A great new novel comes up from the underground

To celebrate the publication of his novel Caanan’s Tongue (2005), John Wray floated a raft down the Mississippi, doing readings along the way. For his follow-up, Lowboy, all Wray needs is a MetroCard.

Lowboy’s hero, Will Heller, is a paranoid schizophrenic who’s convinced that it’s his destiny to save the world. And so, Will escapes from a mental hospital and heads underground, riding the New York subway in hopes of fulfilling that destiny. Most of the novel’s action takes place beneath the city streets, and its locomotive intensity is no accident: Wray (one of Granta’s “Best Young American Novelists”) wrote the whole book while riding the subway himself.

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