by James Hannaham
Little Brown and Company
In this "razor-sharp" and "dangerously hilarious" novel that "hooks readers from the beginning" (Los Angeles Times), a trans woman reenters life on the outside after more than twenty years in a men's prison, over one consequential Fourth of July weekend -- from the author of the PEN/Faulkner Award winner Delicious Foods.
Carlotta Mercedes has been misunderstood her entire life. When she was pulled into a robbery gone wrong, she still went by the name she'd grown up with in Fort Greene, Brooklyn -- before it gentrified. But not long after her conviction, she took the name Carlotta and began to live as a woman, an embrace of selfhood that prison authorities rejected, keeping Carlotta trapped in an all-male cell block, abused by both inmates and guards, and often placed in solitary.
In her fifth appearance before the parole board, Carlotta is at last granted conditional freedom and returns to a much-changed New York City. Over a whirlwind Fourth of July weekend, she struggles to reconcile with the son she left behind, to reunite with a family reluctant to accept her true identity, and to avoid any minor parole infraction that might get her consigned back to lockup.
Written with the same astonishing verve of Delicious Foods, which dazzled critics and readers alike, Didn't Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta sweeps the reader through seemingly every street of Brooklyn, much as Joyce's Ulysses does through Dublin. The novel sings with brio and ambition, delivering a fantastically entertaining read and a cast of unforgettable characters even as it challenges us to confront the glaring injustices of a prison system that continues to punish people long after their time has been served.
"Razor-sharp... A hilarious, righteous transgender remix of The Odyssey... Carlotta's bold voice hooks readers from the beginning, making them willing ride-or-dies... Hannaham hasn't merely given the classics an update; he has given readers an unforgettable glimpse into the injustices the carceral system heaps on women like Carlotta -- and deftly made space in literature for a distinctive voice that deserves a place in the modern literary pantheon." -- Los Angeles Times
"Captivating... Hannaham's bumper-car narrative astonishes... Carlotta is irrepressible. No matter how much the prison system has abused her, regardless of the coldblooded stipulations of her parole, she is brave enough to be guided by the woman inside her tireless heart... At a time when families with trans and gay children feel persecuted by state governments, Hannaham makes Carlotta heroic. Don't let the title of this wondrous novel fool you. Hannaham cares deeply about Carlotta. From a mash-up of perspectives, he writes like a guardian angel." -- John Irving, New York Times Book Review
"Borne along by a riotous current of verbal ingenuity, James Hannaham's new novel is -- like its endlessly vibrant protagonist -- a marvel of invention. There wasn't a page that didn't surprise me. By its end, this book had conjured a depth of identification with its heroine that I was not prepared for. Utterly brilliant." -- Ayad Akhtar, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Homeland Elegies
About the Author:
James Hannaham is the author of the novels God Says No, a Stonewall Book Award finalist, and Delicious Foods, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize and Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalist as well as a New York Times Notable Book. He lives in Brooklyn, where he teaches at the Pratt Institute.