Martin Pousson Black Sheep Boy

Black Sheep Boy

2017 / 2018

PEN Center USA Fiction Award Winner

National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Winner

Simpson Family Literary Prize Finalist

Los Angeles Times Literary Pick

NPR: The Reading Life Featured Book

The Millions Best Summer Horror Selection

Book Riot Must-Read Indie Press Book

On Top Down Under Book of the Year Finalist

Best Gay Fiction Selection

Best Gay Speculative Fiction Selection

"Black Sheep Boy speaks to all outsiders and misfits aching for a place of their own, a place free of judgment, persecutions, and violence. In prose reminiscent of Dorothy Allison, John Rechy, and William Faulkner, Martin Pousson’s novel-in-stories charting the life and experiences of a young gay man is told in a voice as elegant as it is searing. Pousson’s style is unlike any in contemporary American letters; each sentence soars off the page, each character so fully realized readers will hear them laugh, cry, and curse long after the final paragraph is sung. An essential and necessary contribution to the canon of LGBTQ literature, Black Sheep Boy is a daring achievement penned by a courageous and graceful writer whose talent knows no limit."

~PEN Center USA Fiction Award Judges Chris Abani, Alex Espinoza, Jervey Tervalon

"Martin Pousson writes with such lush honesty, such charged intimacy, about the real and the unreal, about danger and sex and home. I don't know quite how to describe the hypnotic power of Black Sheep Boy, except to say that the book is somehow a spell and a mercy, both."

~Justin Torres, author of We the Animals

"Black Sheep Boy is beautifully crafted and Pousson is immensely talented. When you reach the end of a sentence, you realize that he blew your mind five words ago. He wastes not a single word. He dances on the page wearing tap shoes, their soles rolled in black ink. Gorgeous." 

~ Natashia Déon, author of Grace

“Beautifully impressionistic, and also raw, open, and vulnerable. Pousson’s bayou is such a frightening and vibrant place, generous and punishing, and the narrator’s perspective pulls us in, and brings the reader close.”

~ Aimee Bender, author of The Color Master

“Electrical, convulsive, hallucinatory, elemental…a book to give you fevers, chills, and visions.”

~ Ben Loory, author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day

“Lyrical, propulsive, and hauntingly vivid, Martin Pousson's Black Sheep Boy hums with bayou life. With magic and myth and that old-time religion, Pousson's novel-in-stories plumbs the painful depths of alienation and rises again singing, dancing with defiant exuberance.”

~ Matthew Griffin, author of Hide

“If you like coming-of-age stories about freaky and fabulous southern sissies (and who doesn't?) Black Sheep Boy is a must read. Set in the bayou land of Louisiana, this fabulist tale kept me entranced. Queer lit at its finest!”

~ Justin Vivian Bond, author of Tango: My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels

“Pick up and read this fucking book. It's intensely wild.”

~ Jake Shears, Lead Singer of Scissor Sisters

“An unforgettable novel-in-stories about growing up gay in French Acadiana, so vivid and almost fairy tale-like, drawing on folklore from the region, and yet so brutally realistic. Brilliant. I loved this book.”

~ Susan Larson, NPR: The Reading Life

“This is the kind of book you don't have to be LGBT-plus to enjoy; you just need to pick up a copy and start reading.”

~ Los Angeles Times

“While he artfully lifts the veil on a world outside of most people's experience, he also offers an outstretched hand of solidarity to every black sheep boy and girl who's lucky enough to pick up a copy of his book.”

~ Lambda Literary

Black Sheep Boy frames its fear through tragic misunderstanding, violence, and sexual confusion, and it illuminates the terrible aching divide of understanding between family members. Highly recommended.”

 ~ The Millions

“An unforgettable novel…brutally honest and hypnotic…surreal and poetic…an entertaining and dazzling read, and a heartfelt ode to ‘the odd ducks, strange birds, and queer fish’ among us.”

~ Zyzzyva

“Seductive and thrilling… depths of passion and longing…this book really does cast a spell on you, and the effect is wild and wondrous. Magical realism has moved north to Acadiana, and the spell takes. This is a novel of masks, hidden shames that explode into ecstasy.”

~ The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide

“Raw and unflinching, reminiscent of Genet’s The Thief’s JournalBlack Sheep Boy takes LGBTQ lit in a fresh and exciting direction. Pousson has created something exhilarating: a novel-in-stories that shows religion, class, and race as inextricably entwined to the challenges of coming of age as a gay man in the South.”

~ Arizona Daily Sun

“Like a priceless gem, Black Sheep Boy is multi-faceted. The writing remains effortlessly lyrical, mesmerizingly inviting, and non-judgmental. The ending is perfection and left up to the reader. One mighty fine piece of writing, one powerful piece of queer literature. Do yourself a favor, go grab this book."

On Top Down Under Book Reviews

“What I loved: the beautiful prose, the Louisiana setting, and a story that wasn’t a romance. I appreciated the almost tall tale quality to it all and the rich history and cultural flavor. Because it isn’t tied with direct references to a particular era, it has a timeless quality to it. A phenomenally well-written book.”

~ Inked Rainbow Reads

“Full of characters whose minds and bodies stretch away from the present and into mysticism and desire, aching for transformation…a glimpse of the Other that I know, that I have lived, and I read the final page dually devastated and freed.”

~ Gertrude

“A master class in storytelling, a primer on what it means to be mixed-race, to be different, to be powerless… Black Sheep Boy speaks to the universal truths of being in a world not designed for you and others like you. It is simply brilliant and worth a galaxy of stars.”

~ GGR Review

Meet Boo, a wild-hearted boy from the bayou land of Louisiana. Misfit, outcast, loner. Call him anything but a victim. Sissy, fairy, Jenny Woman. Son of a mixed-race Holy Ghost mother and a Cajun French phantom father. In a series of tough and tender stories, he encounters gender outlaws, drag queen renegades, and a rogues gallery of sex-starved priests, perverted teachers, and murderous bar owners. To escape his haunted history, Boo must shed his old skin and make a new self. As he does, his story rises from dark and murk, from moss and mud, to reach a new light and a new brand of fairy tale. Cajun legends, queer fantasies, and universal myths converge into a powerful work of counter-realism. Black Sheep Boy is a song of passion and a novel of defiance.