The Sarah Book is Scott McClanahan's continuation of the semi-autobiographical story he's been writing over the years about his life in West Virginia. This one is a raw portrait of the destruction of his marriage.
If there's any justice in the literary world — and occasionally there is — McClanahan will get the widespread recognition he's long deserved with The Sarah Book, his tragic and beautiful second novel. It's an unsparing primal scream of a book, and it convincingly makes the case that McClanahan is one of the best American writers of his generation ... loss is the main theme of the novel, and McClanahan explores the topic with an honesty so raw, it's likely to bring tears to your eyes more than once ... The Sarah Book is slim, and there are no wasted words in it. He's a musical writer, and the novel is full of passages that beg to be reread over and over again ... brave, triumphant and beautiful — it reads like a fever dream, and it feels like a miracle.
McClanahan’s prose is a sweaty animal that pounces on the wounded, then drops its kills at our feet and stares mournfully into our eyes. In his eighth work of semi-autobiographical fiction, at the height of his powers, the author bites deeply into himself ... the power of The Sarah Book derives in part from its author’s ability to make the reader feel the depth of his pain in one sentence, then laugh at something awful he did in the next ... Many writers who make their names as experimentalists later settle into more traditional forms. McClanahan, however, continues to explore the outer realms of author-reader engagement, as in this intense, deeply affecting novel.
...one of the most realistic and believable autopsies of a marriage I've ever read ... His literary voice is nakedly emotional one minute and brutally funny the next, but it rarely produces a false note. McClanahan has earned many accolades in the indie-lit scene; The Sarah Book should introduce him to the wider audience his work richly deserves ... McClanahan shows how everyone we get involved with becomes a part of us forever. The Sarah Book is a testament to how the weight of one's failings can be borne with grace.