John Vercher (Author)
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NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE A compelling and timely debut novel from an assured new voice: Three-Fifths is about a biracial black man, passing for white, who is forced to confront the lies of his past while facing the truth of his present when his best friend, just released from prison, involves him in a hate crime. Pittsburgh, 1995. The son of a black father he's never known, and a white mother he sometimes wishes he didn't, twenty-two year-old Bobby Saraceno has passed for white his entire life. Raised by his bigoted maternal grandfather, Bobby has hidden the truth about his identity from everyone, even his best friend and fellow comic-book geek, Aaron, who has just returned home from prison a newly radicalized white supremacist. Bobby's disparate worlds crash when, during the night of their reunion, Bobby witnesses Aaron mercilessly assault a young black man with a brick. Fearing for his safety and his freedom, Bobby must keep the secret of his mixed race from Aaron and conceal his unwitting involvement in the crime from the police. But Bobby's delicate house of cards crumbles when his father enters his life after more than twenty years, forcing his past to collide with his present. Three-Fifths is a story of secrets, identity, violence and obsession with a tragic conclusion that leaves all involved questioning the measure of a man, and was inspired by the author's own experiences with identity as a biracial man during his time as a student in Pittsburgh amidst the simmering racial tension produced by the L.A. Riots and the O.J. Simpson trial in the mid-nineties.

Product Details

$24.99  $22.99
Agora Books
Publish Date
September 10, 2019
5.7 X 0.9 X 8.4 inches | 0.96 pounds

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About the Author

John Vercher is a writer currently living in the Philadelphia area with his wife and two sons. He holds a Bachelor's in English from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA in Creative Writing from the Mountainview Master of Fine Arts program. His fiction has appeared on Akashic Books' Mondays are Murder and Fri-SciFi. and he is a contributing writer for Cognoscenti, the thoughts and opinions page of WBUR Boston. Two of his essays published there on race, identity, and parenting were picked up by NPR, and he has appeared on WBUR's Weekend Edition. His non-fiction has also appeared in Entropy Magazine. You can find him on his website and on Twitter at @jverch75.


Outstanding Praise for THREE-FIFTHS
Named one of The Best Books of the Year by The Chicago Tribune

"Vercher deftly explores identity and the ethics of accountability in this debut. Fans of realistic social issue narratives will be immersed in the moral dilemmas of this timely novel."--Library Journal (Starred Review)
"Vercher builds strong, multifaceted characters with bold strokes, using the tools of noir to present what is finally a full-blown tragedy."--Bill Ott, Booklist (Starred Review)
"One of the best books of the week."--New York Post
"A sad, swift tale bearing rueful observations about color and class as urgent now as 24 years ago."―Kirkus Reviews
"A brilliant page turner. John Vercher is a gifted new voice in the crime fiction genre; I can't wait to see what he does next."--Sujata Massey, author of THE WIDOWS OF MALABAR HILL
"John Vercher has achieved what few others have: he has swung open a door that others either knew was there and feared what was behind it, or acknowledged what was there and falsely nullified its deceptions and dangers. This is a crime story that masterfully, beautifully, ingeniously reveals the duplicity of racial psychology and the far-reaching violence it spawns on the American landscape."--Stephen Mack Jones, author of the AUGUST SNOW thriller series
"Feverishly entertaining. Resoundingly important. A book treading this kind of ground should not be able to move this fast. THREE-FIFTHS is an honest, fearless page-burner. Vercher is a writer to watch."--David Joy, author of THE LINE THAT HELD US
"In THREE-FIFTHS, John Vercher uses an explosive act of violence to tell a very harrowing, very relevant story about race, but also family and friendship and masculinity--and all the dangers that come with those things. Keep your eye on Vercher--any writer who comes out of the gate this strong is bound for great things."--Rob Hart, author of THE WAREHOUSE and the ASH MCKENNA crime series
"An incredibly timely narrative that packs a violent, heartbreaking punch. Vercher is now on the map."--Criminal Element
"If a book can be both difficult to read and impossible to put down, it's this book. You should read books that challenge you. This is such a book."--BookRiot
" Readers must not only read THREE-FIFTHS, they must share THREE-FIFTHS, and above all, we must talk about THREE-FIFTHS."--BOLO Books
"[A] searingly unforgettable story of secrets, identity, violence, and obsession. The book is short, but the effect on the reader will be long."--Neil Nyren, BookTrib
"A complex narrative with far-reaching societal calamities prevail in this riveting and gripping drama consumed by flaw and emotionally driven characters festering along the racial divide."--Dru's Book Musings