NAZARÉ (PM Press, 2021)

Nazaré is an incantation, an allegory, and a prophecy. With imaginative and ornate linguistic skills, and a brutal naturalism veiled by a fairy-tale opening and the spinning of mythical plots, Amaworo Wilson creates for us a world of turmoil . . .” Yang Yiyi, World Literature Today

“Amaworo Wilson’s story is a wonder, thick with magical and imaginative details. There are village houses constructed of forks and flotsam; ancient tortoises that act as judges; and caves that measure the worth of weary travelers. Such rich accouterments are matched in power only by the promise at the novel’s center: that even when circumstances seem hopeless, justice can prevail. Nazaré is a marvelous literary feat.” Michelle Anne Schingler, Foreword Reviews – starred review

“A smart meditation on despotism disguised as a fantastical tale … Nazaré entertains as much as it sheds light on some of the cruelest travesties of the 20th century. As a literary work, it stands on its own and will transport you to a world where nothing is as it seems.” Mike Maggio, Washington Independent Review of Books

“JJ Amaworo Wilson’s beautiful, captivating new novel takes place on an imaginary island ruled by a dictator . . . yet the book is infused with joy. Nazaré is at once picaresque and politically charged, its gorgeous lyricism balanced by an unflinching refusal to paper over the horrors of the Matanza regime. A tour de force . . . an exceptional novel.” Elizabeth Hand, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

A homeless boy’s attempt to save a washed-up whale foreshadows change when peasants revolt against a dictator. “Nazaré” is a fantasy, but its message is universal: in any world we’d want to live in, good must win out over evil.” Gwen Harvey, Arizona Daily Star

“With his new novel, Nazaré, JJ Amaworo Wilson has created something truly special; from the first chapter, I was mesmerized. With hilariously wacky episodes such as The Popcorn Rebellion, and a hefty dose of magical realism, this novel is parallel to a modern-day fairy tale. [An] extraordinary talent.” Allison Waterman, The Independent

“I knew I had to read this book. . . . [In his descriptions of the setting] Amaworo Wilson makes the reader see a living entity, “sung into existence by the holy wanderers who were the namers of the universe.” . . . [This novel] should be read whether you have a translator nearby or not.” Fabio Fernandes, Ancillary Review of Books

“The story of an oppressed population and a culture of resistance . . . an epic saga of social justice . . . filled with colorful characters, elegant language, [and] a good portion of comic relief.” Carol Duff, Veterans Today

“You … have to read this delightful book.” May Day Books Blog

Nazaré . . . is nuts . . . one of those rare books that I was thinking I wanted to reread when I was only a third of the way in. Think a mix of the magical realism of Gabriel García Márquez with the absurdity of Cervantes. This book is unique and magical and bizarre and I loved it. Bookfoolery blog

Readers who enjoy diverse social inspections will find the story’s magical realism unexpected and its literary roots surprising, but even though Nazaré is hard to easily categorize, it’s a winning, unique social inspection filled with wonder, realization, and social struggle. Donovan’s Bookshelf

“I loved Nazaré from the first to the last page. I even called up a friend to read a passage because it delighted me so. She’s reading it now. The prose is full of life and humor. And magic, of course. There is so much magic.” Tonstant Weader reviews

“Simply superb.” Tom Hester, The Independent Book Review


“Powerful [and] willfully strange.” O, The Oprah Magazine – Ten Titles to Pick up Now, January 2016

“A fabulist and gritty dystopia that is nearly allegorical in its portrayal of the dispossessed.” USA Today

Mr. Wilson, whose influences run from sci-fi to Steinbeck, tells his underdog story with lusty energy, filling it with all manner of portents and miracles, “like something out of the Bible,” as one onlooker exclaims. Here be two-headed wolves, megalithic crocodiles and life-saving dragonflies. And the final battle between the army and the unarmed but united damnificados is the stuff of legend.” Wall Street Journal

“Extraordinary … Damnificados disorients the reader by invoking biblical, mythological, epic and real-life tales in a style that is immediately gripping … [T]here are so many genres to which JJ Amaworo Wilson gives new life in what reads like an homage to the outsiders of all places and periods … wonderful and magical.” Le Monde

“Wilson’s language is simple and for that very reason brilliant. He manages with just a few words to conjure up vivid images in the reader’s mind.” Isabel Metzger, Der Spiegel

“Extraordinary.” LA Progressive

“Take a seat. We are going on an adventure … colorful sculpted characterizations and intricate tableau settings … epic.” The Independent

Damnificados is a great read. Wilson takes this real-life story and molds it into a fantastic fable about the collision between the haves and the have-nots in a fictional South American city.” World Literature Today

“Remarkable … and gritty.” The Washington Post

“From this linguistic crossbreeding springs a novel that is scintillating, all-embracing and epic. For above all it is a history: a joyous tale with a wide-sweeping narrative, written in musical style, in which it is best simply to go with the flow.” La Nouvelle Revue Français

“Social struggles all over the world have for ever been a problematic subject, to which this novel too, reminiscent of magic realism, draws our attention in an impressive manner.” Maria Nowotnick, Buchkultur

“Inspired … Wilson’s novel of magic realism is a modern retelling of the classic hero’s journey, complete with a two-headed beast, a flood of biblical proportion, miraculous healing, and deus ex machina. The author’s elegant language makes even the darkest of situations beautiful. Sure to attract readers who enjoy a touch of magic mixed in with their tales of social justice.” Library Journal

“… A timeless reminder of the strength and character found in those struggling to eke out an existence at the bottom rungs of society. … Thoughtful and intense, but with a core of humility and self-awareness, Damnificados is an extraordinary, magical, inspiring tale of community and conscience.” Foreword Reviews

“JJ Amaworo Wilson writes in epic style with postmodern irony, and draws characters that are both colourful and highly symbolic. … A picaresque, off-the-wall book which, like a novel by Dickens, keeps us hoping that in spite of everything it will have a happy ending.” Livres Hebdo

“Spectacular … Damnificados marries an intoxicating, twenty-first century fabulism with gorgeous prose to create a fictional community that feels as deeply rooted in magic, history, and politics as Gabriel García Márquez’s Macondo. This is a book of wonders: Amaworo Wilson’s imagination seems as boundless as the world he’s created: a world like our own, inhabited by the ninety-nine percent who don’t live in gated communities or intact glass towers, who scrabble for food and housing, healthcare and employment while the remaining one percent watch impassively as the waters rise.” Fantasy & Science Fiction

“A tale of societal misfits who occupy the unfinished Tower of David in Caracas, Venezuela … original and brilliant.” Washington Square News

“Amaworo Wilson creates a world where people and things that are thrown away come alive and where neglect breeds creativity and tyranny breeds defiance … at its best it feels like a manifesto. Amaworo Wilson invokes the urban poor as a global force and invites us to identify with it.” Socialist Worker

“It has all the elements — social realism combined with aspects of myth, folklore and the fantastical, as well as sympathy for the downtrodden and for social justice. … Brimful of ideas … crisp, pacey prose … scenes described in telling detail.” Socialist Review

A triumphant tale of the have-nots, which is laden with historical insights and is totally contemporary.” Jochen Overbeck, Der Tagesspiegel

“Impressive literary images, as if while reading one was walking alongside gigantic wall paintings of pop culture. Damnificados narrates a collective history and builds up into a brilliant  collection of urban legends.” Florian Schmid, Der Freitag

“Fabulously written, rich in myth, magical and fantastic in both senses.” Cornelia Zetzsche, Bayerischer Rundfunk

“A wonderful, often funny, story … a gritty, urban, heroic tale of revolution. Amawaro Wilson has taken a real-life event and added a twist of magical realism to create this tale of an urban utopia.” BookRiot: No. 1 on “5 Small Press Books to Read in January”

“An invigorating tale about human beings clinging by their fingertips not only to a sustainable way of life, but to their very dignity, and shouting back at the wealthy with what breath they have, proclaiming they will not be ignored or silently pushed aside. The novel is delightfully imaginative and cuttingly insightful. If Gabriel García Márquez wrote a politically-revolutionary novel with dystopian overtones and published it through an indie press, it would be something like this. That is a compliment. Damnificados is engaging, provocative, and wholly original.” Fourth and Sycamore Literary Journal

“Strikingly fresh, powerful and engaging. With prose at once vivid, direct and elegant, Damnificados is a quick and engrossing read … [a] celebration of resistance, difference and intentional community. From the very first sentence, the book fascinates and compels: Wilson is blessed with a subtle but dark sense of humor and a tantalizingly distinctive voice.”  The Cascadia Subduction Zone: A Literary Quarterly

“A deep and triumphant book, an unforgettable novel.” ActuaLitté

“Wonderful . . .  an ultracontemporary portrayal of the inevitability of anarchism. When everything falls apart, only community remains.” StoryBundle

“An epic and spectacular adventure … The author combines fantasy, surrealism and reality in his writings with such virtuosity … a powerful book of great originality.” Jean-Louis Zuccolini,

“Flows like a big, memorable dream: powerful, improbable and compellingly real in its sumptuous detail.” Desert Exposure

“This is a remarkable first novel. Amaworo Wilson creates a terrifying yet believable world peopled by the dispossessed and a whole cohort of mythic archetypes. Set in an unspecified land in an unspecified time, Damnificados tells the tale of the efforts of a group of outcasts to create a community in an abandoned urban tower. The author’s unflinching prose is infused with compassion, but never with sentiment, and his depiction of moral integrity in the face of everything a hostile world can throw at it is compelling and ultimately uplifting. Cormac McCarthy meets Gabriel García Márquez.” The Frogmore Papers

“A magnificent magical realist fable. One of the most beautiful books of this winter season.” Sandra Girault, PAGE, Les Livres par Les Libraires

“Intriguing … When a collection of misfits and the otherwise disenfranchised settle in a building, their attempt at organization parodies the structure of the society that has rejected them.” Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

“JJ Amaworo Wilson is a magician with boundless talent. [He] is a master of evocative details … [He] knows our human strengths and weaknesses and portrays it all. ” Silver City Quarterly Review

“A great book … better than magic, better than Marquez.” Mayday Bookstore blog

“Full of wonderful magical realism, motley characters you become attached to, a narrative capturing your attention, sturdy writing. Imaginative and creative read…. Wilson’s innovativeness really comes alive, a poignant tale, strong messages carried throughout the characters and narrative. Looking forward to more from this talented author.” The Discerning Reader literary blog

“Wilson masterfully tells of the struggle between the poor and the powerful (Torres brothers) with a little bit of magic. Pure fiction and part fantasy, it is an easy read that you do not want to put down.” Collected Miscellany blog

“Wilson’s skills as a novelist are impressive, and his scope in Damnificados is global: his vision of a Latin American city that casually and fleetingly connects to Africa and Japan makes this novel a world myth [and his] characters are effortlessly individual.”

“It reminded me of the one-foot-in-fantasy storytelling of Neil Gaiman where the world runs along its usual course of poverty and sadness, yet sometimes it doesn’t. Romance can blossom, love can flourish, miracles can happen … [A] fun read, very punchy, very creative.”

“The writing is rich, the story is lively, the characters are fascinating, the action ranges from mundane to mythic. The book is a delightful carnival ride of the imagination.”

“A Homeric fable … a spritely, enjoyable read [which] offers hints as to what life in the squatter’s tower block might have been like.

“An unforgettable novel … profound, unique.”