Synopses & Reviews
Nominated for the 2014 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Fiction!
A Chicago Tribune Noteworthy Fiction Pick for 2013
"Allen's concise book's power lies within its understated irony, never more heavy-handed than a preachers admonition that 'a world without mans is a world without us all.' The plain narrative and relationship between boy and female man, rounded out with humor and occasional (sometimes literal) bite, promises to be a sleeper favorite among speculative audiences."
"Allen...throws caution to the wind with his bizarre but exquisitely composed fable that uses transhumanism as the prism to reflect on the nature of humanity...It's also intellectually curious and rather cutting in many of its conceptual and cultural assessments. It's a world where man is not only pet, but also meat, where religion, wars and empires are just as backward as they are in our own world, and where worlds collide with a temperamental angst that is as uncomfortable as it is alluring. Much like Pierre Boulle's 1963 novel Planet of the Apes, this novel is a sardonic parable on the nature and destiny of the species. A nimble fable whose bold narrative experiment is elevated by its near-biblical language and affectionate embrace of our inherent flaws."
"An imaginative and honest epic, weaving together biblical stories, fantasy, poetry, and fairy tales with a touch of realism...Allen asks us to question the assumptions, -isms, and contradictions of the modern world...Recalling the humanitarian concerns of Octavia Butler's Fledgling and the poetry of Ovid's Metamorphosis, this book will appeal to readers of literary fiction and fantasy."
"Imaginative, versatile, and daring Allen (Jesus Boy, 2010) raids the realms of myth and fairy tales in this topsy-turvy speculative fable....With canny improvisations on 'Jack and the Beanstalk,' the 'Epic of Gilgamesh,' and Alice in Wonderland, Allen sharpens our perceptions of class divides, racism, enslavement, and abrupt and devastating climate change to create a delectably adventurous, wily, funny, and wise cautionary parable."
"There's no doubt this is an original story and one you should read."
--Book Sp(l)ot Reviews
"From this point forward, readers consulting any reference work addressing the concept of tour de force will find there a citation of Preston L. Allen's Every Boy Should Have a Man. It is one thing to devise a fable dealing so adroitly with such concepts as racism, war, religion, and the very nature of civilization itself, but Preston's true triumph is the infusion of each page and every astonishing episode with palpable emotional resonance."
--Les Standiford, author of Desperate Sons
A riveting, poignant satire of societal ills with an added dose of fantasy, Every Boy Should Have a Man takes place in a post-human world where creatures called oafs keep humanlike "mans" as beloved pets. One day, a poor boy oaf brings home a man whom he hides under his bed in the hopes his parents won't find out.
With echoes of Margaret Atwood and Jack and the Beanstalk, Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels and Octavia Butler's Kindred, this is a picaresque journey into uncharted territory in earth, sky, and firmament.
Oafs and mans each gain insight and understanding into one another's worlds, and the worlds that touch theirsultimately showing that oafs and mans alike share a common "humanity." Filled with surprising twists and turns, the novel is in part a morality tale that takes on many of today's issues, including poverty, the environment, sexism, racism, war, and religion, all in lighthearted King James prose.
"In a future where primitive 'mans' are considered pets or food by the dominant, giant humanoid 'oafs,' one female man and her daughter become the cherished possessions, then friends, of a young oaf who learns to see them as more than just creatures. That friendship sets the daughter on a course to slavery, war, and traveling to a place where humans are not endangered and a time when individuals might find salvation, even if a world is lost. Allen's concise book's power lies within its understated irony, never more heavy-handed than a preacher's admonition that 'a world without mans is a world without us all.' The plain narrative and relationship between boy and female man, rounded out with humor and occasional (sometimes literal) bite, promises to be a sleeper favorite among speculative audiences. Agent: Eleanor Jackson, Markson Thoma. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Every Boy Should Have a Man is a wild animal, a melancholy human, a hybrid with fangs and tears, a book that cannot be classified and should never be classified--it is a book that I read until late into the night, and then talked about with my daughters, my dog, my friends, and myself. I won't ever look at the daughters, or the dog, or the world, in quite the same way."
--Susan Straight, author of Between Heaven and Here
"In this new novel, Preston L. Allen writes with an elegance and honesty that make his observations on 'humanity' -- our common flaws, our insistent dishonesty, our daily failings -- a psalm, a love song to imperfection, and yet holds onto a firm and astute insight. Beautiful, elegiac, and optimistic."
--Chris Abani, author of Graceland
"Every Boy Should Have a Man
presents an eye-opening and beautifully rendered post-apocalyptic parable."
--Colorado Springs Independent
"In Every Boy Should Have a Man
, Allen takes genre bending into unexplored territory. He has crafted a highly imaginative, unsettling work of social satire that...utilizes a speculative fable as a way to muse on race, slavery, civil rights and even climate change...Every Boy Should Have a Man
is James Baldwin meets Aldous Huxley, a twisted contortion of a weird fairy tale future gone wrong, all told from high atop the mountain in a sort of New Testament prose. As the mixologist of this mad and unpredictable genre tableau, Allen has navigated into wholly uncharted territory. He comments on everything from slave ownership to pet ownership to the way we treat our planet and ourselves. His novel is ambitious yet understated, cautionary while rarely politically preachy. Every Boy Should Have a Man
is that rare novel that is derived from such a disparate scope of literary influences that it waxes entirely original."
"Every Boy Should Have a Man presents an eye-opening and beautifully rendered post-apocalyptic parable."
--Colorado Springs Independent
Echoing Jonathan Swift, Preston L. Allen breaks new ground with a new novel that is part allegory, part fantasy.
About the Author
Preston L. Allen: Preston L. Allen is a recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship and a winner of the Sonja H. Stone Prize in Fiction for his collection of stories Churchboys and Other Sinners. His work has appeared in various literary anthologies and journals including Las Vegas Noir, Miami Noir, the Seattle Review, 1111, Drum Voices, and Black Renaissance Noire. His novels All or Nothing and Jesus Boy have received rave reviews from O, the Oprah Magazine, Library Journal, Feminist Review, and the New York Times. He teaches writing in South Florida.