Sink: A Memoir

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Product Details
$28.00  $26.04
Grand Central Publishing
Publish Date
5.3 X 8.4 X 1.1 inches | 0.8 pounds

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About the Author
Joseph Earl Thomas is the author of Sink, a memoir, the novel God Bless You, Otis Spunkmeyer, and the story collection Leviathan Beach (Grand Central, 2025). His prose, poetry and criticism has been published in The Kenyon Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Dilettante Army, and The New York Times Book Review. Sinkwas longlisted for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame's MFA program in prose, he earned his PhD in English at The University of Pennsylvania and teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College. At The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, he also teaches courses in Black Studies, Poetics, Queer Theory, and Video Games.
" In his debut, Thomas announces his unusual approach to memoir in the first sentence: written in third person and including both real and imagined characters. . . It takes rare courage to tell a story this harsh and unredeemed."--Kirkus
"A crucial, incomparable act of creation and undefeated imagination."--Booklist
"Thomas really does accomplish the extraordinary...[He] has constructed a sort of alchemy on the page, but one born of experience, from skill and from a trust about what will end up on the other side...perhaps one of the biggest boons of Sink is its insistence that care is, above all, shared. It is everyone's prerogative. In this way, Thomas has earned a deep bow."--New York Times Book Review
"[A] distressing, inventive, and often sublime memoir."--Philadelphia Inquirer
"Joseph Earl Thomas has created a narrative that reads like a request and loving demand. Sink is a new kind of memoir, remixing the best parts of the genre. Though cohesive, the chapters in Sink are brilliant and brilliantly different. Thomas uses the act and politics of oration to move us within the silences of desire. It's the way Thomas narrativizes encounters that make this book different than any memoir I've read, but also, so more propellant than any memoir in recent years. It is criminal and absolutely delicious that Sink is a literary debut. It is stunning in its audacious goodness." --Kiese Laymon, award-winning author of Heavy
"Sink is a singular memoir; all blood and nerve and near-unbearable beauty. A brilliant and fucking fearless debut."--Carmen Maria Machado, award-winning author of In the Dream House
"Joseph Earl Thomas's Sink is a powerful, moving, and artful testament to the sustaining powers of the imagination. This compelling coming-of-age memoir is often brutal but also loving; it's at turns critical, empathic, funny; it's searching and revelatory the whole way through. Joey is a narrator for the ages, a boy whose unforgettable story dares expanding the possibilities of Black male identity."--Mitchell S. Jackson, award-winning author of Survival Math
"Joseph Earl Thomas has written an astonishing book. It's his debut, but he's already a master. Somehow Sink recreates the state of childhood--its immense cruelty and immense promise. This book is for Joey, coming of age in northeast Philly in the late '90s: his video games and secret drawings, his longing, loneliness, and anger, his snakes and pet alligator and what happened, the roaches spilling out of the cereal box, the brutal trap of masculinity, the violence of family and smell of drugs through the door, every moment that lacked hope, every sweetness of imagination. Books like this remind us why we need books so much. With such tenderness, fury, and wisdom, Sink dreams a world beyond this one, shows us how to live there."--Hilary Plum, author of Hole Studies
"I want this book for my younger self, to see the ideas and embodiments of Blackness and masculinity extended in these wonderful ways that allow space for nerdiness, nature, softness, and imagination with a rich interior life. This memoir has the power to keep shifting cultures and conversations into other worlds that are at first imagined, then made real. Sink is a visionary memoir."--Steven Dunn, author of Potted Meat
"Sink is a book to read slowly and savor. With devastating, gorgeously-wrought candor, Joseph Earl Thomas plumbs the depths of his childhood to understand how his family's ideas of masculinity and loneliness shaped him. Through it all, Thomas insists on a buoyant resilience, reminding us that with a tender-hearted fierceness, it is possible to stay afloat."
--Kat Chow, author of Seeing Ghosts
"[A] wrenching debut. . .Thomas's prose delivers an emotional gut punch. . .The result is a lyrical exploration of identity and survival."--Publishers Weekly
"Thomas is a skilled prose stylist, and Sink is loaded with arresting imagery and insights into the eerie space between claustrophobia and freedom unique to childhood."--Vulture
"For the reader, third-person narration creates a buffer to a brutal coming of age, and perhaps allows Thomas enough distance from his trauma to bravely expose the vulnerability and resilience of his youth."--Washington Post