Reeling from a terrifying assault that has left him physically injured and psychologically shattered, nineteen-year-old Brad Land must also contend with unsympathetic local police, parents who can barely discuss “the incident” (as they call it), a brother riddled with guilt but unable to slow down enough for Brad to keep up, and the feeling that he’ll never be normal again. When Brad’s brother enrolls at Clemson University and pledges a fraternity, Brad believes he’s being left behind once and for all. Desperate to belong, he follows. What happens there—in the name of “brotherhood,” and with the supposed goal of forging a scholar and a gentleman from the raw materials of boyhood—involves torturous late-night hazing, heartbreaking estrangement from his brother, and, finally, the death of a fellow pledge. Ultimately, Brad must weigh total alienation from his newfound community against accepting a form of brutality he already knows too well.
A searing memoir of masculinity, violence, and brotherhood, Goat provides an unprecedented window into the emotional landscape of young men and introduces a writer of uncommon grace and power.
About the Author
Brad Land studied creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where he received his M.F.A., and Western Michigan University, where he served as nonfiction editor of Third Coast. He has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and now lives in South Carolina.
Praise for Goat: A Memoir…
“This is a breathtaking book, a rough ride over the emotions of
adolescence and the brutal business of being an American man. Land's voice is distinct, melancholic, and original; the book is a wonderful debut.”–Susan Orlean
"An incredible memoir–riveting and relentless, shocking, brutal, just savagely good. And yet. Beautiful and brave." –Augusten Burroughs, bestselling author of Running with Scissors
"This is the most astonishing debut I've ever read. Goat is beguiling, brutal and tender at once. By giving us an honest portrait of the love between brothers, Brad Land holds up a mirror to the lie of false fraternity." -Haven Kimmel, author of A Girl Named Zippy
"At once harrowingly violent and heartachingly tender, Brad Land's memoir throws you into a world where brutality, love, loneliness, anger, brotherhood and a desire to belong are inextricably and fatally entwined. As a narrator, Land is able to articulate his inner turmoil with an honesty that is as riveting as it is disarming. Goat should be required reading for every scared, isolated, naive teenage boy who thinks that joining a fraternity might solve his problems. And required reading for anyone who's ever loved someone they didn't understand." -Thisbe Nissen, author of The Good People of New York
“Written with a heart seared with pain and a pen filled with passion, Brad Land's tale is street-fight brutal and gut-wrench tragic. It is a book that every teenager should read and every parent must read, especially those of us with sons. Goat never lets go. It rips and shreds us with blade-sharp dialogue and a relentless pace, all the while exposing the bravest of souls and the most gentle of hearts.” –Lorenzo Carcaterra, author of Gangster and Street Boys
“Brad Land's talent as a writer is his ability to be completely vulnerable on the page, yet command absolute control over his language. It is taut, lean, and suggestive of a highly refined intelligence grounded in instinct. Goat is a book of great muscularity, bearing witness to the violence our culture enacts in the name of ritual. Brad Land shows us through the strength of his storytelling that cruelty not only kills, but maims our souls, one victim at a time.” –Terry Tempest Williams, author of Leap and Red– Passion and Patience in the Desert