Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Sugar Street

by Jonathan Dee

Publishing for the first time with Grove Atlantic, Pulitzer Prize finalist and celebrated author of seven novels Jonathan Dee delivers a daring, tense, ticking time bomb of a novel about an anonymous white man on the run from his own identity

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 224
  • Publication Date September 05, 2023
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6119-2
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $17.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 224
  • Publication Date September 13, 2022
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6000-3
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $26.00
  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Publication Date September 13, 2022
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6001-0
  • US List Price $26.00

“This propulsive and furious book is as fun to read as it is relentless and unsparing. Deranged and faltering America, Jonathan Dee has your number.” —Joshua Ferris, author of The Dinner Party

In Jonathan Dee’s elegant and explosive new novel, Sugar Street, an unnamed male narrator has hit the road. Rid of any possible identifiers, his possessions amount to $168,548 in cash stashed in an envelope under his car seat. Vigilantly avoiding security cameras, he drives until he hits a city where his past is unlikely to track him down, and finds a room to rent from a less-than-stable landlady whose need for money outweighs her desire to ask questions. He seems to have escaped his former self. But can he?

In a story that moves with swift dark humor and insight, Dee takes us through his narrator’s attempt to disavow his former life of privilege and enter a blameless new existence. Having opted out of his material possessions and human connections, the pillars of his new self — simplicity, kindness, above all invisibility — grow shakier as he butts up against the daily lives of his neighbors in their politically divided working-class city. With the suspense of a crime thriller and the grace of our best literary fiction, Dee unspools the details of our unlikely hero’s former life and his developing new one in a drumbeat roll up to a shocking final act.

Dee has been compared by the Wall Street Journal to authors such as Jonathan Franzen and Jennifer Egan for his expansive, contemporary, social novels; Sugar Street is a leaner, more personal, but still uncannily timely look at the volatile America of today. A risky, engrossing and surprisingly visceral story about a white man trying to escape his own troubling footprint and start his life over.

Tags Literary

Praise for Sugar Street

A New York Times Editor’s Choice
One of the
Washington Post’s 10 Noteworthy Books of September

“[Sugar Street’s narrator] is looking not merely to escape, he tells us, but to disappear completely — to murder his former self and live out his remaining days as someone else… It’s in the methodical unpacking of how a human being might effectively cease to exist without actually committing suicide that Sugar Street is at its most enthralling.”—New York Times Book Review

“Clean, raw, terse… perfectly paced… You sure won’t see the ending coming.”—Financial Times

“A fast, daring, completely original book, with one of the smartest and most surprising (yet perfect) endings in recent memory. Dee presents as an American Dostoevsky, offering strange, rich insights.”—George Saunders, Esquire

“An energetic character study of a white man determined to escape from his life… Dee’s work grapples intriguingly with the narrator’s liberal myopia. It stands as a showcase of Dee’s masterly prose.”—Publishers Weekly

“An unsettling, propulsive, sometimes acidly funny book.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A story of the desperation and ultimate impossibility of isolation, Dee’s narrative is a spider web of questions that won’t let readers go, questions like where does insanity begin and end? Readers of Dee’s earlier novels will not want to miss this page-turner.”—Library Journal, starred review

“With the skill of a virtuoso, Dee plays his character’s shifting voice over its full emotional range– cunning, desperate, cynical, resigned and more. At barely more than 200 pages, Sugar Street is a novel that easily can be consumed in a single sitting. But that brevity is deceptive, because it’s far from a simple book, and the feeling of unease it induces makes it an unsettling reading experience.”—Shelf Awareness

“Compelling and thrilling… Dee’s impressive versatility is on display once again in this scintillating and entertaining tale.”—Booklist

“I don’t know when I’ve been as jolted and delighted by the ending of a novel as I recently was by the ending of Sugar Street, a deft punch of a novel by Jonathan Dee, that had the phrase ‘an American Dostoevsky’ running around in my head. Dee creates a true page-turner out of simple materials and the result is a troubling and stimulating look at real American life – at the fix that materialism plus the information state has got us into. It’s also very funny.”—George Saunders

Praise for The Locals:

“A bold, vital, and view-expanding novel.”—George Saunders

“Amid the heat of today’s vicious political climate, The Locals is a smoke alarm. Listen up.”—Ron Charles, Washington Post

“Captivating.”—USA Today

“Addictive reading.”—Wall Street Journal

“No one gets off the moral hook in this propulsive, brilliantly observed study.”—People (Book of the Week)

“A steady, intelligent probing of family ties and sibling rivalry and themes that illuminate how we live now.”—Newsday

“In this moving study of how the housing bubble’s burst sets a small town’s citizens against each other, Jonathan Dee tells a must-read story for our age. Class struggle, tyranny, America’s disillusionment after 9/11 — The Locals creates a delicately drawn world impossible to forget.”—Mary Karr, New York Times bestselling author of The Liars’ Club

“There could not be a more timely novel than The Locals. It examines the American self and American selfishness from 9/11 until today. Jonathan Dee has given us a master class in empathy and compassion, a vital book.”—Nathan Hill, author of The Nix

“Blackly comic, effortlessly authoritative, The Locals is almost criminal in its perceptiveness about the screwed state of the American union. Jonathan Dee is a modern American master.”—Joseph O’Neill, author of Netherland and The Dog

Praise for The Privileges:

“Jonathan Dee is a modern American Master.”—Joseph O’Neill

“Transfixing… composed in Dee’s typically elegant style — gorgeous winding sentences.”—Los Angeles Times

“Full of elegance, vitality and complexity.”—New York Times Book Review

“Scintillating.”—Washington Post

“Admirably relentless.”—New Yorker

“A deliciously sophisticated engine of literary darkness.”—Jonathan Franzen

“Pitch perfect prose.”—Chicago Tribune

“Dee moves from scene to scene like a cinematographer, capturing the essence of a character in a telling glimpse.”—Financial Times

“Dee’s luminous prose never falters; he’s a master.”—Entertainment Weekly

“A deliciously sophisticated engine of literary darkness.“—The Guardian

“The novel goes down like a perfectly chilled glass of champagne — crisp, sparkling and delicious.”—Bookforum

The Privileges is verbally brilliant, intellectually astute, and intricately knowing. It is also very funny and a great, great pleasure to read. Jonathan Dee is a wonderful writer.”—Richard Ford

“Here is an incredibly readable, intelligent, incisive portrait of a particular kind of American family. Jonathan Dee takes us inside the world of what desire for wealth can do, and cannot do, for the self, the soul, and the family. The Privileges is told with admirable conciseness and yet with great breadth, and the reader is swept along, watching the complications of such desire unfold.”—Elizabeth Strout

“Jonathan Dee is at once an acerbic social critic, an elegant stylist, and a shrewd observer of the human comedy.”—Tom Perrotta

The Privileges is a pitch-perfect evocation of a particular stratum of New York society as well as a moving meditation on family and romantic love.” —Jay McInerney