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Vernon God Little
by DBC Pierre
ISBN 0156029987 / 9780156029988 / 0-15-602998-7
Publisher Mariner Books
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If there's any justice, it is only a matter of time before the work of the curiously-named D B C Pierre becomes essential for anyone interested in cutting-edge writing today. Vernon God Little is a book that has a totally individual (and very quirky) identity, from a writer with a finger on the pulse of contemporary society (particularly its less comfortable aspects). Pierre is also a satirical writer in the vein of such talents as Terry Southern, and there is a manic quality to his work that makes the experience of reading him both disorienting and exhilarating. As a first novel, this is a remarkable achievement.
Teenager Vernon Gregory Little's life has been changed by the Columbine-style slaughter of a group of students at his high school. Soon his hole-in-the-wall town is blanketed under a media siege, and Vernon finds himself blamed for the killing (rather than the real culprit, a friend of Vernon's). Eulalio Ledesma is his particular nemesis, manipulating things so that Vernon becomes the fulcrum for the bizarre and vengeful impulses of the townspeople of Martirio. After a truly surrealistic set of events, Vernon finds himself heading for a fateful assignation in Mexico with the delectable Taylor Figueros (everyone in the book has names as odd as the author's).
By setting his novel in the barbecue sauce capital of Central Texas, Pierre ensures that his narrative is going to be some distance from naturalistic writing. And as a scalpel-like satirical incision into the mores of contemporary America, reality TV and media hysteria, Vernon God Little often reads like a fractured modern-day take on such novels as John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces. --Barry Forshaw [via]