“I think there’s a great deal of that blend of horror in the tradition where my work is rooted. I think about a writer like William Gay and a story like “The Paperhanger,” O’Connor and a character like the misfit or McCarthy’s Lester Ballard. That’s to say that is the tradition. With this book specifically, though, it was very much a treatise on violence. I wanted there to be moments the reader put the book down because they couldn’t face what was happening on the page. I wanted there to be moments that very same reader cheered the violence on with a fiery sense of vengeance and justice. I wanted the reader to recognize those moments and reactions and question the difference. Those were lofty goals that may very well have been unreached, but that was the intent. The difference in those two reactions speaks a great deal to our humanity.” ― David Joy, Interview, Daily Yonder
What booksellers are saying about Those We Thought We Knew
- As another white North Carolinian tired of the nodding heads and silent, complicit racism dominating each environment I’ve ever lived in, I am so proud to know works like this can come from here. David Joy has reached a new level of expertise with this stunningly crafted work of art. He creates so many fully-fleshed voices and turns out a story that can only come from this place and this time. By the last line, I was ready to nominate him for a Pulitzer.
― Alissa Redmond from South Main Book Co in Salisbury, NC | Buy from South Main Book Company
- David Joy understands the human condition and, in particular, the complexities, pain, love, and loyalty that live in so many rural areas of our country. His latest novel is a brilliant exploration of the things we cherish and the things for which we fight, the way we hold memories close, and the lies we tell ourselves to ensure the past remains pure.
― Leslie Logemann from Highland Books in Brevard, NC | Buy from Highland Books
- I love David Joy’s books. They are raw and gritty and always give me a different perspective. His books can be quite full of violence (always fits well into the story), and this one at first did not appear as violent. However, I did reflect on what transpired in this new novel and realized it was actually full of racism and violence; it reminds the reader that whether you are in a big city or a small town, the same things are happening. His attention to detail, his ability to capture the talk of western NC locals, and his use of historical events all made me thoroughly enjoy and appreciate Joy’s newest novel.
― Suzanne Lucey from Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, NC | Buy from Page 158 Books
About David Joy
David Joy is the author of When These Mountains Burn (winner of the 2020 Dashiell Hammett Award), The Line That Held Us (winner of the 2018 SIBA Book Prize), The Weight of This World, and Where All Light Tends to Go (Edgar finalist for Best First Novel). Joy lives in Tuckasegee, North Carolina.