ePUB T. Geronimo Johnson î î Hold It Til It Hurts PDF/EPUB á It Til It Kindle

When Achilles Conroy and his brother Troy return from a tour of duty in Afghanistan their white mother presents them with the key to their past envelopes containing details about their respective birth parents After Troy disappears Achilles—always his brother’s keeper—embarks on a harrowing journey in search of Troy an experience that will change him foreverHeartbreaking intimate and at times disturbing Hold It ’Til It Hurts is a modern day odyssey through war adventure disaster and love and explores how people who do not define themselves by race make sense of a world that does


10 thoughts on “Hold It Til It Hurts

  1. says:

    This is not the kind of book that would normally make it onto my radar but when Sherman Alexie chose it for the WSJ Bookclub saying I don’t think a book by another man has ever made me cry as much I thought I'd check it out I'm glad I didBriefly Achilles and Troy are the African American adopted sons of a white couple from Maryland Their father died while they were in transit travelling home from their second tour in Afghanistan Goddamnistan so they are surprised to arrive home and find the funeral about to take place He had always wanted the boys to have the opportunity to trace their birth parents so their mother acts upon those wishes giving each of the brothers a blue envelope after the funeral Achilles adamantly rejects his while Troy is a bit open to the idea The next morning Troy has disappeared After a few days Achilles goes in search of his brother and that is the backbone of the story; Achilles' odyssey in search of his brother What the story is about is race and identity racism is the bus that runs us over every day and while maybe only the racists are driving every white is along for the rideThere's some pretty powerful stuff in there from descriptions of what went on in Afghanistan to what it was like in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina The little red duplex was tagged with the spray paint circle and cross and the number three indicating that three bodies were found Bose was red in the face stuttering trying to explain the feeling of witnessing destruction on a scale usually reserved for wartime you know damn well if this were Malibu or Key West or Galveston they would have evacuated these people in a heartbeat It's some dark shit when your country lets you sit out on a highway in hundred degree weather and die just because you're black and poorBut overall it didn't have the emotional impact for me that it did for Sherman Alexie At least not until the very end when I wept through the final chapter or two I know this is because I am not male or brown and I don't have any direct experience or connections with war or the military so I'm not discounting it at all What I do know about is being part of a family so that's the bit at the end that tugged on my emotionsSometimes I felt a bit lost in the story and strangely this is one of the things that I admired about the book Achilles is a different kind of 'unreliable narrator' He lies to and hides the truth from the other characters but not from us the readers Still I sometimes found it difficult to decide what was true and what was not Ines the love interest accuses him Your grieving voice sounds exactly like your lying voice She's onto him by this pointOn top of that there was the author's tendency to go a bit too far with the 'show don't tell' rule A good example was where someone has died and then we are at the funeral but hang on this funeral is for someone else altogether And it took me paaaaaages to work this outOverall I liked it I liked the writing and I liked the way the author let me take the story the way I wanted to


  2. says:

    What a journey I loved this book T Geronimo Johnson creates character complexity like a painter by using strokes of backstory flashback and subtle yet impactful statements that provide remarkable amounts of detail After reading the first chapter I was amazed about how much I knew about the characters I didn't know then how deep Johnson would take me He delves into the manifold ways of defining a family the horrors of war the impact on those who fight them and those who stay home and the ongoing class and racial conflicts happening in America Johnson clearly enjoys surprising his readers and uses twists to keep them engaged and the plot flowing He employs the occasional glint of humour to keep the dark topics that he explores sufficiently lit Like Michael Ondaatje Johnson is a master of creating profound phrasing He does this however without Ondaatje's pretentiousness I cannot recommend this book enough I travel to work every day on a Parisian commuter train This book made me miss my stop and by the time I noticed and got back on track I was half an hour late for work I sheepishly crept into the office with a smile


  3. says:

    I published this review for the San Francisco Chronicle There's something primeval and powerful in stories about brotherhood that relationship fraught with competition and accountability and a caring that begins before we know how to protect our hearts That is why some of the earliest literary tragedies focus on brothers In the Bible Cain succumbs to his jealous rage toward Abel knowing all the while in his heart that he is indeed his brother's keeper; in the Mahabharata Arjuna kills Karna his lifelong rival only to learn that he has destroyed his eldest brother abandoned at birth by their motherWith a true writer's instinct T Geronimo Johnson knows this and his superb first novel Hold It 'Til It Hurts forms itself around a troubled brotherly bond the way a pearl forms around an irritant that is impossible to cast outThe novel pulls us into itself with dizzying disconcerting rapidity Within a few pages we learn that the two main characters Achilles from whose point of view the story is told and Troy the mysterious one whose motives we can only guess at are brothers who have just returned from a tour of duty in Goddamnistan to be met with their father's funeral They are black; their adoptive parents are whiteAfter the funeral their mother presents them with sealed envelopes containing information about their birth parents Achilles leaves his unopened; Troy takes his and disappears without a word To comfort his distressed mother and because he has always felt responsible for his younger brother Achilles sets off on a uest to find Troy and he hopes coax him backJohnson has a keen eye for the telling gesture Here is Achilles imagining the moment when he finally finds Troy His embrace as always is suffocating and before tears can rise to Achilles's eyes Troy takes advantage of his height by digging his chin into Achilles's shoulder In retaliation Achilles digs his fingers into Troy's biceps and for a moment they grapple as they have since childhood He feels the rush that comes from being shot at and missedAchilles' uest the journey of the antihero in present day America takes him to New Orleans strikingly described by Johnson who is a native of the city and now lives in Berkeley just before Hurricane Katrina devastates it But it is also a journey into Achilles' past forcing him to face ghosts he had avoided until now It is a journey into learning to trust again It leads him into a relationship with Ines the voluptuous daughter of a privileged New Orleans family who is light skinned enough to pass for white and adamant that everyone should know she is blackThis relationship becomes an occasion for discourses on the nature of interracial relationships and whether it is possible to transcend the color divisions that society stamps on our psyches Johnson is better at delineating men than analyzing women and Ines' voice takes on at times a stridencyWhen Achilles tries to explain how during the war he had successfully trusted his life to white men she responds All white people aren't bad? Is that a proverb? Look around On the job in the streets everywhere We're followed by clerks while some white kid is the one shoplifting; we're pulled over by the police while some white kid whistles by with a trunk full of guns planning to shoot up his school Character assassinations against black athletes while corporate criminals bilk investors out of millionsBut the best moments of the relationship are filled with a complicated yearning Achilles realizing that Ines was a stranger to him which made him feel a stranger to himself like he was scattering becoming smoke like he needed her to touch him all over to reconnect the partsOf the many journeys the book invites us on the most poignant is the veteran's journey back into civilian life attempting to unlearn behaviors that ensured survival and were rewarded with medals but are now suddenly deplorable It is a multilayered limping journey one step forward two steps back marked by unexpected bouts of rage and fear and the fact that it is impossible to explain to those who haven't experienced it that if you stare too long a dead friend looks and like a stranger while a dead stranger looks increasingly like a long lost friendHold It 'Til It Hurts is a novel that defies categorization It is at once a mystery a meditation a modern day myth an indictment of war and an ode to love But this much is clear This masterfully written book filled with trenchant observations and unafraid of tenderness marks Johnson as a writer to watchRead


  4. says:

    Read this fucking book


  5. says:

    The synopis made me think I would love this book But I didn't Hated the writing but gave it 2 stars because I felt bad giving a first time author 1 star


  6. says:

    Really 25 stars almost 3 This is a hard read and it's hard to review The story is gripping particularly the central thread of the brothers Achilles and Troy The attendant threads Afghanistan military brotherhood life in the shitty parts of the South both before and after Katrina these are opaue and impenetrable Johnson's prose is literary and heavy like Toni Morrison on a heady dose of T It muddies the action in some places but it brings the emotional weight down hard in the center of your chest That central plot and the unopened blue envelope and the cultural weight of interracial adoption had a five star novel in their mix There was incredible potential here and a flaming talent underneath it to bring it to a boil That potential is lost in too many cities too many incomprehensible courses of action and too much masculine hype Achilles is male we get it He doesn't have to be mystified by genuine emotion and killing peoplethings and sporting a 9 foot erection every time we see him for that point to come through The vicious hatred of women bleeds through this in an embarrassing display of war movie bravado Women are dumb and they feel too much but at least they have soft willing bodies you can objectify when the time is right amirite? A lot of male novelists seem to think they have a uniue story to tell about how much they hate and mistrust and misunderstand the thing they put their dicks in How about a round of applause Haven't heard that one since Hemingway Or Forstchen Or Mailer Oh wait I'm disappointed that there wasn't courage here There is a great story submerged somewhere inside this book Wade through the flood waters push aside the gratuitous corpses and flotillas of Penthouse and catch it if you can


  7. says:

    I heard part of a radio interview with this writer just recently about his new book His first book here though is Coffee House Press Cred At any rate you can't but catch his name when it's associated with the provocative essaytitle Trayvon Martin Must Die He'd also seem to be of interest to all of you involved in Southissues; much in the news lately Here's an interview


  8. says:

    I read this book as part of the WSJ Book Club I devoured it Although the characters particularly Achilles are not always likeable you find yourself enthralled with their experiences and worldviews The flashbacks to war and childhood were handled really well throughout and Achilles' struggles were palpable There is a ton of fodder for discussion in this novel and I think it makes a great book club book


  9. says:

    I really tried to get into this book but just couldn't I found none of the characters to be all that sympathetic and the story line was nearly impossible for me to follow


  10. says:

    This book was rough Brutal even I hate read through this entire book and I still don't know what happened to TroyThere is borderline sexual assault There is animal killing There is spousal abuse And And it felt like povertyanti blackanti woman porn I have no idea why the romantic interest Ines even remotely entertained the protagonist Made no sense I do not recommend this book at all