Shy: A Novel (Hardcover)

Shy: A Novel By Max Porter Cover Image
On Our Shelves Now.
Green Apple Books on Clement
On hand as of May 28 7:19am
Books on the Park on 9th Avenue
On hand as of May 28 6:04am
(Fiction table)
Browser Books
On hand as of May 28 3:03am


A novel about guilt, rage, imagination, and boyhood, about being lost in the dark and learning you’re not alone

This is the story of a few strange hours in the life of a troubled teenage boy.

You mustn’t do that to yourself Shy. You mustn’t hurt yourself like that.

He is wandering into the night listening to the voices in his head: his teachers, his parents, the people he has hurt and the people who are trying to love him.

Got your special meds, nutcase?

He is escaping Last Chance, a home for “very disturbed young men,” and walking into the haunted space between his night terrors, his past, and the heavy question of his future.

The night is huge and it hurts.

In Shy, Max Porter extends the excavation of boyhood that began with Grief Is the Thing with Feathers and continued with Lanny. But here he asks: How does mischievous wonder and anarchic energy curdle into something more disturbing and violent? Shy is a bravura, lyric, music-besotted performance by one of the great writers of his generation.


About the Author

Max Porter is the author of Lanny, which was longlisted for the Booker Prize, Grief Is the Thing with Feathers, winner of the International Dylan Thomas Prize, and The Death of Francis Bacon. He lives in Bath with his family.

Praise For…

“[A] slender burst of Joycean prose. . . . There’s an arresting quality to the narrative’s frantic breaths of prose poetry and brief, fractured form. As an experiment in character seen from the inside out, [Shy] stands as a singular shoutout to lost boys everywhere.”Publishers Weekly

“Porter does a fine job of inhabiting the mind of a teenager in ways that may remind readers of David Mitchell’s novel Black Swan Green, with all the confusion and lack of resolution that come with the territory. . . . Porter gets his bumbling, anomic antihero down to a T.”Kirkus Reviews

“Max Porter is one of my favorite writers in the world. Why? Because he’s always asking the most important questions and then finding ways—through innovative structures and that inimitable voice—of answering those questions soulfully, with his full attention, in ways that make the world seem stranger and more dear (or more dear because stranger). He gives his readers, in other words, bursts of new vision.”—George Saunders

“Max Porter has a way of writing unlike anyone else. I loved Shy. I finished it elated and tearful, joyful and terrified, changed by the journey. It moved me and surprised me and that is what I look for in my favorite artists.”—PJ Harvey

“I kept thinking of Mrs. Dalloway. The comparison seems utterly inappropriate, and yet where else had I experienced a character lift of the page in this way, with such scattered force? And yet also with such choral beauty. It’s a prose-bomb, this book; brief and brilliant.”—Samantha Harvey

“With poetic sensibilities and a powerful prose style, Porter’s empathetic new novel captures well the angst of adolescence. A snapshot into the frenetic physical/mental/emotional turmoil (and no doubt trauma) of a single youth, Shy lands with the strength of a sucker punch—but resounds with a knowingness of the utter fragility behind the façade.”—Jeremy Garber, Powell’s Books

“Rattling out a fast snare rhythm above an undertow of bubbling, mournful sub-bass, Shy is full of soul, sweat, and spunk—a sad, wild, beautiful, brave, and funny journey through one struggling teenager’s brain.”—Will Ashon

“There is no other writer quite like Max, is there? His consistent ability to control the intersection of form and content, his precision, inventiveness, stylistic radiance, and heart. Shy, the boy, is wholly convincing. Brutally, beautifully so. The way he reveals Shy’s fragility without so much as a hint of sentimentality is masterful.”—Nathan Filer

Product Details
ISBN: 9781644452295
ISBN-10: 1644452294
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2023
Pages: 136
Language: English