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4.0 

Chain Gang All Stars

By Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Chain Gang All Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

A NEW YORK TIMES TOP TEN BOOK OF THE YEAR • FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD IN FICTION • A READ WITH JENNA BOOK CLUB PICK • NATIONAL BESTSELLER • Two top women gladiators fight for their freedom within a depraved private prison system not so far-removed from America’s own in this explosive, hotly-anticipated debut novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Friday Black • LONGLISTED FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE

“This book is so good. Brutal subject matter, beautiful writing. This one is from the heart.” —Stephen King

A Best Book of the Year: The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, Elle, Esquire, Chicago Tribune, Lit Hub, Kirkus Reviews

“Like Orwell’s 1984 and Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Adjei-Brenyah’s book presents a dystopian vision so…illuminating that it should permanently shift our understanding of who we are and what we’re capable of doing.” —The Washington Post

She felt their eyes, all those executioners…

Loretta Thurwar and Hamara “Hurricane Staxxx” Stacker are the stars of the Chain-Gang All-Stars, the cornerstone of CAPE, or Criminal Action Penal Entertainment, a highly popular, highly controversial profit-raising program in America’s increasingly dominant private prison industry. It’s the return of the gladiators, and prisoners are com­peting for the ultimate prize: their freedom.
 
In CAPE, prisoners travel as Links in Chain-Gangs, competing in death matches before packed arenas with righteous protestors at the gates. Thur­war and Staxxx, both teammates and lovers, are the fan favorites. And if all goes well, Thurwar will be free in just a few matches, a fact she carries as heavily as her lethal hammer. As she prepares to leave her fellow Links, Thurwar considers how she might help preserve their humanity, in defiance of these so-called games. But CAPE’s corporate own­ers will stop at nothing to protect their status quo, and the obstacles they lay in Thurwar’s path have devastating consequences.
 
Moving from the Links in the field to the protestors, to the CAPE employees and beyond, Chain-Gang All-Stars is a kaleidoscopic, excoriating look at the American prison system’s unholy alli­ance of systemic racism, unchecked capitalism, and mass incarceration, and a clear-eyed reckoning with what freedom in this country really means from a “new and necessary American voice” (Tommy Orange, The New York Times Book Review).

777 Reviews

4.0
Surprised Face with Open Mouth“This was an amazing and thought provoking read! I love how historical information was sprinkled into the fiction of the story. I loved the characters and was rooting for them. The only thing I would change is the ending. I needed MORE! It just ended without any follow up. I would recommend this to anyone who believes in abolishing/changing the prison industrial complex. The whole book really brings to light all the problems with the American prison system and tells a very important story through love, violence and politics.”
Diverse charactersDescriptive writingSuspensefulDark settingDarkRacismViolence
“This book uses a lot of metacommentary, which was incredibly impactful on the world-building and giving the reader space to draw on the dystopian parallels in our own justice system/violent capitalism. This was an extremely thought-provoking read, though the writing style did take time for me to adapt to (I'm very much a monoperspective reader). However, I can't see Adjei-Brenyah successfully achieving what he created without the multi-perspective/third person approach. I highly recommend this novel!”
Diverse charactersOriginal writingHeartbreakingThought-provokingAbuseBigotryRacismTransphobiaViolence

About Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

NANA KWAME ADJEI-BRENYAH is the New York Times-bestselling author of Friday Black. His work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Esquire, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. He was a National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” honoree, the winner of the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and the Saroyan Prize, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award for Best First Book, along with many other honors. Raised in Spring Valley, New York, he now lives in the Bronx.

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