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YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIVE LIKE THIS by Ben Markovits – Read Reviews Here


‘Is Benjamin Markovits contemporary fiction’s best kept secret? …. Markovits’s seventh novel is as profound a meditation on contemporary America as you’re likely to read this year … At times disturbing but very moving, this serious and rewarding book speaks to our present moment. From basketball court to Courthouse, it reads like a season of The Wire scripted by JM Coetzee. But Markovits’s work warrants more than flippant soundbites … Like the lives it describes, this novel contains multitudes.’ Max Liu, Independent

‘Markovits articulates this irretrievably messy subject with exhilarating clarity and a good deal of bravery … The prose delivers spare, fast-paced social realism (think Jonathan Franzen on Slimfast) and the plot is multi-stranded and gripping … so engrossing, so satisfyingly complex.’ Claire Lowdon, Sunday Times

‘This is an occasionally satirical, frequently discomforting and consistently impressive novel: a strikingly current portrait of tinderbox race relations that also raises enduring questions about the good life and the nature of truth. As events unfold, these questions become ever more urgent, yet historian Marny – all too recognisable as an example of the modern kidult – finds himself floundering.Painfully aware as he is of his own deficiencies, his narrative could have been tedious; Markovits, however, transforms that rawness into something quietly riveting. Highly recommended.’ Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail

‘A considered examination of tense race relations.’ Lucy Scholes, Observer

‘It is a remarkable novel, more for what it is not than what it is. Lesser writers would struggle to make such an idea catch fire, especially one as tied up in a social realism so endemic to that degraded part of the Rust Belt. This is fiction writing that is alive in your hand despite its meandering rhythms and heavily biographing tendencies. Markovits’ is a voice as attuned to the soul as it is to the barrios and hoods, the kind that forms synaptic connections without ever seeming to try.’ Irish Independent

‘Entertaining, insightful, humorous yet of serious purpose. This is a very good novel.’ Sunday Herald 

‘[A] subtle and finely poised novel.’ Stuart Kelly, Spectator

‘Terrifically readable … a sweeping story of gentrification, class war and racism in America.’ Literary Review

‘You Don’t Have to Live Like This is a very smart book, with vividly drawn characters and densely-woven themes … at its heart is the vexatious question of race.’ Mick Brown, Daily Telegraph

‘A bold and brilliant take on a long-established genre … the plot-lines are given an added piquancy by their timeliness … [A] fine, provocative novel … For Markovits – as for Dickens, Joyce and Woolf before him – the city is a constantly evolving organism against which the best stories can be told.’ Elizabeth Day, Prospect

Published: 15th July 2015