book cover of Godwin
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A novel by

THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS' CHOICE • From the acclaimed author of Netherland (a New York Times Book Review Best Book of the year): the odyssey of two brothers crossing the world in search of an African soccer prodigy who might change their fortunes.

Mark Wolfe, a brilliant if self-thwarting technical writer, lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, Sushila, and their toddler daughter. His half-brother Geoff, born and raised in the United Kingdom, is a desperate young soccer agent. He pulls Mark across the ocean into a scheme to track down an elusive prospect known only as “Godwin”—an African teenager Geoff believes could be the next Lionel Messi.

Narrated in turn by Mark and his work colleague Lakesha Williams,
Godwin is a tale of family and migration as well as an international adventure story that implicates the brothers in the beauty and ugliness of soccer, the perils and promises of international business, and the dark history of transatlantic money-making.

As only he can do, Joseph O’Neill investigates the legacy of colonialism in the context of family love, global capitalism, and the dreaming individual.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"How to describe Godwin? At once a minute, hilariously observed, and poignant workplace novel about Pittsburgh, and a sweeping postcolonial picaresque novel about the grim fringes of the global soccer industry, replete with laugh-out-loud observations, gorgeously turned phrases, and exhilarating dialogue, pervaded by a winning sense of exasperated humanism. The whole time I was reading, I was thinking 'I wish there were more books like this.'" - Elif Batuman

"Godwin is a miracle: a gripping novel refracting in clear and poetic language the seemingly incompatible elements of today's world: Africa, Pittsburgh, workplace intrigues, colonialism, writing, racism, dogs, sibling rivalry, capitalism, modalities of love, all under the splendorous umbrella of soccer as an exploitative business, passion, philosophy, and history. The reader is compelled to keep reading Godwin not only to see what happens next, but to find out how O'Neill is going to pull it all off - only to find out that he succeeds spectacularly. Godwin is a champion book." - Aleksandar Hemon

"No one will exit this pinwheeling novel unmoved by its tender and terrible surprises. Reading Godwin, I laughed out loud many times, I felt sick with grief and outrage, and I was shaken by 'an intensification of reality so strong that I had a touch of vertigo.' Every sentence is suffused with O'Neill's capacious intelligence, humor, and care." - Karen Russell

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