Thirteen original and interconnected stories in the traditions of Junot Diaz and Sherman Alexie. Victor D. LaValle's astonishing, violent, and funny debut offers harrowing glimpses at the vulnerable lives of young people who struggle not only to come of age, but to survive the city streets. In "ancient history", two best friends graduating from high school fight to be the one to leave first for a better world; each one wants to be the fortunate son. In "pops", an African-American boy meets his father, a white cop from Connecticut, and tries not to care. And in "kids on colden street", a boy is momentarily uplifted by the arrival of a younger sister only to discover that brutality leads only to brutality in the natural order of things. Written with raw candor, grit, and a cautious heart, slapboxing with jesus introduces an exciting and bold new voice in contemporary fiction. LaValle's voices echo long after their stories are told.