Set in the waning years of the Cold War, under the pall of denial of the Armenian Genocide, THE GIMMICKS follows two cousins from Soviet Armenia to Southern California, and into the contrasting worlds of militant extremism and professional wrestling—one struggling with violence real and denied, the other practicing violence popularly performed and praised. At its core, though, McCormick’s book is a fresh exploration of personal and national identity and the generations-long aftershocks of history and injustice, infused with surprising humor and achingly beautiful storytelling
“Chris McCormick is a novelist of uncommon vision, empathy, and purpose. The Gimmicks crosses continents and decades to tell a remarkable story of historical trauma, friendship, and the moral combat of professional wrestling. Though haunted by ghosts, The Gimmicks is brilliantly, boisterously alive."—Anthony Marra, author of NBCC John Leonard Prize-winning, New York Times bestselling A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
“The Gimmicks is a gorgeous epic that astounds with its scope and beauty. With empathy and humor, McCormick unravels the ties between brotherhood and betrayal, love and abandonment, and the fictions we create to live with the pain of the past. This novel will blow you away.”—Brit Bennett, New York Times bestselling author of The Mothers.
You needn't be well schooled in either [backgammon and pro wrestling] to appreciate the debut novel by McCormic; both serve mainly as metaphors for the mix of smarts, luck, and fakery that are essential to every immigrant survival story… A well-constructed tale about new lands and the ghosts of an old one."—Kirkus Reviews
Chris McCormick is the winner of a Stonewall Book Award—and finalist for the Binghamton University’s John Gardner Fiction Book Award and Saroyan Prize for Fiction—for his novel-in-stories, Desert Boys; he counts among his literary supporters Claire Vaye Watkins, Chigozie Obioma, Brit Bennett, and Karen Russell.