Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now

Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now

by Andre Perry

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Overview

"Beautiful, brilliant, bold... Tantamount to a slice from the Americana songbook." —Christopher John Stephens, PopMatters

With luminous insight and fervent prose, Andre Perry’s debut collection of personal essays, Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now, travels from Washington, DC, to Iowa City to Hong Kong in search of both individual and national identity. While displaying tenderness and a disarming honesty, Perry catalogs racial degradations committed on the campuses of elite universities and liberal bastions like San Francisco while coming of age in America.

The essays in Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now take the form of personal reflection, multiple choice questions, screenplays, and imagined talk-show conversations, while traversing the daily minefields of childhood schoolyards and Midwestern dive-bars. The impression of Perry’s personal journey is arresting and beguiling, while announcing the author’s arrival as a formidable American voice.

"A complete, deep, satisfying read... The variety of structures, formats, and rhythms Perry uses in Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now is extraordinary... These essays shine with broken humanity and announce the arrival of a new voice in contemporary nonfiction, but they do so with heaps of melancholia and frustration instead of answers. That Perry can hurt us and keep us asking for more is a testament to his talent as a storyteller." —Gabino Iglesias, NPR

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

*A Best Book of 2019Pop Matters
*A Most Anticipated Book of 2019
LitReactorThe A.V. Club, Big Other

"A complete, deep, satisfying read... The variety of structures, formats, and rhythms Perry uses in Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now is extraordinary... These essays shine with broken humanity and announce the arrival of a new voice in contemporary nonfiction, but they do so with heaps of melancholia and frustration instead of answers. That Perry can hurt us and keep us asking for more is a testament to his talent as a storyteller."
—Gabino Iglesias, NPR

"An interrogation of language, pop culture, society, and the self, Andre Perry’s essay collection Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now dissects uncomfortable truths and universalities... With his frank, empathetic tone and no-nonsense prose, Andre Perry is a fresh American voice that demands to be heard."
—Danielle Ballantyne, Foreword Reviews

"The full effect of Perry's Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now is tantamount to a slice from the Americana songbook. These essays are ballads, images from the self, isolated and marginalized in other countries and in his own land. These are songs of identity and sexuality and expectations the world has of African American males."
—Christopher John Stephens, Pop Matters

"The strong writing, creative genre use, and authentic voice add up to some high-impact essays... careful readers will take time to reflect and perhaps gain new awareness and understanding."
Library Journal, review by ­­Stefanie Hollmichel, Univ. of St. Thomas Law Lib., Minneapolis

"The interconnected essays that make up Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now by Andre Perry are affecting, timely, and make for a debut you can’t put down from a new and significant voice in nonfiction... with Perry as our guide, we are more than willing to follow him as he dispenses insight in each essay with an unclouded lens, and expressive, lyrical language that sings right off the page. An astounding debut."
—Nicholas John-Francis Claro, Arkansas International

"Perry approaches creative nonfiction with fresh eyes and a contemporary perspective... sharp, witty, and precise."
—Beth Mowbray, The Nerd Daily

"Perry’s lived experience and ability to make you look through a wider view makes these pieces successful."
—Joshua Bohnsack, New City

"Perry’s recollections will linger in our collective and personal consciences, serving as a call to consider our perceptions of blackness in American culture."
—William Blair, Little Village, Issue 273

"A debut collection of interrelated essays finds a young writer trying to navigate his way through identity and challenges of race, privilege, sexuality, and culture. Reflective and creative... [Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now is] a promising first book."
Kirkus

"[Andre Perry's] essays are most satisfying for their largely meandering nature, the abstention from a resolution. Most pieces end on quiet, melancholic notes, without a way out."
—Brandon Yu, San Francisco Chronicle, "Andre Perry’s essays grapple with San Francisco delusions"

"Perry’s debut collection of essays, Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now, charts a course into his past, offering a vision complete with imagined talk-show interviews, fragments of scripts and even multiple-choice questions."
—Drew Tewksbury, Los Angeles Times

"Andre Perry’s debut collection of personal essays, Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now, unearths the complex dynamics of varying social, racial, class, and political privileges buried in every apartment party and barroom concert and late-night debate of his twenties... Perry seamlessly weaves throughout his personal stories lush culture criticism and commentary."
—Aram Mrjoian, Chicago Review of Books

"Dispatching from the shallows of blackness, race, and tremendous desire, the expositions of Perry’s urgent debut essay collection are among some of the finest works of literature I’ve read all year."
—Paris Close, Paperback Paris

"In addition to his creative, thoughtful, and bold writing on race and culture, Perry shares love stories and music stories, most memorably in the title essay, which braids a stateside relationship's dissolution with a music-writing trip to Hong Kong. Especially because of the evocative way Perry writes about his past in charged scenes that often buzz with music, fans of Hanif Abdurraqib's and Jessica Hopper's recent books will want to take note."
—Annie Bostrom, Booklist

"I am so happy that I discovered Andre Perry and his moving essays. His ability to announce even the most egregious events with the beauty of his flowing narrative will stay with me for a long time. I recommend this book as a true gift of art. Enjoy your own discovery."
—Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore

"[Perry's] essays are meandering and misshapen, slippery and jagged, they wriggle and bite. But, read them for a bit, sit with them and get to know them, and you find they’re also gentle and wise."
—Rufus F., Ordinary Times

"Some of Us Are Hungry Now is like nothing I have ever experienced. The brilliance, transparency, and earnest exploration of race, class, politics, sexuality, and notions of home are collectively so nuanced that I am certain this book is like a comet—you might never see the likes of it again. With a critical gaze as sharp as James Baldwin's, and the divineness of a cinematic masterpiece as artistically complex and boundless as Moonlight, Andre Perry knows what it means to pull weeping from the soul. To be his reader is not merely an honor but a necessity. This is a book to treasure and to uphold for its genre-bending prowess and reach into the depths of popular culture, as one of the great responses to the question, what are we? Listen to Perry, for his voice is alive now, and real in a time that we, in this America, need more than ever. In these daring pages—unafraid, even in the dark—a literary star lights the sky."
—Tameka Cage Conley, PhD

"The gift of Some Of Us Are Very Hungry Now is in its brilliant and lyrical meandering. Andre Perry is a generous writer—one who is unafraid of the vulnerability that exists in inviting readers into a world that questions place and belonging. This book is essential, for how it asks with no expectation of answer."
—Hanif Abdurraqib, author of They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, A Fortune for Your Disaster, Go Ahead in the Rain

"Andre Perry’s writing is utterly alive, scene-setting, visceral, candid and punk. Perry’s prose is transporting in this vivid experimental memoir, tackling gentrification, music, sexuality and the mutability of identity. Perry takes the reader along as he travels the world and untangles who he is from particular American racist mythologies. A remarkable debut."
—Jessica Hopper, author of Night Moves

"In this complex and compelling collection, Andre Perry holds his focus on all who seek to anonymize his sensitive and singular voice. His unwavering critical eye is attended by a kind of heartsick self-awareness; while he might pull a few punches from those who deserve it, he never spares himself."
—Amelia Gray, author of Isadora

"Please welcome Andre Perry and give him your attention. With an arsenal of honesty, outrage, and vulnerability, his essays are going to jolt you out of the dullness of whatever room you’re reading in and shove you into someplace new. It’ll feel uncomfortable, sometimes hilarious, heartbreaking often, and ultimately transcendent."
—John D'Agata, author of Halls of Fame, About a Mountain, and The Lifespan of a Fact

"Perry’s essay collection contains personal, deeply felt ruminations on identity, racism, and belonging."
—D.R. Baker, Book Riot '6 Great Books that Experiment with Text and Genre'

"Two Dollar Radio publishes outstanding literature, and this is a great book of essays that seems to present an awesome voice I'm not familiar with tackling a plethora of timely themes."
—Gabino Iglesias, LitReactor 'The Most Anticipated Books of 2019: The Second Half'

A "Most Anticipated Book of 2019"
—John Madera, Big Other

Kirkus Reviews

2019-08-28
A debut collection of interrelated essays finds a young writer trying to navigate his way through identity and challenges of race, privilege, sexuality, and culture.

Reflective and creative, Perry has been on a pilgrimage of self-discovery that has led him from prep school and Princeton out East to the freer-spirited bohemia of San Francisco, describing himself in 2003 as "25, black, and frequently straight." As the collection nears its end, he is "31, almost 32, and my future seemed empty." After moving to Iowa City for a graduate program in writing, he struggled with his identity and what he wanted amid "the engulfing whiteness of Iowa, a shroud that would surely overwhelm me." His educational pedigree conferred on him a sense of privilege, of "passage to live among various stratifications of the white world," which seemed to some to render his racial authenticity suspect. "You're not a real nigger," insisted one of his white classmates, though Perry recognizes that race is the categorical qualifier through which others perceive him and through which he perceives himself. He also recognizes that words can hurt and that he has used them to hurt. Chronologically arranged to mark the author's geographical, psychological, and cultural progression, the essays show that he writes engagingly, feels strongly, thinks obsessively about who he is and what he wants, and doesn't accomplish anything of lasting significance. He writes about a lot that goes nowhere: sex, relationships, bands, writing, and his graduate degree. Yet throughout his journey of self-discovery, he has been gathering material, experiences that he can mine in writing. The final section features three brief letters addressed to "Emma," a woman not previously mentioned in the collection. The first suggests that she "might be some sort of light I could follow on my way out of the cave." At this point, it seems Perry has begun to find his way.

A promising first book.

Library Journal

11/01/2019

In this debut essay collection from Perry (cofounder Mission Creek Festival), subjects range from San Francisco to Iowa City to Hong Kong, with some pieces taking the form of a screenplay, a test with sample answers, and letters. Perry examines the hypocrisy of liberal cities such as San Francisco that proclaim their diversity yet show distinct signs of segregation by class, race, ethnicity, and sexuality. A musician himself, the author goes in search of the underground music scene, considers creativity and art, and attempts to make sense of white appropriation of black culture. Often the only person of color in the room, especially in Iowa City, Perry feels he can never blend in, as someone always makes a point to remind him of the color of his skin. During the period covered by these writings, Perry drinks excessively to escape. He also uses the "n" word across several pieces, exploring its meaning, who can and can't use it, and why. All of this is discomforting at times, but careful readers will take time to reflect and perhaps gain new awareness and understanding. VERDICT The strong writing, creative genre use, and authentic voice add up to some high-impact essays.—Stefanie Hollmichel, Univ. of St. Thomas Law Lib., Minneapolis

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781937512835
Publisher: Two Dollar Radio
Publication date: 11/12/2019
Pages: 172
Sales rank: 779,696
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 7.30(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

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