Those We Thought We Knew (Hardcover)
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From award-winning writer David Joy comes a searing new novel about the cracks that form in a small North Carolina community and the evils that unfurl from its center.
Toya Gardner, a young Black artist from Atlanta, has returned to her ancestral home in the North Carolina mountains to trace her family history and complete her graduate thesis. But when she encounters a still-standing Confederate monument in the heart of town, she sets her sights on something bigger.
Meanwhile, local deputies find a man sleeping in the back of a station wagon and believe him to be nothing more than some slack-jawed drifter. Yet a search of the man’s vehicle reveals that he is a high-ranking member of the Klan, and the uncovering of a notebook filled with local names threatens to turn the mountain on end.
After two horrific crimes split the county apart, every soul must wrestle with deep and unspoken secrets that stretch back for generations. Those We Thought We Knew is an urgent unraveling of the dark underbelly of a community. Richly drawn and bracingly honest, it asks what happens when the people you’ve always known turn out to be monsters, what do you do when everything you ever believed crumbles away?
About the Author
David Joy is the author of When These Mountains Burn (winner of the 2020 Dashiell Hammett Award), The Line That Held Us (winner of the 2018 SIBA Book Prize), The Weight of This World, and Where All Light Tends to Go (Edgar finalist for Best First Novel). Joy lives in Tuckasegee, North Carolina.
"In every line of this outstanding novel, you feel David Joy’s deep connection to the mountains he comes from and the people who live there. With his faultless ear for dialogue and exceptional sense of place, he has crafted a beautiful literary crime thriller about belonging and betrayal in rural America." –Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train and A Slow Fire Burning
“In Those We Thought We Knew, community is a double-edged sword: a source of comfort, memory, and belonging, but also treacherous terrain where the roots of intolerance and old ways of thinking run deep. Joy takes us into the hearts and minds of characters of all stripes—bad actors and do-gooders, cynics and true-believers—in this revealing portrait of modern America. Not many writers could write so unflinchingly or so honestly. Those We Thought We Knew is a book for our time: poignant, fearless, and best of all, true.” –Natalie Baszile, author of Queen Sugar and We Are Each Other’s Harvest
“Those We Thought We Knew is a dark cyclone in search of truth. Spinning the gritty complexities and colors of human nature with beautiful, immersive descriptions of the land, Joy writes both holiness and irreverence with the same weight and care. A writer to be trusted, he is one of our best.” –Leesa Cross-Smith, author of Half-Blown Rose
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