A Kirkus Reviews Best Book awardee, The Butcher’s Sons is a gritty, intimate portrait of three young Irish-American brothers whose lives irrevocably change during a heat wave in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen, circa 1930. Bound by blood but separated by forbidden secrets, brothers-Dickie, Walt and Adlai-run a butcher shop for their alcoholic father, whose broken spirit has isolated him from the world. When Dickie makes a rash decision, involving an organized crime family, a chain of events are triggered changing the brothers’ lives and forcing them to come together-at first, with a sense of camaraderie, but ultimately, with something much fiercer, more brutal.
Shot through with themes of honor, betrayal, race and sexual identity “Hess’ masterful, elegant style weaves these diverse elements into a seamless narrative that touches the heart of what it means to be human.”
With a new introduction by journalist Ian MacAllen.
“A brutal and lyrically gorgeous story of three Irish brothers’ during the 1930s as they transgress social and moral norms to satisfy their desires, despite the dire consequences.” – John Copenhaver, Lambda Literary Review
“At once gritty, poetic, and romantic, Hess’ masterful, elegant style weaves these diverse elements into a seamless narrative that touches the heart of what it means to be human.” – Kirkus Reviews
“This more modern retelling of King Lear brings the kingdom down to the streets, but the heart-wrenching cruelty of fate shows up in the same Shakespearean way…Hess weaves all three of these points of view together under the sweltering heat of Hell’s Kitchen in the 1930’s. The Butcher’s Sons is told with such vibrancy and aroma, you can almost feel the sweat seeping out of your skin.” – Luke Goldstein Blogcritics Editors Pick 5 Star Review