From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant

By Alex Gilvarry
(Viking Books, Hardcover, 9780670023196, 302pp.)

Publication Date: January 5, 2012

List Price: $26.95*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the January 2012 Indie Next List
“This is a bold book. It is bold in its style, its thesis, and its story. While Gilvarry's narrative and characters are big and playful, the underlying dilemmas are deadly serious: What happens to those falsely accused or mistakenly detained when the remedies of the American criminal justice system are unavailable to them? How does one prove one's innocence when the system is set up to prove one's guilt? Gilvarry skillfully navigates the space between black comedy and farce without delivering a polemic and instead gives us a novel that is delightful without being light.”
-- Catherine Weller, Weller Book Works, Salt Lake City, UT


Description

Fashionistas and g-men clash in a mastermindful debut

Boyet Hernandez is a small man with a big American dream when he arrives in New York in 2002, fresh out of fashion school in the Philippines. But on the brink of fame and fortune, there comes instead a knock on the door in the middle of the night: the flamboyant ex-Catholic is swept to America’s most notorious prison, administered a Qur’an and locked away indefinitely to discover his link to a terrorist plot.

Now, in his six-by-eight-foot cell, Boy prepares for the tribunal of his life with this intimate confession. From borrowed mattress to converted toothpick factory loft, from custom suit commissions to high-end retail, we are immersed in a wonderland of soirees, runways, and hipster romance in twenty-first-century Gotham.  Boy is equally at home (if sometimes comically misinformed) invoking Dostoevsky and Diane von Furstenberg, the Marcos tyranny and Marc Jacobs, the vicissitudes of memory and the indignity of the walking sandwich board. But behind the scrim of his wit and chutzpah is his present nightmare of detainment in the sun-baked place he calls No Man’s Land. The more Boy’s faith in American justice is usurped by the Kafkaesque demands of his interrogator, the more ardently he clings to the chimerical hope and humanity of his adoptive country.

Funny, wise and beguiling, From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant gives us a tale so eerily evocative that it, and its hero, are poised to become an indelible part of the reader’s imagination and the literature of our strange times.

 




NPR
Sunday, Jan 15, 2012

Alex Gilvarry's dark first novel occupies a wacky continuum that begins at the center of haute couture, and ends in solitary confinement. The book is From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant and it looks at one man's trip into military detention. Host Rachel Martin talks with Gilvarry about his book. More at NPR.org

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