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Critical Praise

JT LeRoy’s first two books, Sarah and The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, will prove to be among the most influential books of the last ten years. This is not because they are read and understood by everyone; it’s because they are read and loved, rabidly, by thousands of young and very sensitive people who believe that JT speaks for them. He does speak for them, and does so without knowing that he does, and does so with a perfect and bizarre eloquence.”

Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

[The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things] is a fascinating book, a book that instantly stirs the emotions and involves the readers in the lives of the people. It did not take long for the judgments to come fast and furious. That’s what can be so deceitful about this book: you get so caught up in the circumstances and lives of the people you can easily overlook the quality of the writing, which is exceptional. One of the reasons this book is so powerful and effective is because it is beautifully structured and written. JT LeRoy should have a most remarkable future as a writer.”

Hubert Selby, Jr., author of Last Exit to Brooklyn

[JT LeRoy] has the ability to grab hold of madness and transmute it into real and powerful writing.”

Art Spiegelman, artist/author of Maus

I hope it’s fiction!”

Robert Crumb

An eyewitness’s imagination burns in his language, which is as vivid as a match held close to the face.”

The New York Times

JT’s stories are like stitches, like exit wounds, dispatches, depositions. He is the brilliant, gifted, and profound fly on the wall.”

Tom Waits

I’m reading The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things by JT LeRoy. It’s blowing my mind, just the directness of the prose.”

Bono Vox (U2)

Smoke and mirrors aside, JT LeRoy is just plain and simple a great writer. The voice of a generation that got nothing, and expect little more.”

Billy Corgan (The Smashing Pumpkins)

Good Lord, what a book! JT LeRoy’s writing is savagely authentic and appallingly beautiful. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore. Christ, he’s good. He’s a born writer.”

John Waters, writer/director of Pink Flamingos

JT LeRoy is one of the most interesting, passionate and gifted of writers, very few have his heart and courage. I admire his writing tremendously.”

Lou Reed (The Velvet Underground)

Sarah is weird, darkly funny and haunting. JT LeRoy has a gift, to be able to articulate his world so clearly and astringently, with grace and humor, but without glossing over the pain and brutality of it.”

Suzanne Vega

Like a cross between Nathanael West and Mark Twain, drunk out of their minds and collaborating on Charlie’s Angels meets The Headless HorsemanSarah is a wildly comic tour de force and a brilliant debut.”

Mary Gaitskill, author of Two Girls, Fat and Thin

JT LeRoy writes like Flannery O’Connor tied to the bed and plied with angel dust. Sarah is an exhilarating, hysterical and beautifully written disturbing novel. An off-the-map brilliant, brutally funny debut.”

Jerry Stahl, author of Perv: A Love Story and Permanent Midnight

[Sarah] is one of the most beautiful, shocking, disturbing pieces of fiction I’ve seen in years. You won’t believe it until you’ve read it. It makes Bastard Out of Carolina seem like a day at the beach. But like that book, it too is crafted from careful perfect language and buoyed up by a spirit so strong as to draw tears from my eyes.”

Lewis Nordan, author of Lightning Song

LeRoy’s work is a startling achievement in his accelerating mastery of the literary form.”

Publishers Weekly

With my hand on my heart, the best I’ve read. JT writes straight from the hip and the heart and the brain.”

Zadie Smith, author of White Teeth

Likes hordes of others, I bob behind the parade float of the invisible JT LeRoy, and stand at the ready to see what he wears, hear what he sings, read what he writes. [Harold’s End] is another great offering from his singular oeuvre.”

Mary Karr, author of The Liars’ Club

JT LeRoy has succeeded in writing the perfect novel.”

Shirley Manson (Garbage)

LeRoy brushed achingly close to duplicating Genet’s legerdemain — mythologizing self-abasement so as to transform it into glorious apotheosis.”

The New York Times


thrillingly authentic fictions”

The Guardian

[JT LeRoy’s] stories delve into hot wire topics like sexual and physical abuse with unselfconscious grace and imagination. Few writers can deliver LeRoy’s sense of a child in the hands of angry adults — or handle it with such assurance.”

The Village Voice

Sarah is surprising, upsetting, offensive, and fun. It’s everything a good read — or good sex for that matter — should be.”

Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club

I’m dancing through Sarah. I read and I die.”

John Cameron Mitchell, director of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Rabbit Hole.

Harold’s End is an authentic and deeply moving masterwork, imbued with the author’s own sweetness and absolute lack of judgment — one of the most honest and distinctive voices in American fiction.”

Nan Goldin

This book is a difficult but amazing story. He is so major, you won’t believe it. Sarah is going to blow your mind. I don’t have the adjectives to describe how I feel.”

Stephan Jenkins (Third Eye Blind)

I have just finished reading Sarah and found it incredible, very moving, very sad and very beautiful.”

PJ Harvey

I read Sarah in one sitting. It was amazing — very funny, very touching, beautifully written. I read The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things and was completely blown away by it, more so even than Sarah. I thought it was going to be short stories but Heart’s a novel. Wow. I’m in awe.”

Poppy Z. Brite, author of Lost Souls and Liquor

JT LeRoy’s Sarah is a revelation. It makes you realize how overused words like original and inspired have become. LeRoy’s writing has a passion, economy, emotional depth, and lyric beauty so authentic that it seems to bypass every shopworn standard we’ve learned to expect of contemporary fiction. This is a novel gripped by an intense, gorgeous, yet strangely refined imagination, and its experience is unforgettable.”

Dennis Cooper, author of All Ears and Period

Sarah has a strong seductive quality, and it is impossible to forget. LeRoy’s ability to present trauma and tenderness simultaneously is entirely his own. ‘This book is nothing short of a miracle,’ LeRoy has said. I have to agree.”

New Statesman

[JT LeRoy] has a genuinely authoritative voice … truly remarkable.”


[Sarah] glows with perverse imagination and linguistic prowess. It hypnotized me. I couldn’t help entering its magical world or surrendering to its desperate, comic characters. These truckers, their prostitutes and their pimps are on hilariously ruthless survival trips, but even so, they are full of humanity. The protagonist is a brilliant, resourceful adolescent set adrift in a world of grifters, and he is unforgettably touching and poetic.”

Bruce Benderson, author of James Bidgood

JT LeRoy has given us a beautiful, haunting tale of the survival of the spirit.”

Allison Anders, writer/director of Gas Food Lodging, Mi vida loca, and Grace of My Heart

Extraordinarily, LeRoy manages to lace this horrific story with tenderness and humour. Not for the fainthearted, these few raw pages constitute a breathtaking debut.”

The Guardian

JT LeRoy’s novel Sarah is road-kill beautiful. Road-kill in the sense that LeRoy’s next-to-heart prose style is raw, misspoken scary, stunning, and goes directly to the sore place where we live. LeRoy has written a book for those of us who love to read. Despite the darkness of the journey there is always hope. Fiction has a new hero and his name is Sarah.”

Tom Spanbauer, author of The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon

LeRoy manages to write simply about the most tangled of emotions — and to describe, without hatred or self-pity, the most monstrous of deeds.”


LeRoy demonstrates how devastating a few carefully chosen words can be.”

San Francisco Chronicle

Extraordinary. LeRoy writes with astonishing flair and confidence, making Sarah a very impressive debut indeed.”

The Sunday Telegraph

All narrative art needs to be authentic, otherwise it will fail to convince us of its world. When the subject is a homeless teenage junkie and his pet snail, as in [Harold’s End], it can’t avoid the bleak and the brutal. But LeRoy’s writing uniquely allows the sweetness of childhood to seep through the muck, making the story painfully and hopelessly profound.”

Juergen Teller

Full of Virginian folklore and miracles, at times Sarah reads like a fairy story. But it’s also about abuse, addiction, and the pain of motherly rejection: a beautiful, scary, sad and funny book.”

The Face

I was gripped by every page. I loved it! JT LeRoy is an original. What I love about JT is the truth — the truth is always new, the truth as one knows it. It shines from his pages.”

Paula Fox, author of The Slave Dancer

Harold’s End is a shockingly complex, yet subtle work of art. Multi-layered, sad, but at all times human, never condescending, never judgmental. This is masterful writing by one of America’s best.”

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

One of the great literary art projects of the last twenty years.”

Brett Easton Ellis, author of American Psycho

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