Nightcrawling : Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2022

4.28 (862 ratings by Goodreads)
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When there is no choice, all you have left to do is walk.

Kiara Johnson does not know what it is to live as a normal seventeen-year-old. With her mother in a rehab facility and an older brother who devotes his time and money to a recording studio, she fends for herself - and for nine-year-old Trevor, whose own mother is prone to disappearing for days at a time. As the landlord of their apartment block threatens to raise their rent, Kiara finds herself walking the streets after dark, determined to survive in a world that refuses to protect her.

Then one night Kiara is picked up by two police officers, and the gruesome deal she is offered in exchange for her freedom lands her at the centre of a media storm. If she agrees to testify in a grand jury trial, she could help expose the sickening corruption of a police department. But honesty comes at a price - one that could leave her family vulnerable to their retaliation, and endanger everyone she loves.

Nightcrawling is an unforgettable novel about young people navigating the darkest corners of an adult world, told with a humanity that is at once agonising and utterly mesmerising.


'A MAGNIFICENT DEBUT' RUTH OZEKI, winner of the Women's Prize for Fiction 2022



'Nightcrawling is a lyrical masterpiece' *****

'This book ripped my heart out' *****

'Unputdownable . . . From the first page I was hooked' *****

'This is a heart-achingly necessary book which will carve a hole in your soul and stay with you forever' *****

'It is rare to read a first novel so perfectly crafted' *****

'This is an absolute must-read. Five stars out of five' *****

'Completely gripping . . . This is going to be a huge bestseller' *****
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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 153 x 234 x 30mm | 556g
  • Bloomsbury Circus
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1526634562
  • 9781526634566
  • 44,666

Review quote

Nineteen-year-old poet Leila Mottley has been hailed as the 'voice of a generation', a claim that seems less hyperbolic the more you read of her assured, moving and powerful fiction debut . . . Freighted with sentences of tough lyricism, it feels like an immense achievement * Daily Mail * A rare and compelling meditation on the powerless . . . Not only a fearless investigation of justice, guilt and prejudice, but an allegory of the potential power of speech, narrative and fiction itself . . . Nightcrawling marks the dazzling arrival of a young writer with a voice and vision you won't easily get out of your head * Guardian * She whips through the plot, packing poetic punch after punch . . . Now that Mottley has found her own voice, America - and readers in the UK - will be watching * i paper * Both a searing depiction of sexual exploitation and a gripping account of a struggle for survival... Grimly captivating ... Rich and inventive * Economist * An uncommonly assured debut . . . Nightcrawling is written with a poet's ear and a novelist's sense of character, structure and ambience * Observer * Mottley's fluid, instinctive writing soars . . . This feels like a remarkable debut, one that holds an illuminating if unflattering mirror to modern America. It is exciting to wonder what might lie ahead for this writer * Sunday Times * Kiara is as virtuous and put-upon as any heroine in Dickens. But she is always a lively presence on the page even at her most downtrodden, thanks to her expressive narrative voice ... the risks she takes generally pay off so well that one finishes the book grumbling: nobody who has just turned twenty has any business writing this well * Sunday Telegraph * Leila Mottley has a poet's delicate touch when she tells us the most brutal, heart-crushing truths. This is an electrifying debut -- Dave Eggers This book proves its author is a literary star in the making * Elle * Unflinching, poetic and deeply resonant, this stunning debut from Oakland teen Leila Mottley marks the arrival of an extraordinary new voice * Woman's Own * With its powerful poetry and courageous, unsparing vision, Nightcrawling is more than just a magnificent debut novel. It is a bid, by this prodigiously gifted young writer, to heal a broken world -- Ruth Ozeki, Women's Prize-winning author of THE BOOK OF FORM AND EMPTINESS The writing in Leila Mottley's Nightcrawling erupts and flows like lava, makes hot bright an Oakland that runs the city's uncontrollable brilliance, its destructive and generative veins the same, Mottley's energetic writing here too, bursts at the seams of every page, pushing you deeper into a story you can't help but continue swallowing, stay thirsty for, while it swallows you whole -- Tommy Orange, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize Leila Mottley has an extraordinary gift. She writes with the humility and sparkle of a child, but with the skill and deft touch of a wizened, seasoned storyteller -- James McBride Leila Mottley's commanding debut, inspired by the life events of one woman's struggle for body and soul against crushing exploitation, is fierce and devastating, rendered with electrifying urgency by this colossal young talent -- Ayana Mathis Nightcrawling is a scorching, incredibly readable book that takes seriously the task of readerly provocation on every page. Get ready. Or don't. It doesn't matter. Leila Mottley is here -- Kiese Laymon, author of HEAVY A blistering exploration of power * Stylist Loves *
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About Leila Mottley

Leila Mottley is the 2018 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate. Her work has been featured in the New York Times and Oprah Daily. She was born and raised in Oakland and continues to live in the Town. Nightcrawling is her first novel.
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Rating details

862 ratings
4.28 out of 5 stars
5 49% (426)
4 35% (299)
3 11% (99)
2 3% (26)
1 1% (12)
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