The Red-Headed Pilgrim
* "Most Anticipated Books of 2023" -- LitHub
* "Page One" feature at Poets & Writers
* "12 Must-Read Books of January 2023" -- Chicago Review of Books
* "Must-Read Paperbacks to Kick Off 2023" -- Book Riot
* "30 Indie Books to Look Out for in 2023" --Independent Book Review
Provocative, poignant, and resoundingly hilarious, The Red-Headed Pilgrim is the tragicomic tale of an anxious red-head and his sordid pursuit of enlightenment and pleasure (not necessarily in that order).On a sunny day in a business park near Portland, Oregon, 42-year-old web developer Kevin Maloney is in the throes of an existential crisis that finds him shoeless in a field of Queen Anne's lace, reflecting on the tumultuous events that brought him to this moment. Growing up in the suburbs, young Kevin suffered "a psychological break that ripped me from my humdrum existence" mainlining high fructose corn syrup and episodes of The Golden Girls. Thus begins a journey of hard-earned insights and sexual awakening that takes Kevin from angst-ridden Beaverton to the beaches of San Diego, a frontier-themed roadside attraction in Helena, Montana, and a hermetic shack on an organic lettuce farm. Everything changes when Kevin falls in love with Wendy. After a chance tarot reading lands them on the frigid coast of Maine, their lives are unsettled by the birth of their daughter, Zoë, whose sudden presence is oftentimes terrifying, frequently disturbing, and yet--miraculously--always wondrous. The Red-Headed Pilgrim is an irresistible novel of misadventure and new beginnings, of wanderlust and bad decisions, of parenthood and divorce, and of the heartfelt truths we unearth when we least expect it.
READ AN EXCERPT:
"Hansel & Gretel" excerpted from The Red-Headed Pilgrim, on Fence.
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About the Author
For Independent Book Review, Joe Walters has named The Red-Headed Pilgrim by Kevin Maloney as one of "30 Indie Books to Look Out for in 2023"!
The Red-Headed Pilgrim is featured in Page One in Poets & Writers Magazine:
Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin, January/February 2023
"We're big admirers of the work of Kevin Maloney around these parts. His novel Cult of Loretta and his short fiction are particular favorites, and he's an engaging interviewee to boot. All of which means that we're thrilled about his forthcoming novel The Red-Headed Pilgrim, scheduled for publication by Two Dollar Radio in January. And we're happy to be premiering the trailer for said novel today--a short video that gives a fine sense of what to expect from Maloney's forthcoming work"
Book trailer for The Red-Headed Pilgrim, created by the author, Kevin Maloney, originally debuted by Vol. 1 Brooklyn:
"Halfway between the ranting of a beloved, inebriated uncle at the family holiday and the working diary of an emerging standup comic, The Red Headed Pilgrim is the story of Kevin Maloney, an outcast in a world of outcasts, telling us of his adventures from existentially-unnerved teenager to neurotic father. From the very beginning, starting with the book's charming and effective prologue, Maloney plays with the novel form, not so much breaking the fourth wall as challenging its very existence."
--D. W. White, 3: AM Magazine
"Me, Myself, and I: Autotruth and Autofiction in The Red Headed Pilgrim"
"In The Red-Headed Pilgrim, Maloney envisions a hilarious reality in which we must give up on our dreams to care for those we love and begrudgingly find meaning along the way."
--Daniel Marcantuono, Mid-American Review
(Read the full review of The Red-Headed Pilgrim)
"The Red-Headed Pilgrim illuminates the sometimes painful reality of what it means to search for meaning and beauty in this world. With quick wit and refreshing humor, Maloney has crafted a coming of age and adulthood story that exposes the gritty underside of idealization without losing all hope. This book was a wild, exuberant ride."
--Madeline Hausmann, Bookpeople (Austin, TX)
"With a mix of humor, melancholy, and pathos, Kevin Maloney's memorable novel The Red-Headed Pilgrim follows an office worker through his midlife crisis... Maloney's prose is expert in its formation. The book's sections are packed with witty references and sly digs at Kevin's lack of self-awareness. There are scenes that are downright heartbreaking, too. Indeed, in addition to Kevin's freewheeling adventures, the novel covers the consequences that adventuring can produce. Kevin enters into a far from ideal marriage, raises a child in that milieu, and works to manage elements of a life that can't be put back together... fun, adventure-filled novel."
--Jeff Fleischer, Foreword Reviews
"The author maintains a sharp wit and a knack for bringing zany flare to everyday details in his protagonist's awkward quest to build a life, and the author's willingness to get laughs at his narrator-doppelgänger's expense makes for a good use of the form. This funny and openhearted romp will have readers laughing and reflecting on their own misadventures and foibles."
--Publishers Weekly (Read the full review of The Red-Headed Pilgrim)
"There are pages in here where every.single.sentence is funny... While the humor is seeping through these easy-reading pages, it's also telling the story of a guy who makes decisions based on their own fumblings of how the world works... Maloney (the character) goes through quite a lot by the end of this book, and maybe it becomes hard to breathe as an adult, harder to cope. Maybe it becomes harder to do most things, but he's alive. So maybe there's hope for him (and me) yet."
--Joe Walters, Independent Book Review
(Read the full book review of The Red-Headed Pilgrim)
"Kevin is a teen-turning-adult in the 90s, but his journey is classic 1960s/70s: a highly intelligent soul searches for truth and beauty with the aid of various drugs, a deep appreciation of nature and simplicity, openness to spontaneous travel, and strong avoidance of 9-5 jobs. Kevin carelessly becomes a father and husband, and parenthood skyrockets his tendency toward denial. Divorce eventually forces him back home to a 9-5 job. A raucous trip!"
--Kay Wosewick, Boswell Book Company (Milwaukee, WI)
"What follows is a funny, sometimes sad, always openhearted tour of a man's coming of age... Looking back at young mistakes from middle-age is a time-honored tradition. Especially for those who've harbored artistic or utopian dreams (or delusions, as the case may be.) Maloney doesn't give us the wish-fulfillment ending by having Kevin quit his comfortable job and go back on the road to sound his barbaric yawp, but neither does he close the door on the possibility that some pie-in-the-sky hopes may still come true."
--Dmitry Samarov, Neutral Spaces
(Read the full book review of The Red-Headed Pilgrim)
"I devoured this book. What a beautiful ode to being a fucked up pathetic virgin. The Red-Headed Pilgrim is intimate and vulnerable and sexy in the most raw, uncomfortable, depressing ways. Kevin Maloney, through years of poor decisions and contradictory impulses, shows us what he seemed to always know: there is nothing more powerful than love."
--Chelsea Martin, author of Tell Me I'm an Artist
"The Red-Headed Pilgrim is a revelation that achieves starry dynamo-level energy from the jump. Maloney's prose is sharp and vivid, full of trippy precision, and his story is funny, wild, painful and wise. When the road of On the Road runs into shattered middle age, this book is waiting for you."
--Sam Lipsyte, author of Hark and The Ask
"A very funny and rollicking novel about one young man's often ill-fated quest for authenticity, originality, and beauty in modern times. Part of a generation raised in relative privilege by tv and breakfast cereal, he seeks more than the cog in the machine 9-5 life expected of him in search of unique experience, be it through farming, retail, travel, sex, drugs, rock and roll, all the way to marriage and fatherhood, often falling flat on his face. I devoured this book in one evening and enjoyed his misadventures thoroughly."
--Seth Tucker, Carmichael's Bookstore (Louisville, KY)
"The Red-Headed Pilgrim is a fascinating novel about what can happen when you pursue beauty above all else. Money, reality, and corporate jobs are the last thing on this narrator's mind--instead, he'll go wherever love takes him. Kevin Maloney's writing will break your heart in the best way, reminding us how difficult life can be when we follow the path towards meaning, understanding, and belonging."
--Chelsea Hodson, author of Tonight I'm Someone Else
"The Red-Headed Pilgrim is a funny, raw, eccentric novel that made me laugh out loud frequently as I tore through its pages. What I appreciated most about this bittersweet, darkly comic story, though, is how it is tinged so beautifully with hope in the end."
--Jami Attenberg, bestselling author of The Middlesteins and All Grown Up
"Just as life does over and over again to its hero, Kevin Maloney's The Red-Headed Pilgrim knocked me down, picked me up, tickled my ribs, knocked me down again, kicked sand in my face, made my bed in the dirt, and then rubbed my back. It's John Williams by way of Sam Lipsyte, and it's not to be missed."
--Greg Kornbluh, Downbound Books (Cincinnati, OH)
"Unfailingly affable, often hilarious, sometimes harrowing, The Red-Headed Pilgrim is a künstlerroman--a novel detailing a young person's development into an artist--that tells the tale of one tall, white, Boho-American male's staggering path to creative fulfillment. With many detours through the swamps of sex, drugs, farm work, and fatherhood along the way, this novel is filled with deceptively hard-won wisdom, all wrapped in a brightly-colored bow."
--Jon Raymond, author of Freebird
"Who doesn't love a good disaster story, told with humor and good grace? I really do recommend this book, The Red-Headed Pilgrim, by Kevin Maloney. The main character has hints of those old-school hapless heroes from the pages of Salinger or Brautigan, with a dash of modern day love-able losers like, say, Napoleon Dynamite. It's a drug and sex fueled Odyssey, with way less violence and death, and hardly any monsters, come to think of it. But I believe you'll enjoy it all the same."
--Arthur Bradford, author of Turtleface and Beyond
"Kevin Maloney has lovingly shoved the great American novel into a tank of LSD and it's crawled out with triumphant stars in its eyes. The Red-Headed Pilgrim is a beautifully melted comic work with a profound and eternal heart."
--Bud Smith, author of Teenager
"I'm not a grudge guy, but I have one long-standing gripe and it's with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, due to them stiffing me and my pal, Pizza Place, on a tip for a $600 order at the falafel shop in Omaha. Thing is, Kevin Maloney loves them. Namedrops them multiple times in this book. But it's such a goddamn gem of a novel that I can't help but get swept up in the story of Kevin Maloney: poet, Buddhist, 'shroom-tripper, aloof charmer. Makes me want to forgive all past trespasses. Hell, I might even cue up a RHCP song. That one about California."
--Gene Kwak, author of Go Home, Ricky!
Praise for Kevin Maloney:
"Devastatingly gorgeous and horrifying. Maloney writes lush, gritty, and compact vignettes that crescendo through bizarrely particular and hectic circumstances."
--Nathan Scott McNamara, Electric Literature, on Cult of Loretta
"There are novels of relationships gone sour, and then there's Kevin Maloney's Cult of Loretta, which finds its obsessive narrator locked in a deeply unhealthy, borderline-apocalyptic fixation with a woman who recurs throughout his life. It's at once rooted in the quotidian and deeply hallucinatory, a combination that pays off repeatedly."
--Tobias Carroll, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, on Cult of Loretta
"This is one funny--and sometimes disturbing--short novel. Cult of Loretta combines a likable sad-sack narrative with early '90s Portland grunge-drug culture and the pain of romantic hearts that can't be tamed or understood."
--Kevin Sampsell, Powell's Books Blog, on Cult of Loretta
Kevin Maloney is the author of Cult of Loretta and the forthcoming story collection Horse Girl Fever. At times a TJ Maxx associate, grocery clerk, outdoor school instructor, organic farmer, electrician, high school English teacher, and teddy bear salesman, he currently works as a web developer and writer. His short stories have appeared in Hobart, Barrelhouse, Green Mountains Review, and a number of other journals and anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife Aubrey.
Visit the Kevin Maloney author website.