A Lonely Note, by Kevin Stevens
A Lonely Note
I loved this book. Its tender, intelligent interrogation of male adolescent desperation is unflinching, as is its take on other big subjects: school bullying, what it’s like to be the only son of Iraqi Muslim migrants living and working in the US, religion, post-traumatic stress disorder, the contested limits of parental control (made all the more fractious by refugee fear – “what will the neighbours say?” amplified by a thousand), traditional Iraqi music, traditional Iraqi food (oh my, does it sound delicious), jazz and sex, with the sex – praise the Lord – so delicately portrayed that the young people retain their dignity. The story belts along with a smashing hostage-taking ending, with Tariq wondering why, like so many American scenes, it felt scripted. The author is an American who was educated here and now lives partly here and partly in Boston. This is his seventh novel. Hats off to the publisher, Little Island, for a handsomely produced tale about the difficulties and dangers of modern life. More, please.