Ride Around Shining concerns the idle preoccupations, and later machinations, of a transplanted Portlander named Jess--a nobody from nowhere with a master's degree and a gig delivering takeout. He parlays the latter, along with a few lies, into a job as a chauffeur for an up-and-coming NBA small forward, a Trail Blazer named Calyph West, and his young wife, Antonia. Calyph is black, Antonia is white, and Jess becomes fascinated, innocuously at first, by all that they are that he is not. In striving to make himself indispensable to them, he causes Calyph to have a season-ending knee injury, then brings about the couple's estrangement, before positioning himself at last as their perverse savior.
In the tradition of Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley and Harold Pinter's The Servant--not to mention a certain Shakespeare play about a creepy white dude obsessed with a black dude--Ride Around Shining is a striking, propulsive debut that is by turns hilarious and discomfiting, moody and thrilling, and which asks unforgettable questions about the modern tensions of race and class in America.
Read a sample HERE.
Listen to an interview with the author HERE.
Praise for the book:
“R.A.S. is brilliant. Sure, it’s about ballers and their chauffeurs, and fame and wealth and celebrity and race. But its subversive soul is interested only in one thing: the hunger, both yours and mine, to swallow the world whole. It feels like an instant classic.” —Joshua Ferris, author of To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
“Ride Around Shining is a searing debut-simultaneously poignant and provocative, tender and deeply unnerving. With mordant wit and exquisite sensitivity, Chris Leslie-Hynan illuminates the overlapping fault lines of race and class, aspiration and invention, borrowed nostalgia and dubious desire.” —Jennifer duBois, author of Cartwheel
“Ride Around Shining lays claim to being an interesting novel on its own terms, offering some fresh takes on those big American topics of race, class, manhood and meritocracy…[It] is a rousing affirmation of American possibility.” —Maureen Corrigan on Fresh Air with Terry Gross