Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction
Winner of the Gotham Book Prize

One of Barack Obama's "Favorite Books of the Year"

Oprah's Book Club Pick

Named one of the Top Ten Books of the Year by the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly and TIME Magazine

A Washington Post Notable Novel

From the author of the National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird and the bestselling modern classic The Color of Water, comes one of the most celebrated novels of the year.

In September 1969, a fumbling, cranky old church deacon known as Sportcoat shuffles into the courtyard of the Cause Houses housing project in south Brooklyn, pulls a .38 from his pocket, and, in front of everybody, shoots the project’s drug dealer at point-blank range.

The reasons for this desperate burst of violence and the consequences that spring from it lie at the heart of Deacon King Kong, James McBride’s funny, moving novel and his first since his National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird. In Deacon King Kong, McBride brings to vivid life the people affected by the shooting: the victim, the African-American and Latinx residents who witnessed it, the white neighbors, the local cops assigned to investigate, the members of the Five Ends Baptist Church where Sportcoat was deacon, the neighborhood’s Italian mobsters, and Sportcoat himself.

As the story deepens, it becomes clear that the lives of the characters—caught in the tumultuous swirl of 1960s New York—overlap in unexpected ways. When the truth does emerge, McBride shows us that not all secrets are meant to be hidden, that the best way to grow is to face change without fear, and that the seeds of love lie in hope and compassion.

Bringing to these pages both his masterly storytelling skills and his abiding faith in humanity, James McBride has written a novel every bit as involving as The Good Lord Bird and as emotionally honest as The Color of Water. Told with insight and wit, Deacon King Kong demonstrates that love and faith live in all of us.

Deacon King Kong (James McBride) Book Discussions

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James McBride - Deacon King Kong Book Reviews

Very badBad.Score: 1/5

Deacon King KongI read to the end. Liked Sister Gee. The Eric arc was foolish..Score: 4/5

A jaunt through lifeThis story teller describes every human condition finding the humorous in the absurdity of our foibles..Score: 5/5

BeautifulThis books starts off so rocky. The names alone are enough to make you stop reading. But they also so intriguing you want to know more about what the heck is going on. The development of each character evolves into the people you know someway or another. No matter what walk of life you are from you can relate to someone in this book. This is the first book that I have read by McBride but I will say he captured what it means to build a community. It truly does take a village and sometimes your village is surrounded by demons but with faith and trust in what is right God smiles on you and gives you exactly what you need to be the best version of yourself. Bravo for showing the world that good old fashion values are always what is most important no matter what walk of life you come from or what is thrown in your way. Even a fast ball!!.Score: 5/5

RrerrreeeorrtedrrrrRight r.Score: 3/5

Great bookYou would have thought I was watching a good movie while reading this book. I shed a tear once but mostly laughed out loud. I’m so glad I saw it being shared on social media..Score: 5/5

What a ReadI started out confused with all of the fabricated names. The middle seemed to drag, but then Wow! All of the description and character development crescendoed into a touching, moving, funny yet sad ending. Excellent book and I feel I gained insight and a new thoughtfulness..Score: 5/5

Too muchWaaaaaay to many characters whose lives where too unimportant to invest myself in. I only made it 1/4 of the way thru, and literally had to force myself to go THAT far..Score: 2/5

ExcellentSerious but with humor, sensitivity, and love.Score: 4/5

Deacon King KongExceptional. Filled with love and hope and respect for our American past. Loved it!.Score: 5/5

Too dull to get throughNot worth the time.Score: 1/5

Struggle and fulfillment in the Heart of New York CityThis is an action-packed book, filled with plot twists and fascinating characters. The plot has a Dickensian feel to it, and many of the main characters seem a bit absurd at first, particularly the main character. However, as the story progresses, their painful life stories come into focus, and we cannot help admire them. Above all, the book describes the failed promises of life in New York for its many transplants, such as African Americans who fled the South and other places, as well as the Italian community. This is a good book to read and re-read, as the author packs many important details and insights into every page..Score: 5/5

I love you my loveYou are the best ever and you patience it’s fenomenal we work allways with.Score: 5/5

NiceCan be a bit confusing at first but is wonderful, funny, and realistic to some extent.Score: 5/5

Fabulous thought provoking tapestryA complicated tale of loyalty, the repercussions of a diaspora, god, gangsters, and love, but most of all a touching depiction of Sportcoat Deacon who in his inimitable bumbling drunken fashion turns his world upside down..Score: 5/5

IndelibleDeeply engrossing and satisfying storytelling with energetic yet poignant prose. Everyone once in awhile a book comes along that so captures the imagination that you mourn its ending. This is one of those books..Score: 5/5

A Good Ole Black StoryOne of my favorite reads. So specific and visceral. MUST READ!.Score: 5/5

Awesome Book!This story had so many twists and turns in it to keep you reading in want of knowing what happens next. Anyone looking for a great story this is it..Score: 5/5

Spike Lee in literature formAbsolutely loved DKK from start to finish. Such an eclectic cast of characters that I found myself constantly going back to re-read so I could fully process and re-process all of the rich details McBride includes about them. The story can be heavy, but is ultimately an uplifting community tale filled with humor that really reminded me of what I love about Spike Lee’s filmography (which is funny, since Lee adapted McBride’s “Miracle at St. Anna”). Strongly recommend this for anyone looking for something that’s a fun read, yet thoroughly thought provoking..Score: 5/5

AWe w saw e wwwaaaassaawwttw.Score: 2/5

Long Live Deacon King Kong!So, if you're southern then this book will speak it you in such a gracious way. The dialect reminded me of my grandparents. It was such an easy read what actually spoke about so heavy issues. It was funny. It was loving. And it was compassionate. A great read for troubling times..Score: 5/5

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Other James McBride Books
Deacon King Kong
Deacon King KongJames McBride3.5/5$8.99

Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction   Winner of the Gotham Book PrizeOne of Barack Obama's "Favorit...

The Good Lord Bird
The Good Lord BirdJames McBride4/5$12.99

Now a Showtime limited series starring Ethan Hawke and Daveed DiggsWinner of the National Book Award for...

Kill 'Em and Leave
Kill 'Em and LeaveJames McBride3.5/5$4.99

“You won’t leave this hypnotic book without feeling that James Brown is still out there, howling.”—The Boston Globe 

The Color of Water
The Color of WaterJames McBride4/5$9.99

The New York Times bestselling story from the author of The Good Lord Bird, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for ...

Song Yet Sung
Song Yet SungJames McBride4/5$13.99

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Lord Bird, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction, Deacon Ki...

Miracle at St. Anna
Miracle at St. AnnaJames McBride4/5$12.99

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Lord Bird, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction, and Deacon K...

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