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Publisher's Summary

Jesus' Son meets Reservoir Dogs in a breakneck-paced debut novel about love, war, bank robberies, and heroin.   

"Nico Walker's Cherry might be the first great novel of the opioid epidemic." (Vulture)

"A miracle of literary serendipity.... [Walker's] language, relentlessly profane but never angry, simmers at the level of morose disappointment, something like Holden Caulfield Goes to War." (The Washington Post)

It's 2003, and as a college freshman in Cleveland, our narrator is adrift until he meets Emily. The two of them experience an instant, life-changing connection. But when he almost loses her, he chooses to make an indelible statement: He joins the army. The outcome will not be good for either of them. 

As a medic in Iraq, he is unprepared for the realities that await him. He and his fellow soldiers huff computer duster, abuse painkillers, and watch porn. Many of them die. When he comes home, his PTSD is profound. As the opioid crisis sweeps through the Midwest, it drags both him and Emily along with it. As their addictions worsen, and with their money drying up, he stumbles onto what seems like the only possible solution - robbing banks.

Written by a singularly talented, wildly imaginative debut novelist, Cherry is a bracingly funny and unexpectedly tender work of fiction straight from the dark heart of America.  

©2018 Nico Walker (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Nico Walker’s Cherry is a wrenching, clear-eyed stare-down into the abyss of war, addiction and crime, a dark tumble into scumbaggery, but it’s also deeply humane and truly funny. That is one of the reasons I love it so much: it makes you laugh and ache at the same time, in the manner of the great Denis Johnson.” (Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will)

“Heartbreaking, unadorned, radically absent of pretense, Cherry is the debut novel America needs now, a letter from the frontlines of opioid addiction and, almost subliminally, a war story.” (Lea Carpenter, author of Eleven Days and Red, White, Blue)

“Harrowing, heartbreaking, and sadly funny. Cherry is a terrific book, a cool book, and Walker’s voice is keen and vigilant and uniquely his own.” (Joe Ide, author of IQ and Righteous)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

being an ex-junky is much cooler than being a junky

this was brilliant. The sensitivity and ability to explain and make entertaining such a tired genre of writing was phenomenal (which i spelled wrong so factor that into my credentials as a critic) i dont know what it’s like to be a soldier or a medic but i sure know what it’s like to be a repentant semi-comedic criminal with a bad case of the opiates and this dude Nico got it all right. If there were a secret handshake he would know it and in a totally selfish way it felt comforting to hear him suffer the all too true and universal junk problems only people who think too much suffer. The clever narration and spot on story telling made this a great listen! I give it the full five 💉💉💉💉💉

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Crazy good ride!

It's hard to believe that this is a debut novel.you really feel like you know these characters.I'm in recovery and he got it exactly right.The chase for drugs and the anticipation and finally the relief of the score.Great debut!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Solid

The story kept me interested all the way through. Jeremy Bobb’s narration is reminiscent of Ray Liota’s voiceover in Goodfellas, but different enough so that it’s not obnoxious.
I felt like it meandered at the end, and it lacks proper closure, but all in all I would recommend this book to a friend, and it’s worthy of a reread in a few years.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Blown away...

I was deeply touched by this book. The material is dark and tragic but beautifully written in a voice that touches your soul. It was heartbreaking.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • RGB
  • SC, USA
  • 08-31-18

Unsentimental account of a life gone to drugs

Nicole Walker makes it clear that this story is fiction but it is a realistic account of a life quite similar to his own.
Brutally honest but never playing the poor me card, he describes in clear, sometimes harsh and frequently profane language a life of a decent kid who joins the Army, goes to the Middle East and becomes a drug addict, bank robber and then gets caught.
I have read a number of accounts of soldiers from the endless Iraq and Afghanistan battlefields and I understand their frustrations and PTSD but the drug use is hard to blame solely on war experience.
I hope he gets out of prison and pursues more writing. He is a unique and honest voice
The performance of this book was outstanding

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • IAN
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • 08-18-18

Depths

I heard of this book in an interview with the author. He was reading excerpts. The words flowing from a troubled mind over the phone line from prison.
I am glad audible had the book already. A stream of youth driven by addiction and aimless pursuit. No parallels for me but a clarifying look into another world I need not inhabit. But a better understanding. Empathy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Hilarious at times, but........

While I admit, I quite literally laughed out loud in a few spots in the book, it just didn’t have much to it. The story is dreadfully slow at points and it lacks much of a plot at all....or character development for that matter. In the end, the crude humor kept me from completely abandoning the book, but it fell way short of my expectations.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A little disappointed

I listened to an interview with the author on NPR and I did not realize that this was a "novel" and not the author's life story. I was expecting a lot more from that book - the review in the Washington Post was excellent - and I was therefore a little disappointed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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reaaaaall entertaining, fun and gritty

the humor comes unexpectedly, and nonchalantly. it was a fun listen. in in in in in

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tom
  • St. Louis
  • 08-27-18

Grips and holds

The story is not altogether easy to hear but the author’s craft is outstanding. He’s honest, simple and often humorous. I can’t remember another book that made me laugh during truly horrific story moments like this one did.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful