All of It host Alison Stewart continues her virtual book club series with Hell of a Book by New York Times bestselling author Jason Mott. An astounding work of fiction and winner of the 2021 National Book Award, Hell of a Book goes to the heart of racism, police violence, and the hidden costs exacted upon Black Americans and America as a whole.
In Jason Mott’s Hell of a Book, a Black author sets out on a cross-country publicity tour to promote his bestselling novel. That storyline drives Hell of a Book and is the scaffolding of something much larger and more urgent: Mott’s novel also tells the story of Soot, a young Black boy living in a rural town in the recent past, and The Kid, a possibly imaginary child who appears to the author on his tour.
As these characters’ stories build and converge, they astonish. For while this heartbreaking and magical book entertains and is at once about family, love of parents and children, art and money, it’s also about the nation’s reckoning with a tragic police shooting playing over and over again on the news. And with what it can mean to be Black in America.
Who has been killed? Who is The Kid? Will the author finish his book tour, and what kind of world will he leave behind? Unforgettably told, with characters who burn into your mind and an electrifying plot ideal for book club discussion, Hell of a Book is the novel Mott has been writing in his head for the last ten years. And in its final twists, it truly becomes its title.
And following our interview with Jason Mott, by request from the author himself, we’ll be joined by Brooklyn-based hip hop-bluegrass fusion band Gangstagrass, who will share a couple performances.
How it Works
- Get the book, reach out to a friend to join, and read along with Alison and Team All Of It
- Follow @allofitwnyc on Instagram
where you’ll find polls, questions, fun facts and pictures of other readers
- Watch the live video stream here on this page as Alison talks with the author
Viewers are encouraged to submit their questions for the guests on Twitter and Instagram.
All Of It teams up with the New York Public Library so that New Yorkers can access the book for free through the NYPL app.
Credit: Photo provided by guest.
Jason Mott has published three previous novels. His first novel, The Returned, was a New York Times bestseller and was turned into a TV series that ran for two seasons. He has BFA in fiction and an MFA in Poetry, both from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His poetry and fiction have appeared in various literary journals.
Credit: Photo by Melodie Yvonne
Gangstagrass combines great American traditions of bluegrass, hip-hop, and beyond to create a whole new musical genre that is more than the sum of its parts. As their latest album No Time For Enemies climbed to #1 on the Billboard bluegrass chart, Americana Highways magazine proclaimed Emmy-nominated Gangstagrass “America’s Band” because they take so much of what’s amazing about this country — ingenuity, creativity, freedom, unity across differences, people’s individual strength and struggles — and distill it into a message of common ground in the form of original songs that have everyone up & dancing!