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Say Nice Things About Detroit: A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


“Ambitious and ultimately accomplished . . . a perfect encapsulation of Detroit’s present moment.”—Dean Bakopoulos, San Francisco Chronicle
Twenty-five years after his high school graduation, David Halpert returns to a place that most people flee. But David is making his own escape—from his divorce and the death of his son. In Detroit, David learns about the double shooting of his high school girlfriend Natalie and her black half-brother, Dirk. As David becomes involved with Natalie’s sister, he will discover that both he and his hometown have reasons to hope.

As compelling an urban portrait as The Wire and a touching love story, Say Nice Things About Detroit takes place in a racially polarized, economically collapsing city that doesn't seem like a place for rebirth. But as David tries to make sense of the mystery behind Natalie’s death and puts back the pieces of his own life, he is forced to answer a simple question: if you want to go home again, what do you do if home is Detroit?

From Publishers Weekly

May 28, 2012 – Detroit is autumnal in this quietly moving novel of place; the heyday, the riots, the collapse have already happened, and the city is sinking quietly. There is still tension, but behind it is a sense of emptiness and ending. David Halpert, returning to his native city in 2006 to care for his mother, who s been diagnosed with dementia, is quickly reintroduced to this tension with the news that a white woman and a black man David s high school girlfriend Natalie and her half-brother Dirk, a retired FBI agent possibly mistaken for an interracial couple, have been gunned down in Dirk s Mercedes. Lasser shifts between 2006 and 1994 to explore how this happened, and to chronicle David s return; his relationship with Natalie s sister, Carolyn, and with his aging parents; the continuing impact on him of his son s death years earlier; and to chart a growing connection between Dirk and a troubled young man named Marlon Booker. The complex divisions of Detroit are introduced obliquely and effectively through the characters David most centrally, but also Dirk and Marlon, who Dirk feels responsible for saving. Lasser (The Year That Follows) composes his sympathetic cast into tableaux that are meaningful, even emblematic, but that, even when highly dramatic, aren t forced. His restrained portrait of Detroit evokes real pathos.

Customer Reviews


Seems like a good book. I'll buy it.


I read this book when I was in high school. I am not a big reader, yet I was addicted to this book. It was very well written and relatable as well. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and would highly reccomend it to others.

Say Nice Things About Detroit: A Novel
View in iTunes
  • $1.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Jul 02, 2012
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Seller: W. W. Norton
  • Print Length: 272 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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