Ride Around Shining
By Chris Leslie-Hynan
(Harper, Hardcover, 9780062285072, 226pp.)
Publication Date: August 2014
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Ride Around Shining concerns the idle preoccupations, and later machinations, of a transplanted Portlander named Jess--a nobody from nowhere with a master's degree and a gig delivering takeout. He parlays the latter, along with a few lies, into a job as a chauffeur for an up-and-coming NBA small forward, a Trail Blazer named Calyph West, and his young wife, Antonia. Calyph is black, Antonia is white, and Jess becomes fascinated, innocuously at first, by all that they are that he is not. In striving to make himself indispensable to them, he causes Calyph to have a season-ending knee injury, then brings about the couple's estrangement, before positioning himself at last as their perverse savior.
In the tradition of Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley and Harold Pinter's The Servant--not to mention a certain Shakespeare play about a creepy white dude obsessed with a black dude--Ride Around Shining is a striking, propulsive debut that is by turns hilarious and discomfiting, moody and thrilling, and which asks unforgettable questions about the modern tensions of race and class in America.
Chris Leslie-Hynan's debut novel follows a white grad student who's a chauffeur to a black basketball player. It references The Great Gatsby often with fresh takes on race, manhood and meritocracy. More at NPR.org
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