Friday Staff Pick

The Liminal People
A Novel

Ayize Jama-Everett

 

Razor.

Plush.

Fast.

—Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books

Taggert can heal and hurt with just a touch. When an ex calls for help, he risks the wrath of his enigmatic master to try and save her daughter. But when Taggert realizes the daughter has more power than even he can imagine, he has to wrestle with the very nature of his skills, not to mention unmanned and uncreated gods, in order keep the girl safe. In the end, Taggert will have to use more than his power, he has to delve into his heart and soul to survive.

“You’ll be sucked into a fast-paced story about superpowered people struggling for control of the underground cultures they inhabit…. The novel is a damn good read. It’s a smart actioner that will entertain you while also enticing you to think about matters beyond the physical realm.”
—Annalee Newitz, io9

“For all the grit, character and poetry on display here, Everett’s own super power appears to be plotting and set-pieces. Readers will find a quick immersion in the opening scene, and then some secret world-building. Once the plot kicks in, readers had best be prepared to finish the book in one sitting, while experiencing better special effects than you will find in any movie. Indeed, Everett’s prose is cinematic in the best sense; when he puts us in a scene of action, his descriptions take on a hyper-clarity that is better than telepathy. The plot arc is cunning and enjoyably surprising, and the revelations have the shock of the new but the old-school satisfaction of well-woven espionage plots. ‘The Liminal People’ is seriously well-written, but also seriously fun to read. It’s a secret world that deserves the elegant exposition of this engaging novel — and a sequel, sooner rather than later.”
—Rick Kleffel, The Agony Column

“Ayize Jama-Everett has brewed a voodoo cauldron of Sci-Fi, Romance, Crime, and Superhero Comic, to provide us with a true gestalt of understanding, offering us both a new definition of “family” and a world view on the universality of human conduct. The Liminal People—as obviously intended—will draw different reactions from different readers. But none of them will stop reading until its cataclysmic ending.”
—Andrew Vachss

“Ayize’s imagination will mess with yours, and the world won’t ever look quite the same again.”
—Nalo Hopkinson

“The Liminal People has the pleasures of classic sf while being astonishingly contemporary and savvy.”
—Maureen F. McHugh

“Fast and sleek and powerful—a skillful and unique mix of supernatural adventure and lived-in, persuasive, often moving noir.”
—Felix Gilman, author of The Half-Made World

Ayize Jama-Everett was born in 1974 and raised in Harlem, New York. Since then he has traveled extensively in Northern Africa, New Hampshire, and Northern California. He holds a Master’s in Clinical Psychology and a Master’s in Divinity. He teaches religion and psychology at Starr King School for the Ministry when he’s not working as a school therapist at the College Preparatory School. When not educating, studying, or beating himself up for not writing enough, he’s usually enjoying aged rums and practicing his aim.

 

“I was born in ’74, and if you look at New York in the late ’70s and early ’80s, it was one step away from Mad Max and the Thunderdome. I mean, it was grimy! And I wasn’t cute. I wasn’t perceived as smart. I was a geeky kid with glasses and I was a little stick, very skinny. People forget, it wasn’t always cool to be a geek like it is now, you know? So I was constantly scrutinized and seen as a potential victim. I had to learn how to navigate the world and other people’s perceptions and I think that taught me about narrative. It was like, This is what this other person’s story is about me. Do I want to play into that or do I want to play against that?
The Rumpus Interview with Ayize Jama-Everett

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