Jason Mott resoundingly won the 2021 National Book Award for Fiction with his fourth novel, Hell of a Book. A satirical story of an unnamed writer and his conversations with the physical (or phantom) manifestation of a figment of his imagination, “The Kid”, the novel examined what it means to be Black in contemporary America. A labyrinthine work of fiction, it also grappled with subjects such as family love, discrimination in the workplace, and the follies that are prevalent in the world of publishing. It was a thought-provoking book brimming with insightful and evocative passages and scenes. In this list are some of the most impressionable lines from the book.
Do check out my complete review of this literary work by clicking here.
“It’s a hell of a book. You’ve got a gift for words. You’ve got the ability to say things that others can’t say. You can pull out the things that other people have all trapped up inside of them. And it’s clear you can do it. You hit me in my heart!”~ Jason Mott, Hell of a Book
“All you really want is for the people around you to be safe. And there’s nobody in this world that you want safety for more than your children. So when you ca’t give that to them, it swells up around your life. It swallows you up. You get afraid to let them leave the house because the monsters of the world might come along and swallow them up. And the thing is that, eventually, that’s exactly what happens. Every child like you in this country has been swallowed up by the monster since before they were even born. And every Black parent in the history of this country has tried to stop that monster from swallowing them up and has failed at it. And every day they live with that.”~ Jason Mott, Hell of a Book
“And let’s face it: in this world that we live in , the fact of the matter is that it’s hard to think of anyone as being real. Everyone is just an image on a screen somewhere. Even the people that we meet and come across in the flesh eventually get reduced to an image on a screen as we interact with them and their social media.”~ Jason Mott, Hell of a Book
“Anything worthwhile takes time. Maybe that’s what time is for: to give meaning to the things we do; to create a context in which we can linger in something until, finally, we have give it something invaluable, something that we can never get back: time. And once we’ve invested the most precious commodity that we will ever have, it suddenly has meaning and importance. So maybe time is just how we measure meaning. Maybe time is how we best measure love.”~ Jason Mott, Hell of a Book
“A voice? What voice? The voice of my people? Always? Every second of every day of my life? That’s what Black people are supposed to be? And the Black condition? What kind of condition is that? You mean as in an existing state of being? Or condition as in a state of health – like an illness?”