Acclaim for Joshua Furst’s novel, The Sabotage Café

"In the annals of Great American Places to get lost to find yourself — Huck’s river, Ishmael’s sea, Dean Moriarty’s open road — space should be made for the gloriously bombed-out punk rock scene, whether on the Lower East Side or in West Hollywood or in Dinkytown, Minneapolis. At its best, The Sabotage Café could be called urban blight pastoral…Furst is an impressively sharp, compassionate and morally scrupulous anatomist of human relationships…. His narrator has a haunting authority."

—The New York Times Book Review (read the full review on; archive)

The Sabotage Café is a masterful book, replete with the raw, painful memories of American youth who no longer feel any connection to the generation that raised them.”

—Ad Busters

"The Sabotage Café shows debut novelist Joshua Furst in full control of his psychologically complex material, with a tale of 'emotional bondage' as chilling as it is heartbreakingly real."

—O, The Oprah Magazine (read the full review on; archive.)

“Joshua Furst's debut novel should not be missed by anyone who has an adolescent or who has been one. . . . This book is itself a kind of brick, hurled at a Starbucks window, but much more dangerous in the end."

—Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"Unforgettable…Manages to capture both the clear heartache of a mother whose child has left home and the fuzzy logic of a mind misled by mental illness. Of course it also depicts the uncontrollable rage of abandoned and runaway youth. . . Furst writes with a diction that tugs and the heartstrings…this work is remarkable. No reader of fiction, whether a fan of punk music or not, should miss it."

—The Washington Times

“Aaron Cometbus' Last Gasp–published book Double Duce is probably the best novel about the ecstasy of being a gutter punk. This debut novel by New York's Joshua Furst, which is insider enough to name-check Cometbus, is probably the best book about that life's agony…The author, uninterested in preaching or shock value, finds moments of physical passion and exuberance in this falling-down life. He puts himself into the mind of his two heroines so well, you wonder if he has some sort of psychic television himself.”

—Metro Silicon Valley

“The Sabotage Café is hardcore—tough, uncompromising, and utterly brilliant.”

—The Buffalo News

“The gritty world of riot, rebellion, alienation, and despair is perfectly rendered.”

—The Boston Globe

“A harrowing account of the way, for better and very much for worse, we cling to the notion that we live inside our children and they live inside us.”

—Jim Shepard, author of Like You’d Understand, Anyway

“Reading a few pages of Joshua Furst’s debut novel, The Sabotage Café, is enough to make you fully appreciate its high-wire balancing act. As in his acclaimed story collection Short People (2003), Furst demonstrates an uncanny ability to understand the most wayward adolescents, acutely depicting the downfall of Cheryl, a 15-year-old who flees the comforts of a Minneapolis suburb for a squalid life of drugs and squats. Furst’s descriptions of the teen’s downward spiral are so disarmingly straightforward and unadorned by judgment that the book is at once poignant and dreamlike.”

—Time Out New York

“Julia’s struggle to do the right thing in spite of illness and in spite of—and sometimes with—her husband’s help is utterly captivating.”

—Rocky Mountain News

“Furst understands the frustrations and fears of furious, confused teens; Cheryl's insecurity and moodiness feel familiar to anyone who has ever been a teenage girl.”

—Chicago Tribune

“Original. . . . [Furst] is able to capture distraught teens and confused parents in an affecting and unaffected way.”

—Blueprint Magazine

“Helps remind us that over-the-top emotions and continual crises are the raw reality of teenage life.”

—The Tennessean

“Julia’s journey . . . pack[s] quite the emotional punch. Despite the layers of grime on top, The Sabotage Café is, at its heart, a story about a family who can’t quite communicate.”

—The Daily Iowan

“Original and brilliant, this novel once again proves Joshua Furst to be one of the finest writers of fiction.”

—Yiyun Li, author of A Thousand Years of Good Prayers