One of the Boys

Daniel Magariel

Published: 1 March 2018
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 160 pages
ISBN: 9781783783472


A father and his boys have won 'the war': the father's term for his bitter divorce and custody battle. They leave Kansas and drive through the night to their new apartment in Albuquerque. Settled in new schools, the brothers join basketball teams, make friends. Meanwhile their father works from home, smoking cheap cigars to hide another smell. Soon his missteps - the dead-eyed absentmindedness, the late-night noises, the comings and goings of increasingly odd characters - become sinister, and the boys find themselves watching him transform into someone they no longer recognize.

Set in the stark landscape of New Mexico and the family's cramped apartment, One of the Boys delivers a superbly nuanced portrait of a violent and menacing man, manipulating the world around him that it might service his idea of himself. Brutal and urgent, this masterful debut is a story of survival: two brothers driven to protect each other from the father they once trusted.

About the author

Image of Daniel Magariel

Daniel Magariel received his BA from Columbia University and his MFA from Syracuse University, where he was a Cornelia Carhart Fellow. He has lived in Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Florida, Colorado, and Hawaii. He currently lives in New York with his wife. More about the author


One of the Boys is a captivating portrait of a wayward father, brimming with charm and troubleJustin Torres



One of the Boys packs a huge emotional punch. This is the unflinching story of an abusive father and his two sons after he takes them away from their mother, told using wonderfully stark prose. I was particularly affected by how the younger son begins to copy his father in believing that his mother deserved the beatings she received. It was heartbreaking to see him continually hope that even after the broken promises his father would change. I read this book in one gulp, gripping the page and willing the boys to escape’ Claire Fuller

A deeply affecting portrait of innocence lost. Like Emma Donoghue's Room, One of the Boys is impossible to resist as we root for these young men to escape their brutal (yet charismatic) father. We feel the strength of the child through Magariel's precise, understated and unflinching prose, which builds in emotion and suspense by keeping us very close to how each moment leads to the next. A beautiful debutDana Spiotta, author

Brilliant, urgent, darkly funny, heartbreaking - a tour de force with startling new things to say about class, masculinity, addiction, and family. Daniel Magariel is an exciting new presence in American writing’ George Saunders

‘Convey[ing] unflinchingly the harm that comes from the longing for paternal approval as well as the disastrous consequences of clinging to paradigms of destructive masculinity. It's a dark novel [but] relief comes in the form of nostalgia [and] in the closeness of the relationship between the brothers’ Brian Maye

‘Daniel Magariel's absolutely brilliant and beautiful novel is that rarest thing: an incredibly mature book about kids. Not since I read Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping have I felt so at once in the presence of the magic-logic terrors of childhood and the too real and consequential realms of adults. The children in this novel act like loving, terrified parents; the parents behave like the most destructive of children. Yet Magariel has managed to tell the story of this failing family with so much love and gentleness that the lasting impression of this novel - full of enraging scenes and calamitous decisions - is of the unknowing courage unique to youthRivka Galchen, author

‘Magariel's portrayal of parental treachery, youthful courage and lost innocence is gripping and disquietingCarys Bray

‘With a charismatic, macho, drug-addicted dad, the young narrator pays an awful price to be One of the Boys in the riveting, debut novel by Daniel Magariel. Move over Great Santini, this patriarch is rendered with such artful love, you'll be haunted by his presence long after you close this graceful and heartbreaking bookMary Karr

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