• Signed by the Author
  • Hardcover
  • UK First Edition, First Printing
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Released August 1, 2019
ISBN 978-0708899410

£75.00

Currently out of Stock

Author of The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead, brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in 1960s Florida.


Praise for Pulitzer Prize-winning The Underground Railroad:
'My book of the year by some distance . . . luminous, furious, wildly inventive' Observer
'An engrossing and harrowing novel' Sunday Times
'Tells one of the most compelling stories I have ever read' Guardian
Whitehead is a superb storyteller . . . [he] brilliantly intertwines his allegory with history . . . writing at the peak of his game' Telegraph


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Elwood Curtis has taken the words of Dr Martin Luther King to heart: he is as good as anyone. Abandoned by his parents, brought up by his loving, strict and clearsighted grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But given the time and the place, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy his future, and so Elwood arrives at The Nickel Academy, which claims to provide 'physical, intellectual and moral training' which will equip its inmates to become 'honorable and honest men'.


In reality, the Nickel Academy is a chamber of horrors, where physical, emotional and sexual abuse is rife, where corrupt officials and tradesmen do a brisk trade in supplies intended for the school, and where any boy who resists is likely to disappear 'out back'. Stunned to find himself in this vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold on to Dr King's ringing assertion, 'Throw us in jail, and we will still love you.' But Elwood's fellow inmate and new friend Turner thinks Elwood is naive and worse; the world is crooked, and the only way to survive is to emulate the cruelty and cynicism of their oppressors.


The tension between Elwood's idealism and Turner's skepticism leads to a decision which will have decades-long repercussions.


Based on the history of a real reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped and destroyed the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative by a great American novelist whose work is essential to understanding the current reality of the United States.

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Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead was born in 1969, and was raised in Manhattan.

His first novel, The Intuitionist, concerned intrigue in the Department of Elevator Inspectors, and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway and a winner of the Quality Paperback Book Club's New Voices Award. His seventh novel, The Underground Railroad, was published in the summer of 2016. It won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Carnegie Medal for Fiction, and was a #1 New York Times Bestseller.

Colson Whitehead's reviews, essays, and fiction have appeared in a number of publications, such as the New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Harper's and Granta.

» See more books by Colson Whitehead

Professionally Packed

All of our books that a have dust wrapper are covered in clear protective, removable film and are packed professionally in bubble wrap and a box for shipping so that they reach you in perfect condition.