Goliath, by Tochi Onyebuchi

Second paragraph of third chapter:

Someone had spray-painted “xo” in radiation-tag on each of the houses. An emoticon for a kiss and a hug. Or shorthand for the ecstasy and oxycodone they guzzled every night. And all the while, one question threaded itself around Jonathan’s thoughts: Would David enjoy it here?

As my regular reader knows, I’ve been friendly with Tochi Onyebuchi since he was a Yale undergraduate, so I was very keen to get hold of his first novel for the adult market. It has already won the 2022 Connecticut Book Award for Fiction, and I suspect may do better in the months to come.

In America a few decades from now, white folks have mostly left the poisoned, plague-ridden land to live the high life in space, with people of colour left to scrabble around in the ruins. But there is a lot more to it than that enraging situation (not too different from where we are now); Onyebuchi plays with Biblical tropes, the dynamics of religion, of white folks unwittingly making things worse, sexuality and acceptance, all in rich prose which jumps along its own timeline without ever losing the run of itself. Recommended. You can get it here.

This was my top unread book by a non-white writer. Next on that pile is All the Names They Used for God, by Anjali Sachdeva.