Once You Go Back: A Novel
$16.95 $12.71
  • Paperback
  • 208
  • August 2009
  • 9781583228784

Once You Go Back: A Novel

Douglas Martin

In 2000, Douglas A. Martin burst onto the American literary scene with his sexy debut novel, Outline of My Lover. Following up with three more books, including Branwell, a novel of the Brontë brother, Martin has established himself as an acclaimed and distinctive American writer of the new century. His semi-autobiographical novel Once You Go Back is about growing up in a strained working-class household transplanted to the South. In his inimitably elliptical and evocative style, Martin carefully brings out the curiosity of children on the verge of becoming sexual, and their confusion in the midst of family violence.


"The training wheels come off in Douglas A. Martin's latest novel, Once You Go Back, a coming-of-age tale that pedals through the trappings of childhood and adolescence with grace … Martin's intense, unhindered prose style renders his characters' degrees of growth and alienation all the more powerful." —Time Out New York

"A gripping story about trust, family, loneliness, and displacement … This novel is for anyone who ever felt lonely, for anyone who ever felt like they did not belong." —Kristina LePage, Adirondack Review

"Billed as a novel, this volume of snapshot tales, presented in a voice at once concise and emotion-drenched, forms its larger narrative only with the aid of a reader's thoughtful engagement. Even dealing with coming-of-age anecdotes and an awakening sense of outsiderdom (the stuff of so much clichéd gay fiction), Martin's singular perspective and mosaic approach yield fresh rewards." —Passport Magazine

"Martin, who possesses one of the most distinctive younger voices in contemporary gay lit, transcends the familiar with heartbreaking poignancy. His language is spare and evocative, his prose is infused with the compactness of poetry, and his graceful, elliptical narrative evokes painful early years with ferocious precision. The common coming-out novel is reinvented here, with feverish style." —PrideSource

" … a dark and dreamlike (self-)portrayal of the sexual coming of age of a boy acutely aware that he doesn't fit the roughneck masculine mold into which his Southern military hometown forces its sons … Its feverish self-portrait seizes center stage." —The Boston Globe

"A tender, tragic portrayal of a doomed artist … [Branwell ]'s beautiful declarative sentences are perfectly fitted to this famously imaginative, headstrong family; they bring Branwell Brontë's world to light." —Publishers Weekly

" … A poignant and semi-autobiographical novel … Martin's highly poetic writing style is an example of high-brow literature in its prime." —Feminist Review

"Douglas Martin has a very beautiful voice. It's a thing of grace." —Dennis Cooper

"Stylistically complex and emotionally evocative … Branwell Brontë emerges as a fascinating lost character, both muse and devil to his sisters' passions, giving us a new dimension to this ever fascinating family." —Darcey Steinke

"How sentences that look so unassuming could still agitate and exhilarate and break my fucking heart, I do not know. What I've learned from Douglas A. Martin is that the sentence is an essay." —John D'Agata

"There is a reverence in Douglas Martin's writing composed of equal parts language and love. Outline of My Lover strips away the dross, leaving you with the pure mood of youth." —Dale Peck

"Lonely, understated and heart-breaking, Once You Go Back will haunt you like a familiar face that has emerged and then fallen back into a dream." —Mary Gaitskill

About Douglas Martin

DOUGLAS A. MARTIN is the author of BranwellOutline of My Lover (selected by Colm Toibin as International Book of the Year in The Times Literary Supplement); They Change the Subject, a book of stories; and In the Time of Assignments, a book of poetry. Born in Virginia in 1973, and raised in Georgia, he now lives in New York City.

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