A stunning novel "with sentences like burning flags" (Annie Proulx) about a couple trying to rebuild their lives in their deteriorating coastal town.
Up all night, Marlene drives the highways and back roads near her home in hopes that some landmark will spark an image of her daughter, one untainted by years of grief. Her husband Les steams out to sea in his effort to cope. He is a commercial fisherman on a boat staffed up with desperate loners and shape-shifting friends obliterating their bodies in two-week shifts of crushing labor. The couple keep their pain hidden from each other, and most of their lives separate.
But as Les comes under threat on the trawler and Marlene's drives lead her into a tangled friendship with a local sex worker whom she becomes determined to protect, the couple is forced to acknowledge that they can no longer face their troubles alone.
A powerful descent into an ink-black whirlpool of obsession and isolation on the turbulent eastern seaboard, Walk the Darkness Down is an unflinching portrayal of love in the margins of twenty-first century America. It is a fierce, beautiful testimonial to a couple's struggle to survive both the past and the present, and to chart a new path into the future.
About the Author
Daniel Magariel is an author from Kansas City. One of the Boys, his first novel, a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice and Amazon Best Book of 2017, was translated into eight languages and shortlisted for the Lucien Barrière Prize. He has a BA from Columbia University, as well as an MFA from Syracuse University. He teaches at Columbia University. Magariel lives in Cape May, New Jersey.
“This book rages like a beautiful tempest. An undaunted chronicle of a family shipwrecked by an indescribable loss, Daniel Magariel's Walk the Darkness Down is a brutal, exquisite, and ultimately unforgettable novel.
” —Hernan Diaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of TRUST
"Two years ago, Les and Marlene lost their daughter . . . This melancholy novel delicately charts their paths back to each other, and maybe forward." —The New York Times Book Review
"Tight prose and winsome romance make this a modern Hemingway—grit at sea thrust forth into the era of strict fishing regulations and Narcan. Marlene and Les are gorgeous characters. Readers will fall in love." —Booklist
“A bracing story of grieving, coping, and reaching for the terms of recovery.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Magariel's prose is as quietly lovely and evocative as his subjects are bleak . . . Stark and tragic, Walk the Darkness Down offers a harrowing view of individual and familial suffering--with empathy and, ultimately, with hope . . . this novel of loss, grief, and strained bonds investigates human connections and disconnections.” —Shelf Awareness
“Beautifully wrought.” —Lit Hub
“Moody . . . atmospheric, this psychological drama gets the job done.” —Publishers Weekly
“The book's briny geography lies between Florida and Cape May-aboard a scallop-fishing vessel with a near-psychotic crew, in the kitchen of Marlene, derailed by an old and guilty grief, into the thoughts and violent actions of Les, her bedeviled husband. We catch our breath at the impulsive decisions of Josie, a young prostitute whom Marlene has befriended. Magariel is our Virgil, guiding us through this inferno with sentences like burning flags. The characters' chained lives chafe against each other. We work through the difficulties of tenderness, the luxury of hurtful words, the jagged psychologies of male bonding, loneliness, misunderstanding and isolation. We struggle with the characters to reclaim vanished affections, to face self-knowledge, and, finally, to try to repair the fragile cracked-glass splinters of love that lie underfoot. We long for the characters to make the right choices. This is one for readers who appreciate fine writing and can take punches from the shoulder.” —Annie Proulx, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of BARKSKINS and THE SHIPPING NEWS
“Daniel Magariel has written an astonishing novel about a marriage burdened by a soul-blistering tragedy (among other things). Wide and deep as it is, you enter with joy and leave it with regret. The prose is elegant and unforgettable, and the plot keeps you turning pages. Sleeper hit of the season, I predict. Buy this book!” —Mary Karr, author of The Liars' Club and Tropic of Squalor
“Alternatively gritty and tender, Daniel Magariel's Walk the Darkness Down leads us through the long dark night of grief toward the possibility of morning. We read on hungrily, immersed and haunted, into the world Magariel has so sharply conjured.” —Chanelle Benz, author of THE GONE DEAD
“Daniel Magariel's novel–an extraordinary pair of chamber pieces, one nautical, one terrestrial–is courageous and transfixing.” —Joseph O'Neill, author of NETHERLAND
“Feral and tender . . . a gorgeously tight tale swelling with wisdom about the self-destructive longing for paternal approval and the devastating consequences of clinging to rotten models of masculinity.” —New York Times Book Review on ONE OF THE BOYS
“A knockout debut. A shimmering, heartbreaking portrait of children fiercely devoted to a damaged parent and of the intense sibling bond that helps them through.” —People on ONE OF THE BOYS
“Striking . . . A novel of short, blunt, often powerful sentences . . . Musical and painterly.” —Boston Globe on ONE OF THE BOYS
“One of the most striking debut novels of the year.” —Rolling Stone on ONE OF THE BOYS
“Brilliant, urgent, darkly funny, heartbreaking-a tour de force.” —George Saunders on ONE OF THE BOYS