Here Come the Dogs

A Novel

An incendiary literary debut that seethes with the anger, frustration, and powerlessness of young multicultural Australia

“This stunning novel has such swaggering exuberance that it will make most other fiction you read this year seem criminally dull. You have been warned.” —Irvine Welsh

In small-town suburban Australia, three young men from three different ethnic backgrounds—one Samoan, one Macedonian, one not sure—are ready to make their mark. Solomon is all charisma, authority, and charm, a failed basketball player down for the moment but surely not out. His half-brother, Jimmy, bounces along in his wake, underestimated, waiting for his chance to announce himself. Aleks, their childhood friend, loves his mates, his family, and his homeland and would do anything for them. The question is, does he know where to draw the line?

Solomon, Jimmy, and Aleks are way out on the fringe of Australia, looking for a way in. Hip-hop, basketball, and graffiti give them a voice. Booze, women, and violence pass the time while they wait for their chance. Under the oppressive summer sun, their town has turned tinder-dry. All it’ll take is a spark.

As the surrounding hills roar with flames, the change storms in. But it’s not what they were waiting for. It never is.

Praise

“Omar Musa is a brother to the world. His words inspire courage and a genuine desire to experience justice in the modern world.”
—Marc E. Bassy
“Omar Musa’s writing is tough and tender, harsh and poetic, raw and beautiful; it speaks to how we live and dream now. This novel broke my heart a little, but it also made me ecstatic at the possibilities of what the best writing can do. His voice is genuine, new, and exciting; his voice roars.”
—Christos Tsiolkas, author of The Slap
“Musa’s writing is beautiful, absolutely beautiful. Here Come the Dogs is vision and transformation, the highest form. You’ll see a new Australia and hear a new and vital voice.”
—David Vann, author of Aquarium and Caribou Island
“The streets are alive with the sound of Omar Musa! Blood and fire, destruction and generation, nightmares and dreams, all converge in this breathtaking rendering of the forever-journey of masculine coming-of-age. Musa is a sterling stylist and the combination of poetry and prose, literary narrative and hip-hop verse in Here Come the Dogs does that impossible thing: creates a work unlike any other.”
—Porochista Khakpour, author of The Last Illusion and Sons and Other Flammable Objects
“At once tender, beautiful, gritty, and raw.”
The Guardian
“This stunning debut novel has such swaggering exuberance that it will make most other fiction you read this year seem criminally dull. You have been warned.”
—Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting
“America please meet Omar Musa, a writer with the attuned ear of a great poet, the narrative gifts of seasoned novelist, and no slight exposure to the beautiful struggle. This book is like one of those hip-hop songs that forevermore becomes an anthem—this time for the disenfranchised aspirants of Australia. Read him now or suffer for it.”
—Mitchell S. Jackson, author of The Residue Years
“A beautiful and angry book. Musa is a poet and every page of this book speaks to his ferocious talent.”
—Fatima Bhutto, author of The Shadow of the Crescent Moon

News and Reviews

The New Yorker

Read a review of Here Come the Dogs in The New Yorker's "Briefly Noted"

The Guardian

The Guardian profiles Omar Musa and his debut novel

Los Angeles Times

"With compassion and urgency, Here Come the Dogs excavates the pain of those who struggle to remain part of a ruthless equation that has been determined by others."

Publishers Weekly

"Musa narrates large portions of his story in accessible hip-hop lyrics, lending his novel its edgy, contemporary flavor. This is fully realized depiction of how art and life inform each other.”

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