"A smart, satirical novel about surviving the racial and cultural tensions ratcheted up in the elite Harvard hothouse. Farley has created a marvelously engaging and diverse set of characters, at the center of which is a nerdy Jamaican American with a philosophical bent and his cohort of oddballs struggling to win a spot on Harvard's brainy humor magazine, which provides a springboard for Farley to dive into the ethics of comedy, among other subjects."
--National Book Review, included in Monday's 5 Hot Books
"Around Harvard Square [is] C.J. Farley's fun novel about an exceptional Jamaican student-athlete facing class and race issues to get a spot on an elite Harvard University humor magazine."
--New York Daily News, included in CaribBeat column
"C.J. Farley'sAround Harvard Square is a witty and artful narrative of a society on the crossroads of change...A must read."
--The Gleaner (Jamaica)
Included inPublishers Weekly's Spring 2019 Children's Announcements
Included inRich in Color's Six Books to Kickstart April
"In his new novel,Around Harvard Square, Farley writes about a scandal strikingly similar to how Singer helped parents and coaches allegedly exploit athletic programs of schools like Yale, Georgetown, and USC."
--Fox 5 (New York)
"Around Harvard Square brings social commentary to college life, approaching the issues in a humorous attitude...Farley makes the injustices more tangible to a younger audience who may be future students at such institutions, and he shows how little progression has been made in the educational system regarding institutional racism."
"This coming-of-age novel, set in the '90s, follows Jamaican-American Tosh Livingston and his group of friends--Lao, Meera, and Zippy--on their quest to land coveted spots on the staff of theHarvard Harpoon, Harvard's humor magazine...The characters' clever dialogue challenges privileged and stereotypical thinking."
"In this throwback coming-of-age novel, an ensemble of freshmen on the margins struggle for self-definition amid the race and class complexities of Harvard...Through the whirlwind of their journey, they begin to question the purpose of jokes and the consequences of laughter--when it's not just about the joke, but also about who's making it and why (a significant, timely exploration as comedy culture today struggles to demarcate ethical boundaries)...The diverse ensemble of core characters defy and refuse reductive stereotypes...For those who would like to take a trip through the hallowed Harvard halls of the past, this goes out to you..."
"A well-timed novel about race, class, privilege and admissions in the Ivy League."
Tosh Livingston, superstar student-athlete from small-town USA, thinks he's made it big as a rising freshman at Harvard University. Not so fast! Once on campus, he's ensnared in a frenzied competition to win a spot on Harvard's legendary humor magazine, theHarpoon. Tosh soon finds that joining theHarpoon is a weird and surprisingly dangerous pursuit. He faces off against a secret society of super-rich kids, gets schooled by a philosophy professor who loves flunking everyone, and teams up with a genius student-cartoonist with an agenda of her own. Along the way, Tosh and his band of misfit freshman friends unearth long-buried mysteries about the Ivy League that will rock the Ivory Tower and change their lives forever...if they can survive the semester.
With its whip-smart humor and fast-paced narrative,Around Harvard Square will appeal to readers of all ages interested in exploring the complicated roles that race and class play in higher education.
C.J. Farley has worked as a senior editor for theWall Street Journal andTime magazine, and is the author of such novels asGame World,Kingston by Starlight, andMy Favorite War. Farley served as consulting producer on the Peabody-winning HBO documentaryMr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown and wrote the best-selling biographiesAaliyah: More Than a Woman andBefore the Legend: The Rise of Bob Marley. Farley, who was born in Kingston, Jamaica, is a graduate of Harvard and a former editor of theHarvard Lampoon. He is currently an executive editor at Audible.
"Farley explores privilege and race in a way that is not subtle but also not in your face...Farley not only explores the topics of racism, he also explores sexism as well. This story takes place in the 90s but it is so similar to what is currently going on today."
--Reader Then Blogger
"Wry, sly, and ferociously funny,Â Around Harvard SquareÂ is not just the satire Ivy League college life deserves, but the one it's been waiting for."
--Marlon James, Man Booker Prize–winning author ofÂ A Brief History of Seven Killings
"Brimming with humor and heart,Around Harvard Square is a delight."
--Andy Borowitz, creator of theNew Yorker's "The Borowitz Report"
"The first year of college can feel as dramatic as the first moon landing and somehow C.J. Farley also turns it into a painfully funny adventure.Around Harvard Square is a coming-of-age tale that blends J.D. Salinger's rueful tones with Paul Beatty's biting humor and becomes something entirely its own. I had so much fun running around with these kids, it felt like seeing old friends: laughing and crying and laughing some more."
--Victor LaValle, author ofThe Changeling
"A hysterical romp through one memorable freshman year. At Farley's Hahvahd, it's survival of the funniest, comedy means never having to say you're sorry, and growing up is hard to do. A provocative pleasure."
--Gish Jen, author ofTypical American
"In this sharp and imaginative satirical fantasy, C.J. Farley explores the complex realms of race and privilege at college with humor, insight, and edge."
--Walter Isaacson, author ofLeonardo da Vinci
"Finally a young brother with a powerful voice, not afraid to say it loud and proud.Â I welcome him!"
"Farley plays the nineties American Zeitgeist like a violin. But don't let the laughs deceive you. He hits some literary home runs about a whole bunch of issues: politics, race, and sex."
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