Black Cat
Black Cat
Black Cat

Straight White Male

by John Niven

A “high-octane novel of excess” featuring “the most lovable rogue since John Self in Money” (Ian Rankin), Straight White Male is a hilarious new novel from one of Britain’s sharpest writers.

  • Imprint Black Cat
  • Page Count 384
  • Publication Date October 07, 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2303-9
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $15.00

About The Book

Irish novelist Kennedy Marr is a first-rate bad boy. When he is not earning a fortune as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after script writers, he is drinking, insulting, and philandering his way through L.A., “successfully debunking the myth that men are unable to multitask.” He is loved by many women but loathed by even more, including ex-wives on both sides of the pond.

Kennedy’s appetite for trouble is insatiable, but when he discovers that he owes $1.4 million in back taxes, it seems his outrageous lifestyle may not be as sustainable as he thought. Financial salvation arrives in the form of a prestigious literary award; however, the terms of the prize force Kennedy to spend a year teaching creative writing at sleepy Deeping University, in the town where his ex-wife and teenage daughter now reside. He returns to England with a paper trail of tabloid headlines and scorned starlets hot on his bespoke heels. However, as he acclimatizes to the quaint campus, Kennedy is forced to reconsider his laddish lifestyle. Incredible as it may seem, there might actually be a father and a teacher lurking inside this “preening, narcissistic, priapic sociopath.”

Straight White Male is a wildly funny and moving tale of transatlantic misadventure. It’s an uninhibited and heartfelt look at the midlife crisis.


Straight White Male is a heartbreaker, a poignant literary treatise on the all-too-mortal battle between human individual desire and social need, disguised as a high-octane novel of laddish excess.” —Irvine Welsh

“The most loveable rogue since John Self in Money. Funny as hell and moving.” —Ian Rankin

“Deliciously hyperbolic, obscenely funny, unexpectedly affecting. Niven never, ever pulls a punch.” —Rupert Thomson

“This is a writer who could wring laughs out of pretty well anything . . . hilarious.” —Times (UK)

“A sharp and knowing satire . . . thoroughly enjoyable.” —Guardian (UK)

Straight White Male is caustic and poignant, yet consistently, addictively funny . . . clever and joyous.” —Independent (UK)


With pub fighting, as in all the creative arts, it was crucial to avoid cliché. You had to come at it from strange angles and oblique perspectives. Your opening had to be strong and unexpected. Then, scene by scene, you had to make your point quickly and get the fuck out of there. In this last respect pub fighting was very much like the bitch Kennedy had betrayed the novel for. It was like screenwriting, where economy was king.

They went to Le Orpheus in Beverly Hills, where Kennedy—a known tipper of preposterous magnitude—was greeted by the maître d’ in very much the manner of a priest welcoming Christ himself to a Sunday-morning service. And the comparison was apt—for lunch was the closest thing Kennedy Marr had to church: a sacred institution, with its own arcane rituals that had to be observed.

He wandered through to his bedroom where, thankfully, all signs of Saturday night’s atrocity had been erased by the cleaners. Women—they lived on their own and you had, what? Full fridges. Cleanliness. Paid bills. Fresh clothes neatly folded and stacked in drawers. Men? Unless you did what Kennedy did and threw money and staff at the situation you had chaos. Squalor. The rafts of T-shirts and pyjama bottoms stuffed down the back of the bed, gradually transitioning from bed wear to spunk rags to science experiments. Final demands and a radioactive carton of Chinese food sharing shelf space with a jar of mustard. If only, he reflected, and not for the first time, he could hire cleaners for his mind. That’s what his mind needed. Staff.