cover of Hell of a Book by Jason Mott

This book opens with the unnamed narrator on a book tour for his new bestselling book, Hell of a Book. But along the way, the author is haunted by The Kid, an imaginary visitor who can “disappear” whenever he needs to, when the author is struggling. The novel also talks about Soot, the blackest black kid in a rural town who was picked on for being so dark. But the overarching themes are family, alcoholism, creativity, the Black Experience, and what it means to be famous. It’s a Hell of a Book that is, at times, funny, moving, and highly original. It definitely lives up to its National Book Award for 2021 honor.