book cover of Presidio

Presidio

(2018)
A novel by

 
 
"Fluent, mordant, authentic, propulsive... wonderfully lit from within" (Lee Child, The New York Times Book Review), this critically acclaimed, stunningly mature literary debut is the darkly comic story of a car thief on the run in the gritty and arid landscape of the 1970s Texas panhandle.

In this "stellar debut," (Publishers Weekly) car thief Troy Falconer returns home after years of wandering to reunite with his younger brother, Harlan. The two set out in search of Harlan's wife, Bettie, who's left him cold and run away with the little money he had. When stealing a station wagon for their journey, Troy and Harlan find they've accidentally kidnapped a Mennonite girl, Martha Zacharias, sleeping in the back of the car. But Martha turns out to be a stubborn survivor who refuses to be sent home, so together, these unlikely road companions haphazardly attempt to escape across the Mexican border, pursued by the police and Martha's vengeful father.

But this is only one layer of Troy's story. Through interjecting entries from his journal that span decades of an unraveling life, we learn that Troy has become so estranged from society that he's shunned the very idea of personal property. Instead of claiming possessions, he works motels, stealing the suitcases and cars of men roughly his size, living with their things until those things feel too much like his own, at which point he finds another motel and vanishes again into another man's identity.

Richly nuanced and complex, "like a nesting doll, [Presidio] continually uncovers stories within stories" (Ian Stansel, author of The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo). With a page-turning plot, prose as gritty and austere as the novel's Texas panhandle setting, and a determined yet doomed cast of characters ranging from con artists to religious outcasts, this "rich and rare book" (Annie Proulx, author of Barkskins) packs a kick like a shot of whiskey. Perfect for fans of Cormac McCarthy, Denis Johnson, and Larry McMurtry, who said that Kennedy "captures the funny yet tragic relentlessness of survival in an unforgiving place. Let's hope he keeps his novelistic cool and brings us much, much more."

Genre: Mystery

Praise for this book

"Randy Kennedy's Mexican-American frontier of the 1970s occupies the same dustblown landscape painted by Cormac McCarthy. Car thieves and drug dealers tumble together with Mennonites and luncheonette waitresses—all of them lightened by empty pockets, small dreams, and minimal futures. From these elements Kennedy assembles a gorgeously written narrative of outrunning violence and despair." - Carol Anshaw

"Randy Kennedy writes wonderful prose. He combines the detail and eye of a journalist with the lyricism of a poet. If you want to read about the real deal down in Texas, he's your man." - James Lee Burke

"Randy Kennedy captures the funny yet tragic relentlessness of survival in an unforgiving place. Let's hope he keeps his novelistic cool and brings us much, much more." - Larry McMurtry

"Here is a rich and rare book. Reader, if you like poor Texas boys gone bad (or not bad enough), landscapes so accurate in detail you feel you grew up there, coldly logical Mennonite girls with outcast Manitoban-Mexican papas, magnetic details about old cars, the finer points of an automobile-thieving, and a magisterial use of italics you will want to read this novel through twice in a row as I did. It is a hard picture of the choices offered to poor Texas youths in the 1960s and ’70s. You might say it shakes out as a weird combination of Canterbury Tales, Breaking Bad and À la recherche du temps perdu with a dash of Confederacy of Dunces, but it is brilliantly original. You will laugh, you will cry and you will read it again straight through to enjoy the fine points of marvelous writing. There is nothing out there like Presidio." - Annie Proulx

"A fabulous novel, executed in rare and exquisite language, about two brothers and the tough little girl, (one of the most engaging fictional heroines in recent memory), they accidentally encounter on a hapless journey across Texas to recover some stolen money. Kennedy is truly the literary heir to Cormac McCarthy in his depiction of the vivid characters and sparsely beautiful landscape of the American West." - Dinitia Smith

"An absolute marvel of a novel. Like a nesting doll, it continually uncovers stories within stories, each revealing the depth and humanity of its fascinating cast of characters. Kennedy has given us a wonderfully compelling portrait of the American West in the second half of the twentieth century, full of danger, humor, and surprises." - Ian Stansel


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Used availability for Randy Kennedy's Presidio

Hardback Editions

February 2019 : USA Library Binding
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Title: Presidio (Thorndike Press Large Print Bill's Bookshelf)
Author(s): Randy Kennedy
ISBN: 1-4328-6076-3 / 978-1-4328-6076-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Thorndike Press Large Print
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


August 2018 : USA Hardback
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Title: Presidio: A Novel
Author(s): Randy Kennedy
ISBN: 1-5011-5386-2 / 978-1-5011-5386-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Atria Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

August 2019 : USA Paperback
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Title: Presidio: A Novel
Author(s): Randy Kennedy
ISBN: 1-5011-5387-0 / 978-1-5011-5387-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Atria Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Audio Editions

August 2018 : USA Audio CD
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Title: Presidio
Author(s): Randy Kennedy
ISBN: 1-5082-6110-5 / 978-1-5082-6110-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Blackstone Pub
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


August 2018 : USA Audio CD
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Title: Presidio: A Novel
Author(s): Randy Kennedy
ISBN: 1-5082-6438-4 / 978-1-5082-6438-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio and Blackstone Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


August 2018 : USA Audio edition
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Title: Presidio
Author(s): Randy Kennedy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Availability: Amazon   


August 2018 : Canada Audio edition
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Title: Presidio
Author(s): Randy Kennedy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Availability: Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

August 2018 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
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Title: Presidio: A Novel
Author(s): Randy Kennedy
Publisher: Atria Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA