Editors' Choice, March 2017, New York Times Book Review
"Bojanowski’s writing shines in the vividness of his minor characters, especially those Nolan works with on a renovation in Burnridge. And the book abounds in sharp description — of landscape, the built environment, the play of light — from Nolan’s point of view, illuminating the sensitive soul under the Western hat. The distance between that soul, attuned to beauty and craftsmanship, and the shell Nolan has created for himself is deeply felt throughout. Watching him close the distance is the novel’s greatest pleasure." -Antonie Wilson, New York Times Book Review
"Journeyman is a textured, deceptively linear novel that throws some curves and carries a trace of Cormac McCarthy." ―Booklist
BuzzFeed names Journeyman one of "31 brilliant books that you really must read this Spring."
"A carpenter. An arsonist. A tortured writer. In this beautifully wrought novel, Marc Bojanowski stages a showdown between warring New Western masculinities, using the ghost town of California's tract architecture as backdrop. Angry, rootless, unquenchably romantic, haunted by wars fought and unfought, these lost men have come to tell us something urgent and true about a world they no longer understand." - Jon Raymond, author of Freebird, Rain Dragon, The Half-Life, and Livibility
Nolan Jackson is a journeyman carpenter by trade and an itinerant by nature. While fellow Americans fight in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, he builds tract homes across the west of America, traveling between jobs. Following a shocking workplace accident in his temporary home of Las Vegas, he uproots himself from the relationships he has made to head west towards the ocean. On his way he passes through his brother's town and is forced to stay put after an unexpected accident. Bereft of his car and his tools, with only the little-used and much-neglected mechanisms of his heart, Nolan turns to the task of building the foundations of a meaningful life.
"There is so much to appreciate in this gripping and richly-textured story about searching for meaning in the 21st century American West. Every sentence is a pleasure, each scene is memorable, every conversation a gem. The landscape through which Nolan journeys is depicted with a keen precision, the characters and their predicaments are rendered with an unsentimental tenderness, and the themes this story explores are both timeless and very timely. Journeyman is a masterful novel" -Jean Hegland, author of Into the Forest, The Life Within, Still Time, and Windfalls
"This spare, mesmerizing novel is realist fiction at its best. JOURNEYMAN reminds me of Russel Banks or Richard Ford, but is distinctive and fresh in its own right. Marc Bojanowski delivers contemporary but somehow timeless storytelling that unfolds effortlessly and before you know it an afternoon and and evening has passed, you're near the novel's end, and wish you weren't." -Joe McGinnis Jr., author of The Delivery Man, Carousel Court
"Bojanowski keeps it simple ... his direct, unassuming style keeps the reader engaged in the ultimately optimistic story of Nolan’s attempt to overcome the contradictions in his life." -Herald Scotland
"[The state of the nation novel] offers the chance to examine a snapshot of a country, taking in the many forces at play in its society at a particular point in its history ... Bojanowski's Journeyman follows in that long literary tradition offering us a portrait of the USA through the eyes of a self-styled modern cowboy." -Shiny New Books
"A quiet novel with unexpected depths." -annethology
"Bojanowski’s ending, which is quietly redemptive but far from saccharine, reinforces that: the importance of committing to a place, to people. Of not keeping yourself isolated in the universe." -Elle Thinks
The Dog Fighter (William Morrow, 2004)
A stunning novel set in 1940s Mexico about a young man who becomes involved in a brutally violent spectator sport and must choose his loyalties in the fight for a city’s future. The anonymous narrator of this remarkable novel is a young drifter in search of his future. The son of a passionate beauty and gentle doctor, he roams the border between the United States and Mexico, eventually settling in a sleepy Baja town on the verge of transformation. Here he learns to stand face-to-face with dogs in a makeshift ring, to fight for money and fame, and becomes involved with a powerful and corrupt entrepreneur. But when he finds friendship with a revolutionary old poet and love with a beautiful, innocent girl, everything changes. Caught between the ways of his past and the dreams of his future, he must make a devastating choice that could cost him everything. Written with bold lyricism and magical flair, The Dog Fighter is an exhilarating tale of brutality and violence, love and wisdom, heartbreak and redemption.
"The most exciting debut by an American writer since Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides…. Relentless and remarkable." -Geoff Dyer, author of Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi and White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World
"The Dog Fighter is both terrifying and beautiful . . . a finely crafted novel that makes the courageous move of speaking from and across the racial, national, and linguistic border that separates and joins America and Mexico. Bojanowski gives us a fascinating rogue's tale set in our recent past but a tale that is also thoroughly timely and modern, where age-old and universal themes-love, virtue, redemption-receive keen and careful attention. A mature and important debut." Jeffery Renard Allen, author of Song of the Shank and Rails under My Back
"Remarkable…Bojanowski’s narrator has no name, but he is one of the most profoundly felt characters in recent fiction." -Dale Peck, author of Visions and Revisions and Martin and John
"A rare first novel — fully realized, unbelievably accomplished, and a great read. Bojanowski’s prose shimmers with nuance." -Darcey Steinke, author of Sister Golden Hair and Suicide Blonde
"A dark, romantic tale of 1940s Mexico . . . Bojanowski [is] a daring new voice in American fiction." -Outside
"The book was good. Very literary, but it had a sleazy side I liked." -Eric Beetner, criminalelement.com
"Auspicious . . . Bojanowski vividly conjures the voice of a strong, confused soul straining against desires and limitations he only half comprehends." -Washington Post Book World
"A finely crafted story about our eternal desire for violence." -Newsweek
"A pulse erupts that keeps you reading . . . on a wave of some spectacular imagery and writing." -Los Angeles Times
"There are a couple of striking things about Marc Bojanowski's first novel, a blood-sopped, sun-baked coming-of-age story. One is his skillful and career- ensuring use of language. The other is his chosen setting for a tale whose ending is the very terminus of a soul."