A Prayer for Dawn

nathan singer

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“Outrage with mainstream American culture fuels this crackling, darkly comic debut…”
—Publishers Weekly


The lives of a dozen people in Cincinnati, Ohio are inextricably linked in this unrelenting first novel by Nathan Singer.

A publicist who writes checks to charities to relieve a guilty conscience, a convict who rants in an underground ‘zine, an artist with a controversial portfolio, a runaway engaging in ‘petty terrorism’, and an eight year old girl named Dawn at the center of it all watch as the world falls down around them.

This dark, experimental satire assaults the apathy of the masses. It is a call to arms to the disenfranchised and disillusioned.

War, chaos, and brutality run amok. What has become of our culture? What purpose does the artist serve in this terrified and terrifying age? Where are the voices of dissent?


“Outrage with mainstream American culture fuels this crackling, darkly comic debut. Set largely in Cincinnati, Ohio, this “thrash novel” critiques and satirizes contemporary culture as it jumpily follows a motley crew of characters existing on society’s fringes, where the sins of the mainstream are most powerfully felt. Members of the vivid cast include Caroline Powell, a world-weary publicist reduced to representing the likes of Joey Spitfire, the jailed creator of an underground zine called Psychobilly Freakout!; Jeff Mican, an artist whose works are so disturbing they induce vomiting; D’antre Philips, aka Daddy Molotov, multiple felon and author of a YA book called Princess Africa Jones; and Dalton Brackage, a gay, opium-smoking runaway who plans to help a group of American Indians blow up a national monument. At the novel’s center is eight-year-old Dawn Mican, Jeff’s daughter, who watches with a child’s wide eyes the adult chaos around her. With a keenly developed sense of disillusionment and a real talent for capturing the vernacular, Singer leads readers on a raging, rollicking ride through the underbelly of American society, expressing not only genuine frustration with the immorality of the dominant culture, but also lamenting the absence of easy answers. As Dawn says, “It’s really hard to know what’s right. What if nothing is?”
—Publisher’s Weekly

“A Prayer for Dawn is an inspirational debut.”
—New York Post

“With A Prayer for Dawn, Nathan Singer announces himself as the hip new grandmaster of America’s literate underbelly. This book is crazy and hilarious and brilliant and, because the voices in it speak so dead-on true about the crippled ways we live, thoroughly appalling. This book, no question of it, is a fully realized nightmare, and I can honestly say it’s one of the best ones I’ve ever had. In a word, A Prayer for Dawn kicks ass. ”
—Mike Magnuson, author of The Right Man for the Job

“A Prayer for Dawn, thankfully, is what it is: a thrash novel that’s in-your-face, edgy and fast.”

“Very few writer’s have the talent to mix narratives, follow multiple story lines from multiple characters changing cadence, vernacular, dialect – without losing the reader somewhere along the line. Singer more than succeeds. You’ll crawl into this book, live on its pages and bemoan your fate when it ends. Raw, brutal, beautiful and potent writing.”
—Crimespree Magazine


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