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From New York City to Israel, combat zones to loading bays, pristine resort hotels to nicotine drenched rehab centers: Joshua Cohen’s latest novel, Moving Kings, examines the intricate and often frustrating approaches taken in those attempts to best perceive one’s sense of self. Though Yoav and Uri fought in the IDF for three years, their ties to Israel are waning. After moving to New York, the two begin to reestablish their lives free of outsider influence. They go to parties, drink too much, hit on girls, and occasionally find themselves pretending to be from somewhere other than their home. But the longer they try to escape their perceived or completely fabricated ties to a specific religion, race, nation, or family, the further they float away from one another. Cohen’s locomotive language, coupled with a spectacular eye for emotive detailing, results in a novel whose breadth and depth spans far beyond the initial page count. The settings, characters, and events of this novel bite like no other. It’s in the end that Cohen informs us that no single person, or place, or experience, is free from the world that surrounds it—our home is everywhere and nowhere.
— From Bennet's picks
A propulsive, incendiary novel about faith, race, class, and what it means to have a home, from Joshua Cohen, "a major American writer" (The New York Times) NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY VULTURE AND BOOKFORUM
One of the boldest voices of his generation, Joshua Cohen returns with Moving Kings,
a powerful and provocative novel that interweaves, in profoundly intimate terms, the housing crisis in America's poor black and Hispanic neighborhoods with the world's oldest conflict, in the Middle East.
The year is 2015, and twenty-one-year-olds Yoav and Uri, veterans of the last Gaza War, have just completed their compulsory military service in the Israel Defense Forces. In keeping with national tradition, they take a year off for rest, recovery, and travel. They come to New York City and begin working for Yoav's distant cousin David King--a proud American patriot, Republican, and Jew, and the recently divorced proprietor of King's Moving Inc., a heavyweight in the tri-state area's moving and storage industries. Yoav and Uri now must struggle to become reacquainted with civilian life, but it's not easy to move beyond their traumatic pasts when their days are spent kicking down doors as eviction-movers in the ungentrified corners of the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, throwing out delinquent tenants and seizing their possessions. And what starts off as a profitable if eerily familiar job--an "Occupation"--quickly turns violent when they encounter one homeowner seeking revenge. Praise for Moving Kings
"A Jewish Sopranos
. . . utterly engrossing, full of passionate sympathy . . . Cohen is an extraordinary prose stylist, surely one of the most prodigious at work in American fiction today."--James Wood, The New Yorker
"Brilliant . . . It feels master-planned to slowly unsettle your convictions, as the best novels do. . . . Cohen has a brain-on-fire intellect and a Balzac-grade enthusiasm for understanding varieties of experience."--Los Angeles Times
is a lit fuse, a force let loose, a creeping flame heading for demolition, and Cohen himself is a master of argot and wit."--Cynthia Ozick
"A dazzling and poignant book."--Rachel Kushner
"Cohen's writing is filled with sharp turns of phrase and elegant rhythms. . . . The denouement is as vengeful as any Old Testament plot twist. . . . Cohen has become one of America's top young novelists."--Time