Do you pay attention to author blurbs and early reviews when you're deciding whether or not to read a book?

Here’s what readers are saying about Andrew Lewis Conn’s rollicking and ambitious novel: that it recalls Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and E. L. Doctorow’s Ragtime as it follows two filmmakers on an unlikely journey, while exploring the complexities of race, class, sexuality, and success in early twentieth century America.

“A wildly ambitious and entertaining novel that manages to be both slapstick and deeply tragic . . . . As a tale of two continents during a period of significant upheaval, this audacious novel encompasses not merely the essence of America and the art of moviemaking, but the nature of time. To bring this full circle, maybe the Coen brothers could adapt the vision of the Grand brothers for the big screen.”
– Kirkus (starred review)

“Andrew Lewis Conn has written a strange, cool, hilarious and oddly moving masterpiece. DeLillo and Bellow have both sunk roots into Conn’s prose, but the results are uniquely his own. O Africa! is a thing of wonder.”
– Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story

“A wise, irresistible comedy of artists, gangsters, hustlers, brothers, lovers and kings set at the end of the era of American silent film. Andrew Lewis Conn writes with a daring, vital, great-hearted brilliance. O Africa! moves with the swiftness of light and illuminates our present moment most ingeniously.”
– Mary-Beth Hughes, author of Double Happiness

“Andrew Lewis Conn’s O, Africa! is one of the funniest and saddest books I’ve read in years. It’s a tender satire of the heroic age of American film, and the same time a heartbreaking portrait of two brothers lost in the images of their time, and their hearts’ desires. Conn knows what he’s talking about, and he writes with a Bellow-esque vigor that cranks the story into flickering, shimmering life.”
– Paul La Farge, author of Luminous Airplanes

“It’s been—actually, don’t remind me how many years—since Conn’s singularly audacious debut, and though O, Africa! charts an exciting new course, the author remains as he was: besotted by the movies and drunk on words.”
– Ed Park, author of Personal Days

Congrats to Michelle R., Rosanne C., Amanda I., Edward H., Betty V., and 95 other members of the Read It Forward community! Their entries were selected at random to win an Advance Reader’s Copy of O, Africa! by Andrew Lewis Conn.

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  • Shirley C

    Looking forward to reading O, Africa!

  • christine bender

    I depend more on a combination of all those things. For instance, when shopping at, Amazon.com, I start with book plot description after being intrigued by the book jacket or other photos. Then I’ll look at reader reviews, then publisher blurbs etc. I usually choose quickly altho now I try to buy less on impulse.

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      Thanks, Christine! I’m a sucker for a good cover …

  • Joan McKniff

    Having lived and worked in Africa, I’m looking forward to reading this book. Re buying books, book reviews are my major influencer re what books to read.

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      Wow, Joan, we’ll definitely want to hear what you think!

  • Ruth

    I have been to Zimbabwe and Tanzania so I look forward to reading this book. I always read the reviews….I am very selective, so I like to see what others think.

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      Ooh, have you read Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight?!

  • lalas57

    The UPS truck was here a little over 2 hours ago…the copy of O,Africa I won from Read It Forward!! Already have laughed, been saddened, & agree with a review I had read that maybe the Coen brothers could adapt the story of the Grand brothers to the big screen..it’s a page turner! Again, thank you so much Read It Forward!