Dark, humid, sweet, dirt, football, religion, death, sex, magic - all words that describe Alabama and this book. It’s something like a fable, making the familiar of the deep American South foreign through eyes of a German family in order to question the place’s most deep-rooted beliefs - faith and what’s forbidden. These characters, the foreign boy, his teammates, the Judge, and the witch, are mesmerizing, as is Hudson’s writing; you will be hypnotized.— Chris Lee
Best Books of the Year • Esquire
Best Books of the Month • Entertainment Weekly, Lambda Literary, Southern Review of Books
Longlisted • Crook’s Corner Book Prize
Kirkus Reviews • 10 Summer Book Club Picks
O, The Oprah Magazine • "LGBTQ Books That'll Change the Literary Landscape in 2020"
Lit Hub • "Most Anticipated Books by LGBTQ Authors For the First Half of 2020"
Ms. Magazine • "Reads for the Rest of Us: Feminist Books Coming Out in 2020"
Stylist • "10 Brilliant LGBTQ+ Books to Add to Your Reading List Right Now"
A Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance "Okra" Pick
“A gripping, uncanny, and queer exploration of being a boy in America, told with detail that dazzles and disturbs.” —Michelle Tea, author of Against Memoir
In this bewitching debut novel, a sensitive teen, newly arrived in Alabama, falls in love, questions his faith, and navigates a strange power. While his German parents don’t know what to make of a South pining for the past, shy Max thrives in the thick heat. Taken in by the football team, he learns how to catch a spiraling ball, how to point a gun, and how to hide his innermost secrets.
Max already expects some of the raucous behavior of his new, American friends—like their insatiable hunger for the fried and cheesy, and their locker room talk about girls. But he doesn’t expect the comradery—or how quickly he would be welcomed into their world of basement beer drinking. In his new canvas pants and thickening muscles, Max feels like he’s “playing dress-up.” That is until he meets Pan, the school “witch,” in Physics class: “Pan in his all black. Pan with his goth choker and the gel that made his hair go straight up.” Suddenly, Max feels seen, and the pair embarks on a consuming relationship: Max tells Pan about his supernatural powers, and Pan tells Max about the snake poison initiations of the local church. The boys, however, aren’t sure whose past is darker, and what is more frightening—their true selves, or staying true in Alabama.
Writing in verdant and visceral prose that builds to a shocking conclusion, Genevieve Hudson “brilliantly reinvents the Southern Gothic, mapping queer love in a land where God, guns, and football are king” (Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks). Boys of Alabama becomes a nuanced portrait of masculinity, religion, immigration, and the adolescent pressures that require total conformity.
About the Author
Originally from Alabama, Genevieve Hudson has received fellowships from the Fulbright Program, MacDowell, Caldera Arts, and Vermont Studio Center. She was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist for Pretend We Live Here: Stories and lives in Portland, Oregon.
Hudson’s writing is magnetic. It’s like the Kristen Stewart of prose – chameleon-like, layered, funny and serious and sad, really gay, and so attractive.... It wrecked me, just like I wanted.... Hudson grew up in Alabama, and their complex relationship with the place shines through in this story, which quietly and then loudly hurtles toward a climax that had me staring into space for a full 10 minutes after I read it.
— Sarah Neilson, Them, "5 Queer Books We Loved in 2020"
Debut novelist Hudson sets her unique coming-of-age tale in a hot, swampy Alabama steeped in football and God. . . . This is a little southern gothic, a little supernatural, and a little reminiscent of Wiley Cash’s suspenseful A Land More Kind than Home (2012).
— Kathy Sexton, Booklist
Boys of Alabama brilliantly reinvents the Southern Gothic... An absolutely magical novel.
— Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks
A gripping, uncanny, and queer exploration of being a boy in America, told with detail that dazzles and disturbs.
— Michelle Tea, author of Against Memoir
Genevieve Hudson dismantles and spins a new category of fairy tale for us, one that’s equal parts dirt and splendor. A glinting, dark beauty. An incantation.
— T Kira Madden, author of Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girl
This novel is a love song to outsiders of all kinds, a queer love story about the ways we find to heal ourselves and each other, and proof that there can be magic amid the burdens of masculinity.
— Melissa Febos, author of Whip Smart and Abandon Me
Genevieve Hudson has conjured a novel that sets place as a touchstone. Every field is alive: every leaf, every insect, every crawling thing. Hands beget love, words set like sweetness on the tongue. The magic contained in Boys of Alabama's pages isn't just fixed in the beauty of its sentences; it's seen in the way that Hudson carefully crafts the intimacy between people and how she tenderly exposes queerness. This book is a fragile web, full of longing and ache and regret.
— Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things
Genevieve Hudson creates a new American erotics of longing and belonging, flush with want and desire, hope and home, translation and transformation.
— Matt Bell, author of Scrapper
Hudson goes right to a place where violence comes from—uncomfortably close to desire for magic, God, sex, whatever might actually heal us—and doesn’t turn away.
— Kristin Dombek, author of The Selfishness of Others
One of the finest—and weirdest!—first novels I’ve read in quite some long time.
— Tom Bissell, author of Apostle and coauthor of The Disaster Artist
Boys of Alabama perfectly captures the magic and inevitable heartache of young lust.
— Kimberly King Parsons, author of Black Light
[Depicts] a brand of Southern-fried masculinity that is immediately recognizable and startlingly fresh. This is an exquisite book.
— Nick White, author of How to Survive a Summer
Reminds us that behind so many of America’s most rigid beliefs lies the lonely human heart: twitchy, slippery, alive.
— Mikkel Rosengaard, author of The Invention of Ana