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I Never Dreamed You’d Leave In Summer

the debut novel by

Robert Lashley

Available Now

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About the book:

I Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer is an epistolary novel telling the story of a young Black student navigating campus politics, community tensions, and his own guilt over his past life as a drug runner. He finds space for atonement working at a beauty salon, but as scandal erupts fate takes a haunting, complex turn that encompasses radical politics, sexism, and racism. Contrasting campus satire with an ode to the working-class culture of a Black beauty shop, I Never Dreamed You’d Leave In Summer presents a complex parable on the question of grace, who needs it, who is scared of it, who runs from it, and who struggles to accept it. Drawing from Native Son, The Stranger, and The Sorrows Of Young Werther, I Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer is a protest novel that breaks every rule of protest novels and is a ferocious, irreverent, yet compassionate read.

ISBN: 9798988180906 (paperback) | 9798988180913 (ebook)
Library of Congress Control Number: 2023937081
Published August 22, 2023
Cover illustration by Spur Lowe Gardens

Praise for the novel:

    — EJ Koh, Author of The Liberators

"A complex and compelling coming-apart-of-age story"
    — New Books Network

"An author who knows the territory he maps"
    — Steve Potter, Raven Chronicle Press

“A select few writers can take you on a journey where there is no air in the atmosphere; however, those writers make you forget you need to breathe through passages written in a profoundly emotional essence where the writer's metaphors rise like roots to keep the reader on life supporting drugs.
    Robert Lashley pens a bottomless soul. Once you open this book, Robert grabs your attention and chains greatness between each line, each chapter in an unfettered rawness that allows us to see beyond our imagination.
   ‘I Never Dreamed You’d Leave In Summer.’ The old Stevie Wonder line from a song of pain and loss - Robert Lashley has brought that into the feeling of survival amongst a wide range of men and women breathing amongst gangsters to educators - street and from the halls of higher learning.
    Robert Lashley is the painter of words. We are observers as he takes us to a literary stratosphere with fierce and sincere pain but ironic- hilarious obscene, and tender times.
    I say we stay tuned for more to come from Robert Lashley's greatness.”

    — Alvin L.A. Horn, NAACP Image Award Nominee, Essence Magazine and USA-TODAY best-selling author, 2012 Billboard Spoken Word Award Winner

“Taking on those Hotep to Frantz Fanon to Judith Butler to Gloria Naylor all in the Tacoma ghetto. There is no one writing like Robert Lashley and he may have enough Baldwin in him to save us all.”
    — Paul E Nelson
, Poet, Interviewer, and Author of A Time Before Slaughter: Featuring Pig War & Other Songs of Cascadia

“Vital to contemporary literature, a poetic history of a rapidly changing place, a celebration of Black lives lived, and a tour de force critique of the exclusionary literary canon that seeks to marginalize art crafted outside white privilege and the ivory tower.”
    — Carol Guess
, author of Doll Studies: Forensics and Girl Zoo

"Albert and the other characters in Lashley’s novel ring as true as those in his poems. The conceit of letter-writing is delivered with an earnestness that elicits empathy. Albert’s voice blends street talk and literary references with a bit of endearing nerd-speak. [...] This slim volume is a fairly quick read, but it will move you and challenge you."
    — Neil Mckay, Cascadia Daily News

"A striking and poignant perspective on contemporary America [...] will undoubtedly become a significant part of the African American literary canon."
    — Alassane Abdoulaye Dia, Ph.D., Western Washington University

Robert Lashley author photo by David Blair photo by David Blair

About the author:

Robert Lashley was a 2016 Jack Straw Fellow, Artist Trust Fellow, and a nominee for a Stranger Genius Award. His books include Green River Valley (Blue Cactus Press, 2021), Up South (Small Doggies Press, 2017), and The Homeboy Songs (Small Doggies Press, 2014). His poetry has appeared in The Seattle Review of Books, NAILED, Poetry Northwest, McSweeney’s, and The Cascadia Review, among others. In 2019, Entropy Magazine named The Homeboy Songs one of the 25 essential books to come out of Seattle. I Never Dreamed You’d Leave In Summer is his first novel.

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