amazon.com as well as booksellers nationwide.