“Say Hello to My Little Friend is a masterclass in pace and precision. Crucet can make you cry before you’ve even realized you’ve become invested and make you laugh even through the hurt. Brilliant.” —Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, National Book Award Finalist of Chain Gang All Stars
Scarface meets Moby Dick in this groundbreaking, darkly comic novel about a young man’s attempt to capitalize on his mother’s murky legacy—a story steeped in Miami’s marvelous and sinister magic.
Failed Pitbull impersonator Ismael Reyes—you can call him Izzy—might not be the Scarface type, but why should that keep him from trying? Growing up in Miami has shaped him into someone who dreams of being the King of the 305, with the money, power, and respect he assumes comes with it. After finding himself at the mercy of a cease-and-desist letter from Pitbull’s legal team and living in his aunt’s garage-turned-efficiency, Izzy embarks on an absurd quest to turn himself into a modern-day Tony Montana.
When Izzy’s efforts lead him to the tank that houses Lolita, a captive orca at the Miami Seaquarium, she proves just how powerful she and the water surrounding her really are—permeating everything from Miami’s sinking streets to Izzy’s memories to the very heart of the novel itself. What begins as Izzy’s story turns into a super-saturated fever dream as sprawling and surreal as the Magic City, one as sharp as an iguana’s claws, and as menacing as a killer whale’s teeth. As the truth surrounding Izzy’s boyhood escape from Cuba surfaces, the novel reckons with the forces of nature, with the limits and absence of love, and with the dangers of pursuing a tragic inheritance. Wildly narrated and expertly rendered, Say Hello to My Little Friend is Jennine Capó Crucet’s most daring, heart-breaking, and fearless book yet.
About the Author
Jennine Capó Crucet is the author of four books, including the novel Make Your Home Among Strangers, which won the International Latino Book Award and was cited as a best book of the year by NBC Latino, The Guardian, The Miami Herald, and others; the story collection How to Leave Hialeah, which won the Iowa Short Fiction Prize and the John Gardner Book Award; and the essay collection My Time Among the Whites: Notes from an Unfinished Education, which was long-listed for the PEN/Open Book Award. A former contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, she’s a recipient of a PEN/O. Henry Prize and the Hillsdale Award for the Short Story, awarded by the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Her writing has appeared on PBS NewsHour, National Public Radio, and in publications such as The Atlantic, Condé Nast Traveler, and others. She’s worked as a professor of ethnic studies and of creative writing, as a college access counselor for the One Voice Scholars Program, and as a sketch comedienne (though not all at the same time). Born and raised in Miami to Cuban parents, she lives in North Carolina with her family.
"Stunning…Captivating…Both Ismael and the whale are singularly compelling characters, and both will break your heart. Unclassifiable and unforgettable."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Crucet brilliantly brings readers inside the mind of a nonhuman intelligence in this tour de force, which alternates perspectives between Lolita, a captive killer whale housed at Miami’s Seaquarium, and Izzy Reyes, a 20-year-old Cuban Miamian who works as an impersonator of the rapper Pitbull. . .Crucet’s vivid and plausible delineation of Lolita’s inner life imbue[s] the gonzo plot with genuine emotional depth. This is an impressive feat.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Jennine Capó Crucet is one of America's most distinctive writers, and Say Hello to My Little Friend is her best yet—smart, inventive, hilarious, and brimming with heart.”—Dan Chaon, author of Sleepwalk
"Say Hello to My Little Friend is a masterclass in pace and precision. Crucet can make you cry before you've even realized you've become invested and make you laugh even through the hurt. Brilliant."—Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, National Book Award Finalist of Chain Gang All Stars
"Capó Crucet's new novel is a madcap, beautiful romp through a version of Miami I've been waiting to see in literature for years: a place of newness and impermanence, where the fluidity of language and culture and history is as central to its identity as the ocean and the tides. I loved this brilliant, hilarious novel, read it compulsively, and loved most of all its protagonist: Izzy, a young man hellbent on achieving the American dream of reinvention, and at the same time in danger of discovering more about himself and his roots than he ever hoped to know."—Daniel Alarcón, author of The King Is Always Above the People
"I literally couldn't put this book down. Bold, surprising, moving and very funny. A story about minds and bodies, about people and families and cities, about the dreams and desires and histories buried inside. Capó Crucet is a writer of immense talent and range." —Charles Yu, author of National Book Award Winner Interior Chinatown
"Say Hello to My Little Friend is superb. It’s a rare thing to see a novelist so fully in control of such disparate elements. The voice is astonishing: wry, knowing, erudite, even metafictional when necessary, and the plot it relates is irresistible. This is high level world-building. So much so that it feels both wildly inventive but also like the kind of novel only an artist directly descending from immigrants to this country could birth, one that respectfully and skillfully transmutes the literary and historical past but always through the prism of our all-powerful American pop culture. The result is that truly rare object, a novel that helps us better sense that secret hum of art and love undergirding human existence."—Sergio de la Pava, award-winning author of A Naked Singularity and Lost Empress
"An improbable, star-crossed bond between Izzy—who’s on a quest to become a modern-day Tony Montana—and Lolita—an orca held captive at the Miami Seaquarium—unleashes one of the most wildly original, hilarious, and devastating novels I’ve ever had the privilege of reading. Say Hello to my Little Friend is a story about climate crisis and migration and grief and the mythologies we invent in order to survive; it is a love letter to the doomed beauty that is Miami. A place so compelling, so abundant with story, that it might take you a minute to notice all the water. I loved every line, every moment spent with this magnetic cast of characters. Jennine Capó Crucet has long been one of my very favorite writers and Say Hello to My Little Friend reads with the dazzling vision of an American classic."—Laura van den Berg, author of I Hold a Wolf by the Ears