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The Weight Of This World

Critically acclaimed author David Joy, whose debut, Where All Light Tends to Go, was hailed as “a savagely moving novel that will likely become an important addition to the great body of Southern literature” (The Huffington Post), returns to the mountains of North Carolina with a powerful story about the inescapable weight of the past.

A combat veteran returned from war, Thad Broom can’t leave the hardened world of Afghanistan behind, nor can he forgive himself for what he saw there. His mother, April, is haunted by her own demons, a secret trauma she has carried for years. Between them is Aiden McCall, loyal to both but unable to hold them together. Connected by bonds of circumstance and duty, friendship and love, these three lives are blown apart when Aiden and Thad witness the accidental death of their drug dealer and a riot of dope and cash drops in their laps. On a meth-fueled journey to nowhere, they will either find the grit to overcome the darkness or be consumed by it. The Weight Of This World is available now from Putnam Books. Order a copy by clicking here!

Critical Praise for The Weight Of This World

"Bleakly beautiful..Friendship forms the spine of this gorgeously written but pitiless novel about a region blessed by nature but reduced to desolation and despair."—New York Times

"Joy's love and respect for language is clear through beautiful, gritty prose...Darkly stunning Appalachian noir."—The Huffington Post

“Scenes unfold at a furious pace, yet contain such rich description that readers will do well to read slowly, savoring Joy’s prose...[These characters] are hopelessly conflicted, dripping with history and heartache, yet they cling to unique dreams about what life could look like if they carried a bit less weight.”—Associated Press

“Joy is a remarkably gifted storyteller. The life he fuels into his characters is so high-test that if they are not lying face down in a pool of blood by novel’s end, they keep rambling through the mind...How these characters deal with their demons gives redemption a new dimension.”—Charlotte Observer

"In just two novels, Edgar nominee Joy has established a unique niche in mystery fiction—writing about people who live off the grid in the county he calls home...His novels have been called rural noir or mountain noir, but that would be a simplistic description, because his novels dig deep into his characters’ psyche."—Mystery Scene Magazine

"Reeks of authenticity; this world is grisly and bleak...Joy’s second novel of ‘Appalachian noir’ may be even better than his Edgar-finalist first. He tells a hell of a story."—Shelf Awareness

"Appalachia provides the evocative setting for this tale of a brutal world filled with violence and drugs...Lyrical prose, realistic dialogue, and a story that illuminates the humanity of each character make this a standout.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Readers of Southern grit lit will enjoy Joy’s excellent sophomore outing, which is both dark and violent. Ron Rash aficionados will appreciate Joy’s strong sense of place in his vivid depiction of rural Appalachia.”—Library Journal (starred review)

“Joy neither condescends to his characters nor excuses them but simply depicts them amid the crushing poverty and natural beauty of their environment. With prose as lyrical as it is hard-edged, he captures men still pining for childhood and stunned to find themselves as grownups with blood on their hands. Joy is one to watch—and read.”—Booklist

"A dark, mesmerizing and addictive story that is akin to a waking nightmare. The story is what brings you to The Weight Of This World, but you will want to stay (and keep reading non-stop) because of Joy’s exquisite prose, particularly his rough-hewn dialogue, which is as authentic as it can possibly get."—BookReporter

"Often dark but always genuine, David Joy’s writing has led him to become one of the South’s most promising new authors."—The Marietta Daily Journal

"Joy kicks the doors wide open with The Weight Of This World, a rollicking, methamphetamine fueled drug-deal-gone-bad odyssey through the backwoods and back roads of Western North Carolina. It’s that line between what is right under the eyes of God and what is rightfully your—perhaps—one and only chance for something more." —Smoky Mountain News

"[Joy is] a commanding Southern writer...The novel is riddled with pain [but] is also textured with honesty and a craving to see the world more simply, more black and white, than the horrific reality that is so often presented...Lyrical, beautifully written yet grounded in a reality that is harsh and desperate.”—Watauga Democrat

"Joy powerfully depicts the cyclical nature of violence and despair that often curses large elements of Appalachia. But this story and heartache is familiar to all readers, and all who live under a fallen world that still groans out from the pain of its limitations and our very finite existence."—North State Journal

"Joy explores the darkness of an area that many people experience only through tourism, where characters ravaged by addiction, domestic violence, and an economy that refuses to rebound scramble to change their lives." —WNC Magazine

"Despite the coarseness of the material, listen to the poetry in Joy’s prose...He has cornered the 'Appalachian Noir' market." —Criminal Element

Author Praise for The Weight Of This World

"Not a single word is wasted in The Weight Of This World, a dark and violent literary page-turner that burns with the white hot intensity rarely found in fiction today. A perfectly executed novel. This is a book that will endure."—Donald Ray Pollock, author of The Heavenly Table

“David Joy’s The Weight Of This World is a tale of exquisite grit. A fearless writer, Joy is willing to go to all the dark places, but his voice and his heart serve as such strong beacons that we’ll follow him and take our chances. Those chances pay off in a story that is as tense and harrowing as it is achingly tender. Don’t miss this book.”—Megan Abbott, author of You Will Know Me

The Weight Of This World is a beautiful nightmare of lives battered by the forces of serendipity and inevitability. Of lives swirling down the drain in a haze of meth, abuse, blood, and, of all things, love.” —Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times-bestselling author of Where It Hurts

The Weight of This World is a savage and heartbreaking tragedy. David Joy writes with a deep wisdom, compassion, and respect for the psychic and physical wounds, the pain and anger and sadness that at once shackle his broken characters and hurl them toward choices and outcomes that linger with the reader long after the last page is read. Most impressive, Joy has written about the cost of loyalty based in childhood friendships that no longer exist in the adult world, and how sacrifices made out of the love for another can lead to the ruin of the self.”—Eric Rickstad, New York Times-bestselling author of Lie in Wait

Sneak Peeks, Foreign Rights, and Queries

Putnam recently sold the French rights for The Weight Of This World to Sonatine Editions. Sonatine has a wonderful history, including the translations of writers like Gillian Flynn, Larry McMurty, Meg Wolitzer, and Harry Crews. Joy is extremely excited about having his work represented in the French market.

To read the prologue of the new novel click here, or you can listen to David Joy read the prologue by clicking here.

Contact Joy's agent, Julia Kenny, of Dunow, Carlson & Lerner for all business and rights inquiries [mail (at) dclagency (dot) com], or Elena Hershey of G.P. Putnam's Sons for publicity [ehershey (at) penguinrandomhouse (dot) com].