Victim: A Novel (Hardcover)

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There’s a fine line between bending the truth and telling bold-faced lies, and Javier Perez is willing to cross it. Victim is a fearless satire about a hustler from the Bronx who sees through the veneer of diversity initiatives and decides to cash in on the odd currency of identity.

Javier Perez is a hustler from a family of hustlers. He learns from an early age how to play the game to his own advantage, how his background—murdered drug dealer dad, single cash-strapped mom, best friend serving time for gang activity—becomes a key to doors he didn’t even know existed. This kind of story, molded in the right way, is just what college admissions committees are looking for, and a full academic scholarship to a prestigious university brings Javi one step closer to his dream of becoming a famous writer.

As a college student, Javi embellishes his life story until there’s not even a kernel of truth left. The only real connection to his past is the occasional letter he trades with his childhood best friend, Gio, who doesn’t seem to care about Javi’s newfound awareness of white privilege or the school-to-prison pipeline. Soon after graduating, a viral essay transforms Javi from a writer on the rise to a journalist at a legendary magazine where the editors applaud his “unique perspective.” But Gio more than anyone knows who Javi really is, and sees through his game. Once he’s released from prison and Javi offers to cut him in on the deal, will he play along with Javi’s charade, or will it all come crumbling down?

A sendup of virtue signaling and tear-jerking trauma plots written with the bite of Paul Beatty, Victim asks what real diversity looks like and how far one man is willing to go to make his story hit the right notes.

About the Author

ANDREW BORYGA grew up in the Bronx and now lives in Miami with his family. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic, and been awarded prizes by Cornell University, The University of Miami, The Susquehanna Review, and The Michener Foundation. He attended the Tin House Writer’s Workshop and has taught writing to college students, elementary students, and incarcerated adults.

Praise For…

“Blazingly trenchant, unflinchingly Bronx, Boryga's the rare writer who knows sometimes it's in the unlearning where real education begins. Victim diddy-bops into your skull; smooth, cool, fun-loving and knowing full well a sense of humor always trumps one's sense of entitlement. Break night with this one, it isn't to be missed.”
Paul Beatty, author of The Sellout

“You will burn through Victim and find your hands scalded when you are done. It’s not just because of the tight, engaging prose and pitch perfect voice of our narrator, Javier—but because no one is innocent in this stinging satire that turns everything about meritocracy and success on its head. Boryga pulls no punches, and leaves you alternating rolling in laughter and cringing as a result.”
Xochitl Gonzalez, New York Times bestselling author of Olga Dies Dreaming

"Andrew Boryga dismantles with audacious precision the lies upholding certain lives and the lethal undertow of truth. Blazing with insight, Victim is part social commentary and part requiem for the values of our time. This is a simply stellar debut."
Patricia Engel, author of Infinite Country

Victim is an original, biting satire about the contradictions of class and race in America. This a deep dive into identity cynicism that somehow never loses its heart. Brave, unflinching as it is insightful, Victim launches Andrew Boryga as a new literary star.”
Mat Johnson, author of Invisible Things and Pym

"A strivers’ tale for the digital age and our identity-obsessed culture, Victim had me laughing out loud with its depiction of what can happen when clout-chasing goes wrong. Javier's media misadventures are hilarious, yes, and breathless in pace, and yet still will leave you pondering big questions past the last page, about the complexity of our stories and the dangers of flattening them. A fantastic, fresh addition to the canon of satire."
Dawnie Walton, author of The Final Revival of Opal & Nev

"Victim is going to hurt some people's feelings. But that's exactly what smart, insightful social satire is meant to do. Andrew Boryga's dazzling debut novel is the story of a hustler whose game is to benefit from the struggles of other people. He's an identity politics confidence man. And yet he's also someone you come to care about, and worry for, as the stakes of his hustle grow and grow. This is a fearless and ambitious debut."
 —Victor LaValle, author of Lone Women

"Boryga is a preternaturally gifted new voice for the aftertimes. Victim is a dazzling, triumphant debut that acerbically unpacks hard truths behind this post-truth era in which social media, personal branding, and the wants of others distort the lenses through which we see ourselves. And eventually distort the lens through which we see the world. An absolute scream of a debut novel. It lands like a comet of truthraw, brilliant, unstoppable."
—Daniel Peña
, author of Bang

Victim sizzles like Tito Puente on timbales.”
Ernesto Quiñonez, author of Bodega Dreams

"Victim is bold, unforgettable, and wickedly funny. Andrew Boryga has written a pitch-perfect Stephen Glass cautionary tale of the 21st century and a scathing satire of the commodification of identity and experience in the attention economy. I absolutely loved it."
Leigh Stein, author of Self Care

Product Details
ISBN: 9780385549974
ISBN-10: 0385549970
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: March 12th, 2024
Pages: 288
Language: English