Another Kind of Madness

“A full-bodied literary achievement bustling with sweat, regret, and sound.” —KIESE LAYMON
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Ndiya Grayson returns to her childhood home of Chicago as a young professional, but even her high-end job in a law office can’t protect her from half-repressed memories of childhood trauma. One evening, vulnerable and emotionally disarrayed, she goes out and meets her equal and opposite:

Shame Luther, a no-nonsense construction worker by day and a self-taught piano player by night. The love story that ensues propels them on an unforgettable journey from Chicago’s South Side to the coast of Kenya as they navigate the turbulence of long-buried pasts and an uncertain future.

A stirring novel tuned to the clash between soul music’s vision of our essential responsibility to each other and a world that breaks us down and tears us apart, Another Kind of Madness is an indelible tale of human connection.

Publish Date
5.5 × 8.5 × 1 in
19 oz

Ed Pavlić

Ed Pavlić is the author of Call It in the Air and Visiting Hours at the Color Line, as well as a novel, Another Kind of Madness.

Praise and Prizes

  • “Reader beware. You imagine you hold a book in your hands, but it is a song, a rhythm of words and phrases that shudder the soul. It is not enough that Chicago, Lamu Town—midwestern American, coastal Kenya—and other worlds shift and shimmer and suck you into the madness the book proposes, but you will depart the text with its lyrics ringing in your heart.”

    Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
    author of Dust
  • “A full-bodied literary achievement bustling with sweat, regret, and sound. Pavlić guides his language and characters into holes, onto planes, and through doors I’ve never read or imagined. His narrative audacity and descriptive skill make every sentence and scene in Another Kind of Madness equal parts sorrow song, blues, funk, and of course jazz. I am thoroughly inspired by this new kind of novel that is as at once wholly innovative and in deep conversation with so many Black American literary traditions.”

    Kiese Laymon
    author of Heavy
  • “The pleasure of music and ache of language drive [Pavlić’s] first novel … Characters feed off one another like improvisatory musicians, and, like ‘Finnegan’s Wake,’ the book begins at the end and ends just before the beginning.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • “An ode to Chicago, Kenya, and soul music as humanity’s worldwide hum … In Ed Pavlić’s remarkable and groundbreaking novel, Another Kind of Madness, literary tropes and images are pried loose.”

    Colorado Review
  • “Pavlić delivers a soulful debut novel about love and restoring hope… . In prose by turns lyrical and mesmerizing, Pavlić taps deeply into what it means to be Black in America, tossing in some surprising narrative tricks along the way.”

  • “A beautiful debut novel … Pavlić’s prose is simple yet lyrical, which strikingly depicts not only the intricacies of Ndiya and Shame’s relationship, but also a city and its history, as seen through architectural turnover and musical evolution. This is a moving novel about two people finding the strength to move forward together.”

    Publishers Weekly
  • “This remarkable project, with its lyrical play and experimental structure, shrinks the moment between event and emotion—as well as the distance between text and experience—down to a dot.”

    Africa is a Country
  • Another Kind of Madness is a deliriously gorgeous novel. It is both hallucinatory and cogent, both African and Western, both stormy and gentle, and painted with a language that vibrates the bones. Ed Pavlić, whether we’re talking poetry or prose, is a master vernacularist, an adept cartographer of the human heart, and an artist with such subtle observational dexterity that one might imagine he’s directly in touch with the sublime.”

    Reginald McKnight
    author of He Sleeps
  • “A fiercely vibrant meditation on how the interior life that eludes us returns through the sounds, secrets, and graces of others, through which Ed Pavlić rekindles, in his inimitable way, the meanings of ‘lyric’ and ‘soul.’”

    Emily J. Lordi
    author of Black Resonance
  • “Like a song that lingers in memory, Another Kind of Madness offers us a narrative that both moves and refuses to move, that leaps and at times seems to vanish. By this lyrical rhythm, Ed Pavlić defines diaspora as here but also everywhere and nowhere. In these pages, Black music sounds and surrounds experience like a mysterious house people long to live in but can’t find, a quest where they find themselves ever more deeply involved.”

    Jeffery Renard Allen
    author of Song of the Shank