The Ecstatic


Anthony James weighs 315 pounds, is possibly schizophrenic, and he's just been kicked out of college. He's rescued by his mother, sister, and grandmother, but they may not be altogether sane themselves.

Living in the basement of their home in Queens, New York, Anthony is armed with nothing but wicked sarcasm and a few well-cut suits. He intends to make horror movies but takes the jobs he can handle, cleaning homes and factories, and keeps crossing paths with
a Japanese political prisoner, a mysterious loan shark named Ishkabibble, and packs of feral dogs. When his invincible 13-year old sister enters yet another beauty pageant—this one for virgins—the combustible James family piles into their car and heads South for the competition. Will Anthony's family stick together or explode? And which, honestly, would be better?

With electrifying prose, LaValle ushers us into four troubled but very funny lives. The Ecstatic is a black comedy, in every sense. Harrowing and hilarious. The authentic portrayal of a mind at war with itself.

"A compassionate mystery of madness . . . gritty and funny, both smart-alecky and dark."
Los Angeles Times


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