There Will Be No Miracles Here: A Memoir
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2018 BY NPR AND THE NEW YORK TIMESA PBS NEWSHOUR-NEW YORK TIMES BOOK CLUB PICK “Somehow Casey Gerald has pulled off the most urgently political, most deeply personal, and most engagingly spiritual statement of our time by just looking outside his window and inside himself. Extraordinary.” – Marlon James “Staccato
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2018 BY NPR AND THE NEW YORK TIMES
A PBS NEWSHOUR-NEW YORK TIMES BOOK CLUB PICK
“Somehow Casey Gerald has pulled off the most urgently political, most deeply personal, and most engagingly spiritual statement of our time by just looking outside his window and inside himself. Extraordinary.” – Marlon James
“Staccato prose and peripatetic storytelling combine the cadences of the Bible with an urgency reminiscent of James Baldwin in this powerfully emotional memoir.” – BookPage
The testament of a boy and a generation who came of age as the world came apart–a generation searching for a new way to live.
Casey Gerald comes to our fractured times as a uniquely visionary witness whose life has spanned seemingly unbridgeable divides. His story begins at the end of the world: Dallas, New Year’s Eve 1999, when he gathers with the congregation of his grandfather’s black evangelical church to see which of them will be carried off. His beautiful, fragile mother disappears frequently and mysteriously; for a brief idyll, he and his sister live like Boxcar Children on her disability checks. When Casey–following in the footsteps of his father, a gridiron legend who literally broke his back for the team–is recruited to play football at Yale, he enters a world he’s never dreamed of, the anteroom to secret societies and success on Wall Street, in Washington, and beyond. But even as he attains the inner sanctums of power, Casey sees how the world crushes those who live at its margins. He sees how the elite perpetuate the salvation stories that keep others from rising. And he sees, most painfully, how his own ascension is part of the scheme.
There Will Be No Miracles Here has the arc of a classic rags-to-riches tale, but it stands the American Dream narrative on its head. If to live as we are is destroying us, it asks, what would it mean to truly live? Intense, incantatory, shot through with sly humor and quiet fury, There Will Be No Miracles Here inspires us to question–even shatter–and reimagine our most cherished myths.
An Amazon Best Book of October 2018: Casey Gerald begins and ends his passionate, voicey memoir by describing a photograph of his family taken in the early 1990s, when he was just a little boy. There’s his handsome, football-star father, his glamorous mother, his “portrait perfect” sister, and Gerald himself, with his arms outstretched like an airplane, ready to fly away. “See the family,” Gerald writes, “Savor them. Soon they will be destroyed. They will destroy each other. They will destroy themselves.” That prophetic voice, learned, perhaps, in the evangelical church Gerald’s grandfather founded, gives There Will Be No Miracles Here drama and gravity that is surprising given Gerald’s youth, but well-suited to his bust-to-boom-and-back-again story of growing up poor, gifted, and gay.
Gerald left behind his troubled family in Dallas and headed east to play football for Yale, intern at Lehman Brothers, and then study for an MBA at Harvard. A grand career in politics beckoned, but Gerald’s soul, nurtured by the language of literature (from the Bible to The Boxcar Children to The Invisible Man), proved too big for such worldly goals, and he returned to Texas to find himself. There Will Be No Miracles Here isn’t one of those memoirs politicians write before announcing an electoral run—it is something more complicated and nuanced: a depiction of the causes and costs of “upward” mobility. It’s not a prescription so much as a diagnosis, and it will leave you considering what it means to be successful, which Gerald’s memoir, by any measure, is. —Sarah Harrison Smith, Amazon Book Review