The Fugitivities


By: Jesse McCarthy
2021 | Hardcover
ISBN is 9781612198064 / 1612198066
Publisher: Melville House

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A singular and powerful debut novel about a young black American learning the difficulties of forming your own identity when society has already assigned you one. Like most recent college graduates, Jonah Winters is unsure of what’s next. A young black American raised in France and living in New York City, he tries on a couple of careers only to find that nothing feels right. And as Jonah struggles to envision his future, he feels pressured by his friends and family to put the struggles of his community before his search for self. But then a chance encounter with an ex-NBA player with his own regrets, inspires Jonah to take his life into his own hands. Deciding to leave the country entirely, he sets off for Brazil. And as he makes and breaks friendships on the way, reflects on his past relationships, and learns to rely on himself, Jonah slowly forms an understanding of self, community, and freedom that is rarely afforded to young black men.

About the Author:

Jesse McCarthy

From Jesse McCarthy: I am an assistant professor jointly appointed in the Department of English and the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. My research is concerned with the intersection between politics and aesthetics in African American literature, postwar or post-45 literary history, and Black Studies. My dissertation The Blue Period: Black Writing in the Early Cold War, 1945 – 1965 argues for a reinterpretation of black literary aesthetics in the early Cold War and for the value of a discrete periodization of that era. I am also interested in modernism, film, poetics and translation. While a graduate student at Princeton I founded a Digital Humanities project based on the Sylvia Beach archives held at Princeton’s Firestone Library called Mapping Expatriate Paris. My writing on culture, politics, and literature has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, Dissent, The New Republic and n+1. I also serve as an editor at The Point. To learn more about Jesse McCarthy, visit his website

A conversation with Dr. Jesse McCarthy

“McCarthy’s captivating debut tackles race and the American dream … With its rich, lyrically drawn atmosphere and incisive commentary … McCarthy’s tale maintains an authentic feel. Readers are in very good hands with this smart, empathetic, and soul-searching writer.” —Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

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