by Jeff Boyd
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Pub Date 11 Apr 2023 | Archive Date 09 May 2023
Julian Strickland is seemingly the lone Black man in the hipster dreamland of Portland, Oregon. To his friends, he’s the coolest member of the scene: the soulful drummer from Chicago in an indie rock band that’s just about to break through. But to himself, he’s a sheltered Christian homeschool kid who used to write book reports on Leviticus. A virgin until the night of his marriage, divorced at twenty-four, he’s still in disarray two years later—pretending to fit in, wondering if any of his relationships are real, estranged from his family, and struggling to reconcile his relationship with God.
Then he meets Ida Blair, a Black painter at the start of a promising career. They begin a tentative relationship, and Ida seems to offer Julian relief from his confusion. But suddenly she stops responding to his texts. Things only get worse when Julian’s best friend mysteriously turns on him, his house burns down, and the band considers breaking up on the eve of their most important show yet. It seems the only thing Julian has left—the only thing he’s ever had, really—is the weight he is carrying.
Jeff Boyd’s beguiling first novel is a piercing exploration of faith, racial identity, love, and friendship—woven of acid humor, disarming vulnerability, and unforgettable poignance.
“The Weight is filled with haunting observations about romance, isolation and the daunting task of believing in something greater than yourself. Boyd has a grounded and capable hand. This is dialogue that you can actually hear. Powerful, dreamy, and altogether very true.”—Kiley Reid, author of the New York Times bestseller and Booker Prize longlist selection Such a Fun Age
“You’ve never met a fictional character quite like Julian Strickland, the soulful, searching character at the heart of Jeff Boyd’s wondrous new novel, The Weight. It’s a delight to watch him drum, stumble and sleep his way across the pale, smoky clubs of Portland, Oregon in this moving, comic and prodigious debut.”—Jess Walter, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Beautiful Ruins and The Cold Millions