In the audacious and lyrical debut novel All Joe Knight , longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, critically acclaimed writer Kevin Morris cements his place as a bold new voice in American literature.
1961. Orphaned before his first birthday, Joe Knight begins life as a blank slate. Taken in by an aunt in a blue-collar Philadelphia suburb, Joe finds a sense of belonging with a scrappy group of kids who come together on the basketball court and evolve into the Fallcrest High School teamthe kind of team that comes around once in a generation. All these kids want is to make it to the Palestra, Philadelphia’s cathedral of college basketball. Fast-forward thirty years: Joe is newly divorced with a young daughter. Ever since selling the ad firm he built from the ground up for millions, he’s been wiling away his time at a local business school and at strip clubs. Then he hears from Chris Scully, a former Fallcrest teammate who is now district attorney. The Justice Department is sniffing around the deal that made Joe richa deal he cut every member of the basketball team into, except for Scully. As the details about Joe’s possible transgressions are unreeled, he is forced to face the emptiness inside himself and a secret that has tormented him for decades.
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About the Author
Kevin Morris is the author of the acclaimed story collection White Man’s Problems and has written for the Wall Street Journal , Los Angeles Times , and Filmmaker magazine. He produced the highly regarded documentary Hands on a Hardbody and was a coproducer and Tony Award winner for The Book of Mormon.
Read an Excerpt
Truth is I’ve made enough money and cut off enough strings that I don’t have to do anything and I like it. Coming up the way I did, from where I did, I am not burdened by a sense of sympathy or the guilt of a free pass. Truth is the math is simple: I don’t care enough about changing the general state of things to do anything. If you tuck enough away and are just carrying yourself, there is really not much anyone can do to you, especially if you are not pushing into anyone else’s world. That’s the great thing about Americathe freedom to succeed and the freedom to be let alone once you do.
I think about kids once in a while, like who is the kid out there who is me, just forty years later. That passes unanswered. My own kid, she’ll be okay, I have her fixed up, and she doesn’t really want much from me anyway. Truth is there’s nothing about the status quo that on balance makes me want to do anything differently than live life in this nice-ass apartment, above what’s left of the greene country towne that will never be burnt, always wholesome. Truth is I have ridden a wave generated by a miracle wind-machine born in this brick city five lifetimes ago. All this freedom. Truth is I will probably die like this, another American man who got what he wanted.